The following contains no spoilers. Read on.
There was a great bit of anticipation and build-up, not least because Top Gun: Maverick had received such rave reviews. Despite factoring in how woke has drastically reduced people’s sense of humor and sarcasm, I was worried that the millennial film critics might have missed the camp essence of Top Gun and were judging it as a serious film instead. I am no film critic, so will not attempt to make an analysis of what I saw, but rather offer some observational points to enhance your viewing experience. I know that people will mainly go see Top Gun: Maverick for its titillating storyline, so I will tread carefully so as to not spoil the experience.
The new Top Gun is a celebration of middle age.
It would be such by merely existing, for there are no movies made for adults anymore. The bar, and the expectations, are set low, as we just really need to be distracted from the reality for two hours. Top Gun delivers handsomely.
In concrete examples, it gratifyingly demonstrates what an asset experience can be at a workplace, when the elderly Maverick outshines the cocky, freshly plucked Gen-Z chickens by manoeuvring an improbable aerial stunt route in record time, leaving the kids gasping for the compulsory, breathless “It’s a bullseye, goddamn it!“
When botoxed, facelifted and digitally enhanced Maverick repeatedly says ‘time is your biggest enemy‘ I understand exactly what he means.
The new Top Gun has no time for Bechdel-test*.
There are two women in the film, and both are sort of named (Penny and call sign Phoenix, respectively) and a small girl, who also has a name. They all appear and exist only in relation to the main character. Then again, everything in the film exists in relation to the main character: male, female, any lifeless object.
We learn a little bit about Penny, who seems to have some life also outside the airbase. Mostly, though, she unexpectedly and sometimes unlikely appears in the scenes, giving a silent and doe-eyed stare, not unlike Kate Middleton wherever she’s dragged to as a prop.
Penny is a non-threatening, docile version of the original’s Charlie. Remember Charlie’s sexy heels, stockings and shoulder-padded power suits? Penny shops at Polo by Ralph Lauren and keeps her clothes on during sex. Which brings us to the next point of observation:
Maverick’s skintight Levi’s deserve an Oscar, and that is all I have to say about the matter.
‘Fanboy’ is not an acceptable call sign.
Acceptable call signs include Cougar, Wolfman, Slider, Viper or indeed Maverick, but whoever came up with Fanboy clearly missed the mark. Picture the Naval Air Station in Miramar circa 1986 and Tom ‘Iceman‘ Kazansky’s reaction upon hearing his wingman in fact goes by the name Fanboy.
Prescription glasses while operating a fighter jet.
60-year old Maverick is already stretching it, let’s be honest (although every inch of his corporeal being is meticulously honed to the task at hand, please also consult point ‘Costume Design’ above). Imagine my surprise to see that among the 12 best of the best, sprightly pilots, there’s one who wears prescription glasses!
I am still processing this information as someone who couldn’t have become a stewardess for being too short, fat and blind**. The criteria have certainly been relaxed over the decades, given that signaling doors to manual and serving warm nuts is not exactly neutralising a uranium enrichment facility while operating a supersonically fast fighter jet.
Maybe it’s the work of the ubiquitous inclusion readers, or maybe Top Gun is a glimmer of hope for anyone contemplating a mid-life career change. I predict a surge in applications following such an open invitation to the elderly and disabled: I can imagine many in regular office jobs (me) to enroll after being told for decades that we were doomed to pushing papers just because we lacked the kind of bodies required for exciting things where the stakes are high and retirement comes by the age of 40.
(While not being a military aircraft expert per se, I see an infinite pool of talent to tap into: who doesn’t know someone in the office who already communicates in stupid puns, disregards orders from the hierarchy and is at their professional best when given tasks whose completion takes a maximum of 2,5 minutes, minimum thinking required?)
I very much recommend Top Gun: Maverick. It is an important generation experience, and likely the only good thing to happen to the humankind this year.
*To pass the test, a movie (1) has to have at least two women in it, who (2) talk to each other, about (3) something besides a man.
**Had I wanted to, which was not the case. I also knew many boys, whose pilot dreams were crushed for having shown the tiniest hint of nearsightedness. My thoughts are with them at this difficult time.