Film Review: Top Gun: Maverick

This sequel of the 1980s film Top Gun was definitely an interesting experience. It followed the life of the famous pilot Maverick (Tom Cruise), aka Pete Mitchell, and his perspective of events following the first film. Maverick, following his success in the first film, finds himself back at the institution after he takes a plane for one last test run and crashes the plane due to his cockiness motivating him to go beyond Mach 10, which the plane could not handle. Although Maverick faces possible dishonorable discharge for his behavior, his old rival-turned-friend in the previous film, Iceman (Val Kilmer), ends up saving him from this and gets him relocated to Top Gun to lead a secret mission. However, there ends up being one catch: Maverick cannot participate in the actual mission.

Although Maverick struggles with this news due to his passion for fighting fighter planes, he faces bigger problems when he finds out one of his fellow teammates, call sign Rooster (Miles Teller), the son of his deceased friend and wingman Goose (Anthony Edwards). As Maverick felt responsible for the death of his friend, he felt unsure about the mission, but proceeds to lead with motivation from Iceman. However, events start to challenge his mindset: Iceman falls to disease, Rooster distrusts Maverick due to Maverick intentionally holding Rooster back early in his career due to complicated circumstances, and the leaders of Top Gun nearly pull Maverick from the mission entirely due to doubt over his plan. Despite all this, Maverick again boldly proves his plan is feasible by successfully demonstrating it using a stolen fighter pilot, which thankfully doesn’t crash – unlike the last time he disobeyed orders. Instead of punishing Maverick, the leaders decide to keep Maverick and allow him into the mission, but now with an active duty as a fighter pilot.

The mission proves to be a success, but Maverick ends up taking a hit for Rooster due to his guilt over Goose and his desire to break the pattern with Rooster. Despite doubts over Maverick’s status and the impending doom faced by opposition, Rooster realizes the importance of Maverick’s motivation and care for him throughout the film and heads back to the site, where he finds Maverick alive and saves his life. The two end up making it back to their home base despite near-death experiences from enemy fighter pilots, and the two embrace, end the tension, and create a strong mentorship bond, which honestly left me feeling satisfied and inspired by the movie.

Even though there were numerous lessons and moments taken from the movie, the one that most stood to me was Maverick’s line: “Trust your instincts. Don’t think. Just do”. Although plane fighting and events in real life have their differences, I believe that this lesson can be connected and implemented in real life. For example, in sports, many athletes – myself included – tend to overthink their game plan and their stress hinders a possibly amazing performance due to their mental imbalance. With Maverick’s advice, however, many athletes focus on playing the game, accepting different conditions, and adapting rather than stress over a plan facing difficulties, and this connects very well with the importance of mental health affecting performance in real life.

Overall, this was a great movie and I really hope more people come and see it. The movie is still on theaters and definitely worth a watch – and I believe many can agree with me when I say that you will be getting your money’s worth.

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