Ah, Top Gun, a crystal of zeitgeist for Ronald Reagan’s America: oiled-up machismo, a spirit of national exceptionalism, rah-rah enthusiasm for the overseas exploits of the military-industrial complex. Whether in a good way or bad way, it’s a key film of the ’80s for US cinema, and it has long commanded rumors of a sequel reuniting us with Tom Cruise’s peerless fighter pilot Maverick.
That sequel is real, it’s happening, and there’s a trailer to prove it. Paramount has pulled back the curtain on the first look at what’s sure to be one of next summer’s marquee titles, and moviegoers particularly fond of footage in which expensive aircrafts go very fast will be pleased.
The film’s premise qualifies as what critic Matt Singer has termed a “legacyquel”, an addition to a franchise property that symbolically passes the torch to a younger class of actor. In this case, that’d be Miles Teller, who portrays the son of Maverick’s good buddy Goose. (He is nicknamed, in keeping with the avian theme, Rooster.)
Rooster, his pal and fellow trainee (Glen Powell), and the rest of the recruits learn how to command the skies in mach-breaking jets from a returning Maverick, who’s still got plenty of fight left in him. The trailer cycles through the other big selling points of the original, with a synth score evoking the original’s time period and a glimpse at a carefree frolic on the beach.
But the real star here has to be the planes, what with all the whiplash-inducing flight footage designed to wow prospective viewers. The one thing the trailer gracefully elides is, well, everything. Like the original Top Gun, the trailer keeps its politics simple by never making mention of who the Air Force is training to shoot down as an enemy. Don’t think too hard, and just revel in the whoosh of a properly executed barrel roll.
Top Gun: Maverick comes the cinemas in the US on 26 June, and then the UK on 17 July.
Published 16 Dec 2019
A first-time flyer attempts to glean the plot of this cherished Tom Cruise vehicle from 30 years of pop culture collateral.
By James Morton
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