Top Gun: Maverick has remained the highest-grossing movie of 2022, and according to Collider is the 5th highest-grossing domestic film ever, indicating that fans both old and new have a need for speed. The Top Gun sequel follows Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise) with a batch of new Top Gun graduates, bound together on a secret mission that will test their loyalty and their bravery like never before.
Whether fans love the return of Maverick and Cruise’s ageless enthusiasm for the role, all the Easter eggs from the ’80s, or its similarity to Star Wars, these memes perfectly capture the spirit of a movie that moves at Mach 10.
Top Gun: Maverick Has A Lot In Common With Top Gun
From the opening credits, Top Gun: Maverick is full of Easter eggs and callbacks to Top Gun. Henry Loggins’ “Danger Zone” blares over golden sunsets on a flight deck, while fighter pilots move majestically through the twilight sky. It feels simultaneously comforting and like something fans haven’t seen in a long time.
Of course, there are beats from its predecessor that it shares unabashedly; a hotshot rookie pilot needing to prove himself fights with rule-abiding authority figures, there’s a scene involving lots of sun lotion and organized sports, and Maverick must still convince a skeptical love interest that he’s a safe bet, but in many ways, these don’t detract from its appeal. Fans going in know exactly what they want to see, and it delivers.
Tom Cruise Looks The Same As When He Last Played Maverick
When Tom Cruise first played Maverick, he was riding high off of the success of several movies including Legend and Risky Business, and was courted by then-legendary producer Jerry Bruckheimer to spearhead Top Gun and further cement himself as a pop culture icon.
Eerily, as this meme showcases, Cruise doesn’t appear to have aged in the thirty-plus years it’s been since he strapped into an F-14. While it incorporates a line from Top Gun: Maverick, fans have been wondering for a long time what keeps Cruise so youthful. Without a doubt, an enviable career in Hollywood doing films he loves must play a large part.
The Only Place Maverick Is Going In Life Is Getting Thrown Out Of A Bar
In one of the movie’s funniest moments, Maverick uses his phone at Penny’s bar which is strictly prohibited. His punishment is paying for a round, but he doesn’t have the cash and is subsequently thrown out. Imagine the young pilots’ surprise when the bum at the bar is in actuality their new instructor.
This scene is a great reference to Maverick’s embarrassing interaction with his eventual flight instructor, whom he unceremoniously tried to pick up at the bar in Top Gun without knowing her real identity. This scene in Top Gun: Maverick is less problematic and feels updated for modern audiences without being too contrived.
Top Gun: Maverick Has Memorable Supporting Characters
Just like in Top Gun, Top Gun: Maverick is full of supporting characters with big personalities as young aviators who must prove themselves in the cockpit. Where once fans rooted for Goose, Hollywood, Iceman, and Maverick, they now cheer for Payback, Hangman, and…Bob?
Despite never acquiring a flashy call sign like his friends, Lieutenant Robert “Bob” Floyd is trained on the F-18F Super Hornet and is a graduate of the prestigious Top Gun. Working as Phoenix’s WSO, the pair perform BFM with Maverick, and eventually (despite a bird strike mishap) join him on the secret mission to detonate a uranium facility. For his humility and lovable attitude, Bob became a fan-favorite character.
Top Gun: Maverick Has A Simple Plot
A great movie sequel is watchable without first seeing the original, and thanks to its very linear plot, Top Gun: Maverick operates in the same capacity. Even without ever having seen its predecessor, viewers will be able to follow its basic premise without being confused.
The original movie’s simplistic plot is what made it a hit with fans, and in an era of increasingly convoluted blockbusters that are part of shared cinematic universes, Top Gun: Maverick is a welcome respite. Not having to see several other pieces of content surrounding it in order to appreciate it sets it apart from everything out now.
Maverick Has A New Love Interest
In Top Gun, Maverick had to learn how to care about other people besides himself and combine his independent, free-thinking streak with the cohesion of functioning as a unit towards a common goal. This included in his love life, but this time around he isn’t with Charlie any longer but Penny, a single mother who owns the beach front bar.
Penny and Maverick actually have a good romantic subplot for an action movie based on mutual respect, and it feels more appropriate than when Maverick was with Charlie. Besides, did anyone believe someone like Charlie was going to turn down an illustrious career in DC to be with a man who consistently turned down accolades and basically lives in the hanger?
Iceman Becomes An Admiral
Iceman may have come across as an antagonist in Top Gun, but only from the perspective that Maverick was the protagonist and his lone wolf actions weren’t reprehensible. In truth, Iceman’s relentless pursuit of seeing Maverick wash out was because he endangered himself and those around him.
In Top Gun: Maverick Iceman has become an Admiral, and the years have tempered his ego much as they have Maverick’s. A lieutenant of Iceman’s caliber would indeed probably come to hold that rank, but only a true friend of Maverick’s would use it to protect him. As two enemies who have long since been best friends, their relationship is one of the most poignant in the movie because of what it took to get there
Top Gun: Maverick Is Similar To Star Wars
It’s not enough for Top Gun: Maverick characters to have Star Wars counterparts, it also has to have a plot pulled right out of A New Hope. Amidst Rooster’s Luke Skywalker heroic arc, Maverick’s sagacious turn as his mentor Obi-Wan, and Iceman’s emergence as a wise Yoda-like figure, the movie even has a trench run at the end.
Rooster is able to make the shot despite having never been able to do so in his training, trusting his innate talents as a pilot much like Luke trusted the Force. It’s not surprising that the two movies are similar; it’s a tried and true formula, one that George Lucas himself burrowed from Akira Kurosawa movies like The Hidden Fortress.
Rooster And Maverick Have To Come To Term With Goose’s Death
For reasons surrounding Goose’s death and every feeling of frustration that came in the wake of it, Maverick and Goose’s son Rooster have an estranged relationship. It’s implied that several actions in Maverick’s past have had a direct effect on Rooster, including holding him back from being a successful pilot.
As this meme suggests, there might have been one gesture that could have gone far towards helping the pair forge a connection earlier – Maverick giving Rooster his father’s dog tags. Unfortunately, he threw those into the ocean to represent moving on from the guilt of Goose’s death. What Top Gun: Maverick highlights so well is that no one ever can truly move on from something so emotionally definitive, only make peace with its enduring presence in their lives.
Maverick Has To Fly A Tomcat Again
Would it be a Top Gun movie if Maverick didn’t get into the cockpit of an F-14 again? The ending to the movie finds Mav and Rooster shot down behind enemy lines and need to fly this “ancient” piece of technology home. Somehow, they’re able to do this undetected and unhindered.
Tom Cruise has widely spoken about his time spent in a Tomcat cockpit learning how to fly like his famous character, so it only makes sense that he’d give audiences what they want to see. If not for pure nostalgia, then to highlight how far Naval aviation has come in the years between when he graduated and when he became an instructor.
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