Vol. 16, No. 02 – Oct 19 – Nov 1, 2022 – Movie Review

Streaming Spotlight by Cindy Summers
Top Gun: Maverick – Amazon Rentals & Theaters

4 out of 4 palm trees

When the U.S. Government discovered there was an unsanctioned nuclear enrichment facility that could supply the needed materials to build nuclear weapons, the decision was made that the facility would have to be destroyed. Unfortunately, it was at the end of a narrow, well-guarded canyon in the crevasse of two large mountains making it almost inaccessible even by air strikes. A plan was formulated to get the Navy to solicit the skills of their top twelve Top Gun pilots to train a team to take out the facility, though most had never seen any combat flying.

When considering who would train the best for this impossible mission, one of the Navy’s top aviators, Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise) was called to action by his Top Gun rival, Admiral Tom “Iceman” Kazansky (Val Kilmer), who had become commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, while Maverick rose only to Captain in the ranks over the past 30 years, spending his time testing Next-Gen jets pushing them past supersonic to the Mach 10 threshold.

Maverick didn’t consider himself a trainer and was also concerned that one of the twelve pilots selected to train for the mission was Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw (Miles Teller), son of Maverick’s late best friend and RIO Nick “Goose” Bradshaw. Rooster resented Maverick for pulling his papers and setting him back four year in the pilot program, but unbeknownst to him Maverick promised Rooster’s mother before she died that Rooster would not become a pilot like his father.

The mission was a direct assignment from Iceman, who knew though Maverick had a harsh exterior that he was the best pilot and candidate for the job. Maverick wanted to decline, but heeded his dear friend’s words and set off to head up the mission and deal with the loss of Goose and having Rooster on the team. Maverick’s true wish was to honor his best friend and be the father Rooster never had, but Rooster blamed him for his father’s death.

Maverick felt that if he put Rooster on the team he may lose his life and if he didn’t Rooster would never forgive him. Maverick was reluctant to further interfere with Rooster’s career, but Iceman advised him that “It’s time to let go” and reassured him that both the Navy and Rooster needed Maverick. Unfortunately Iceman died shortly after of throat cancer and was no longer there to help Maverick navigate the intricacies of diplomacy.

The other pilots also didn’t respect Maverick, though quickly changed their views after every one of them lost to Maverick in basic dogfight training in their F-18s. After numerous VR training flights, Maverick chose Lieutenant Natasha “Phoenix” Trace and WSO Lieutenant Robert “Bob” Floyd. to lead the second strike pair, including Lieutenant Reuben “Payback” Fitch and WSO Lieutenant Mickey “Fanboy” Garcia and chose Rooster as his wingman. The four jets launched from an aircraft carrier as Tomahawk cruise missiles were launched from the USS Leyte Gulf to destroy the nearby air base as they approached.

As they said throughout the movie, the success of the mission ultimately “comes down to the pilot in the box” regardless of the considered odds against them, and “Top Gun: Maverick” shares a compassionate putting aside of the past between Maverick and Iceman (Val Kilmer), who actually suffers from the health condition he portrayed in the movie.

Rated: PG-13
Runtime: 2h 11m

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