“We are Forerunners. Guardians of all that exists. The roots of the Galaxy have grown deep under our careful tending. Where there is life, the wisdom of our countless generations has saturated the soil. Our strength is a luminous sun, towards which all intelligence blossoms… And the impervious shelter, beneath which it has prospered.”

The sequel we wanted and needed

by | May 29, 2022 | Office Space | 4 comments

As I said to subscribers of my Telegram channel yesterday in my (more or less) daily update, I went to see Top Gun Maverick yesterday. And I’m not going to mess about: it’s EPIC. Whatever voodoo hoodoo that they do over there when they made the movie, it worked. This is a very rare Hollyweird movie these days – it actually gives the people what we want, and makes no apologies for that.

In terms of the film itself, well, the plot is pretty straightforward. Cpt. Pete “Maverick” Mitchell is now a test pilot, doing “that pilot shit” at the absolute bleeding edge of what is physically possible, flying Skunkworks prototypes. He starts out trying to convince Admiral Cain (played by Ed Harris, who seriously looks like the Night King from Game of Thrones) not to cut the funding for a SOOPER SEEKRIT prototype hyperplane of some kind, and ends up disintegrating said prototype at over Mach 10. Admiral Night King then comes THISCLOSE to drumming Maverick out of the Navy, but he is saved at the last moment by Admiral Ted “Iceman” Kazansky, who makes a call to assign Maverick to train a batch of hotshot young pilots for a genuinely bonkers mission deep into enemy territory to blow up something related to uranium enrichment before it can become operational.

The mission itself involves flying through a narrow canyon, protected from above by very heavy air defences, then going into a steep climb, inverting, and diving down into a deep crater to hit a target about 2 metres wide, then powering up into an extremely steep 10g climb before dodging a bunch more air defences and scramming the hell back home to the carrier.

If this sounds like, oh, I dunno, the Death Star trench run from STAR WARS IV: A New Hope, well, you’d be absolutely correct. It’s basically the same thing, except with F/A-18s instead of X-wings:

Here’s the thing, though: the plot for this movie does NOT need to be complex or amazing. It just needs to be simple, easily understood, and to-the-point, because the purpose of the movie IS NOT to confuse or bedazzle you. it is to bring back characters that we genuinely loved from the first film, make us feel just the right amount of nostalgia without getting too sentimental and sappy, and show how those characters have matured and developed through time.

Most of all, the point of this movie is, as the director said, to craft a love-letter to aviation. And that is exactly what this movie does.

The Maverick of this movie is older, wiser, more humble, quieter, but still supremely confident in himself and his skills. There is only one problem that he cannot shake – his deep, overriding guilt over the death of his WSO and best friend, Goose. We all remember how that happened:

When Maverick sees Goose’s son, “Rooster“, as one of the trainees for this crazy new mission, he has a serious dilemma on his hands. As he points out to his old-new love interest, he made Goose’s wife a promise to keep their son out of harm’s way, and he feels as though he has failed.

Throughout the film, we watch Maverick push men (and one woman) and machines to and beyond their limits, showing his tremendous skill as a pilot, the very last of the Old Guard of true combat veterans who understand exactly what it means to fly at the ragged edge of what is humanly and physically possible. We see Maverick take up a charming and really quite touching romance with Jennifer Connelly‘s Penny Benjamin, which is not in the least gratuitous or silly, but is instead handled with maturity and class.

By the way, considering that Ms Connelly is over 50, and has been happily married to Paul Bettany for, like, 19 years, and has three kids, she looks amazing in this film. I mean, yeah, a lot of that is down to makeup and, shall we say, “retouching”, but damn, she still looks stunning for a woman of her age.

Toward the end of this movie, we get to see Maverick become the man he was always meant to be – a leader, an ace fighter pilot, a hero, and the true father figure to Rooster that he always wanted to be.

Let me be very clear about one thing: there is almost ZERO social justice bullshit in this movie, and ABSOLUTELY ZERO insistence on pushing THE MESSAGE down your throat.

Yes, there are Black and Hispanic pilots counted among “the best of the best”. Yes, there is one “special woman” in the group. However, not ONE of them gets to displace Maverick or show him up. Never ONCE do any of those “diverse” characters come to his rescue. In fact, the guy who does come to Maverick’s rescue when he’s about to be shot down by an enemy 5th-generation fighter, is precisely the cocky White guy that the Leftoids would typically want to see taken down a few pegs.

Maverick is the hero of this movie. No ifs, ands, or buts. It is HIS movie, and HE is the focus of the story. There is no The Last Jedi subversion, trickery, or bullshit here. Maverick’s character is treated with reverence, respect, and love, and nothing less than that. You see a true journey throughout the film – he does not become an embittered, angry old man, shown up by some woman to be her inferior in every way. No, he ends the film redeemed, able to let go of his grief and pain, and move on to true happiness and love.

Those of us who liked the original movie, will love this one. It has everything that was great about the first film, with almost none of the nonsense. And, let’s face facts, the original Top Gun contained LOTS of nonsense. It was a very uneven film, with plenty of serious cheese. This film has very little such silliness, and the chemistry between Cruise and Connelly, in particular, appears to be genuine and is great fun to watch.

To be sure, it is not perfect. There is some clunky dialogue in the bar scene near the beginning of the film. There are absolutely some absurd liberties taken with basic physics – how, exactly, do you survive an aircraft disintegrating at Mach 10??? (Answer: YOU DON’T. You quite literally vaporise.) And a few small parts of the movie make genuinely zero sense – you’ll pick up on them as you watch it.

But, on the whole, this truly is a fantastic film. I have to give special props to the fact that the effects are almost all practical in nature – most, though not all, understandably, of the flight scenes were done with real aircraft and real pilots, and you can see it in the extreme strain on the faces of the actors. They REALLY ARE going up in the air in fighter aircraft, pulling really brutal aerial manoeuvres at the hands of their front-seat pilots. You can see the genuine fear and pain on their faces as they are subjected to truly epic amounts of stress. It looks and feels and sounds REAL, because IT IS REAL.

This movie is the genuine article. It respects the source material deeply, and takes very few liberties with it. More than that, though, it builds on that material to give us some genuinely deep emotional moments. The brief scene with Val Kilmer as Iceman, for instance, is heartbreaking and beautiful at the same time, and as a result, you really feel a powerful emotional impact at his funeral. The relationship between Penny and Maverick does not seem forced at all – it seems full of real warmth as two old friends and former lovers reconnect and pick up from where they left off, but as older, wiser, and more mature individuals. You really feel a sense of happiness and joy at the end of the movie when Maverick finally puts aside the burdens of grief and the chains of the past, and embraces his new role as friend, father figure, and protector.

I don’t care much for anything Hollyweird puts out anymore, because I think that the people behind that industry are evil and disgusting to the core. But, once in a very great while, Hollyweird does make a genuinely wonderful movie that truly gives the fans what we want, without talking down to us, making us feel stupid, or making us wallow in sentimentality.

The King’s Man was the last such film. Top Gun Maverick is the latest one.

Watch this movie. You will enjoy it.

I leave the last word to our drunken Scotch:

Subscribe to Didactic Mind

* indicates required
Email Format

Recent Thoughts

If you enjoyed this article, please:

  • Visit the Support page and check out the ways to support my work through purchases and affiliate links;
  • Email me and connect directly;
  • Share this article via social media;

4 Comments

  1. Ramkumar

    Reading multiple reviews and the CD review is like waking up on 11/9/2016 and seeing that Trump had won. I went to bed early with a glimmer of hope but never expected the witch to be defeated. We watched Top Gun repeatedly in college. So to have the sequel deliver is wonderful.

    Reply
  2. El Cid

    I thought that based on the title

    “The Sequel We Wanted And Needed”

    that at long last someone was going to give Joe Dirt 2 the praise and attention it deserves.

    I must admit I’m slightly disappointed but I’ll be watching TG2 at the earliest opportunity.

    Reply
  3. Chris

    You had me at “two metres.” I didn’t even read the next sentence before I realized this was a Star Wars reference: “I used to bullseye womp rats in my T-16 back home. They’re not much bigger than two meters.”

    Sure enough, next few sentences confirmed it.

    Reply
  4. Dark

    Just watched it, it was very enjoyable. I think this is only the second movie I’ve seen in theaters in maybe 5 years (the other being 1917, which was excellent). Recommended.

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Didactic Mind Archives

Didactic Mind by Category

%d bloggers like this: