An Eye Into The Cockpit: “Top Gun: Maverick”

A classic gets an impressive update

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Photo courtesy IMDb.com

“Top Gun: Maverick” cover art, featuring Tom Cruise and his F-18.

Lars Harris, Sports Co-Editor

Just like in the 1986 film “Top Gun,” the blockbuster sequel “Top Gun: Maverick” planted a seed of patriotism and thrill in every millennial’s mind. After 36 years in the making, the film earned its spot as the sixth highest grossing movie to hit the domestic box office and received excellent reviews from a wide age range.

Not depicted from a true story, the movie was filmed to portray the United States Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor program commonly known as “Top Gun.” The program took the best officers and pilots the U.S. Navy had to offer and trained them in fighter weapons programs. The schools’ purpose was to train the best in the Navy and send them back to their operating units to train their collogues and partners to increase efficiency in aerial training throughout the Navy.

“Top Gun” is the story of a young hotshot pilot named Maverick, played by Tom Cruise, who sent into the school. His recklessness and attitude put him in competition with the other officers and pilots. Another pilot in the program “Iceman” played by Val Kilmer is painted as the antagonist, always trying to one-up him in every way.

This Reagan-era blockbuster left a lasting impact on the American public and aviation community when it released. District 7 teacher and aviation enthusiast Greg Harris had the opportunity to watch the film in theaters on the original release date.

“It was a one-of-a-kind movie displaying f-14’s in action and helped gather patriotism behind the military during the cold war and displayed many beloved actors,” Harris said.

Harris believes because that of this the movie was able to gain traction in the media and a liking by the American people. After 36 years, “Top Gun: Maverick” released in May of 2022 with record sales, leaving the same impact on teenagers and adults alike.

Student Pilot Charlie Millinor (12) thinks that the film did a phenomenal job capturing a new audience while captivating the interest of original viewers.

“The amount of change and inclusivity from ‘Top Gun’ to ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ was played perfectly from displaying female and minority pilots to appease to the current generation and show the diversity in the aviation world from then to now.  Also, the new terms of CGI filming and technology used to entice the current generation while keeping a sense of originality between the actors and authentic memorabilia from the original brought together a special audience,” Millinor said.

The new movie also brought a lot of familiar nostalgia for individuals old enough to view the original. By including the original actors the new film, the film brought around a big audience of both young and old.  In addition to the original characters, moviegoers were introduced to a new generation of top recruits.

Autumn Johnson (12) was able to check out the movie and really enjoyed the story.

“My favorite character in “Top Gun: Maverick” was Rooster, played by Miles Teller.  It was always compelling when he was on screen and his role in the plot created suspense and drama,” Johnson said.

Even after many years since the original film, “Top Gun: Maverick” has managed to nudge its way into everyone’s heart and will create a solid foundation to continue the legacy of the Top Gun franchise.