Top Gun: Maverick: What if Colin Powell wasn’t lying to the UN?
Held even longer than no time to die, Top Gun: Maverick is the latest major film repeatedly delayed by the pandemic to see release. By this time, it had already taken on multiple unintended resonances, like the irony of this sequel to an ultra-patriotic property denounced for appeasing communism by Ted Cruz. In December 2020, Cruz spoke in the Senate to denounceamong other films proving Hollywood’s unseemly dismissal of China, maverick. Referring – accurately in terms of sign-up – to the original as “perhaps the greatest Navy recruiting film ever made”, he noted that the Taiwanese flag was removed from the character’s jacket. main in the sequel trailer and fumed, “What does it say to the world when Maverick is scared of the Chinese Communists?
maverickThe premise of is basically “What if Colin Powell was not lie to the UN about the reasons for the invasion of Iraq? A carefully anonymous country, belatedly classified with any additional specificity as a “rogue state”, has a uranium enrichment facility; it is integral to national security that it be destroyed by bombing, and only Maverick – who, we learn in the dialogue, served in Iraq “both times” – can train pilots to succeed. But maverickThe main interest of is, as you might expect, not political, but above all in another physically demanding tour of star producer Tom Cruise. With lines like “The future is coming and you’re not in it” and “Time is your greatest enemy” repeatedly directed at him, maverick knowingly makes himself super easy to parse over Cruise’s image and persistence. It’s not hard to understand, and the press kit goes into it: “As he embarked on a training program like no other in the history of cinema, it was impossible not to note the parallels between Maverick and the person who plays him; two men constantly testing their limits and those of their profession.
In some ways, the press kit is more interesting than maverick itself, with just over 30 pages of making-of material spanning a ground, all based in Cruise. He tells stories about what he learned from Harold Becker on the set of faucets, how Sydney Pollack got him to take flying lessons and most importantly positions a lot of his goals for maverick to capture flights accurately, especially the G-force pressure on the pilots face. This meant five months of intensive training for the new generation, with courses personally designed by Cruise for each actor and adjusted on a daily basis:
I also had to get them used to Gs, and some actors never did. They were still vomiting. Sometimes they would say, “I threw up. I’m embarrassed.” And I was like, “Don’t be embarrassed. Chuck Yeager vomited for a month before he got out. And you get the pictures. Thank you. I know it’s painful, vomiting.
All that hard work definitely shows on screen, both in those gravity-wound faces and the perceptibly non-CG clarity of the aerial maneuvers. the original Superior gun never mastered the admittedly delicate art of aerial combat, cutting between jets whizzing past in different directions with little sense of space or real-time threat; here, the vehicles do concretely real things while their trajectories remain clear. It’s obviously less exciting than Impossible missionThe varied car chases and stunts, but still clearly impressive work.
maverick does not dwell on these sequences but still leaves a ground operating time otherwise used to contemplate; it is a text as readable as one could imagine, much too easy to explain and/or to make fun of. Characterization and tendency to functional emotional development, while the general mood remains light; depending on your reading, it shows a reckless disregard for narrative storytelling or acts as a refreshing corrective to today’s blockbuster standards of gloom and/or excessive length. (To quote AA Dowd’s review/characterization of The Batmanit’s decidedly the opposite of “Finally: a Batman who journals!”) The film has no real political convictions beyond the structuring assumption that the United States will continue intact in perpetuity, which is increasingly vague.
Beyond serving as another chance for Cruise to, once again, confront and reject obsolescence as a star and physical performer (at this point, a no-difference distinction as long as he can go on), the main The sequel’s emotional efforts are directed at nostalgic heartstrings. Some of them are clumsy and essentially harmless in their malevolence; that is, giving a suddenly grief-stricken Maverick a look over long-lost friend Goose, who was killed in the first movie, forces him to see his son Rooster (Miles Teller) do exactly the same as his father. Tie rod that off essentially means recreating an entire scene from the original with younger people – in this case, Rooster plays “Great Balls of Fire!” on a piano to a crowd of young contemporaries in their twenties, all of whom know/adore and sing at the same time, which is patent nonsense. Nostalgia is a gravitational curve that only curves around Cruise; while whole sequences are reconstructed or flashed at length, he is one of the only of them original cast members to return. The other is Val Kilmer, who, given his well-known current state of being visibly debilitated after throat cancer, has caused me considerable nervousness. After scenes in which his off-screen character writes with Cruise, Kilmer’s cameo as “Ice” is limited to one scene, during which he types a few lines of dialogue on his PC screen before reciting precisely 27 words. . It’s predictable/automatically moving and sad, in a way that overtly plays on its performers’ real-world characters than any memory of their flimsy original characters, most likely unfair in its emotional impact and the only moment in maverick the effect of which is not definitively determined.
I’m a Cruise fan, but since I have next to no use for the original Superior gun, the main draw here was director Joseph Kosinski, Hollywood’s still underrated top hope for decent action movies. This is Kosinski’s second film with Cruise (after 2013’s Oversight), third with Teller (after Only the brave and preceding that of Kosinski other featured this year, Netflix’s next release spider head) and fifth (out of five to date) with DP Claudio Miranda. In addition to handling ridiculously complicated action mechanics, Kosinski stages weightless interior exposition scenes with fluid poise, throwing off the cut between graceless cover for well-choreographed rack focuses to shift the emphasis. on the foreground. When Cruise and the charges encounter enemy fighter pilots, they are dressed in very cool all black, looking like Daft Punk robot extras from his first feature film, tron the legacy; in almost every way, this is superior to the original film, and much of that is due to Kosinski’s laid-back finesse and occasional recognizable visual nudge. But this is not an author’s project; it’s about Cruise pursuing very specific goals around rendering accurate flight, which once again required a partnership with the Navy. That says a lot about how much I admire his odd conduct and specific ambitions which I hope Elon Musk does at least a good thing and goes on to help make his proposed magnum opus Tom-Cruise-in-space.