Tom Cruise’s much-awaited sequel to his 1986 blockbuster Top Gun hit theaters. After the opening weekend, Hollywood received a reality check directly from the American people.
Chances are most Americans are familiar with Paramount’s 1986 mega-hit Top Gun, which starred Tom Cruise, Val Kilmer, Kelly McGinnis, and Meg Ryan. It instantly became a classic, thanks to its pro-American, pro-military theme, along with a stellar soundtrack with hits like Berlin’s Take My Breath Away and Kenny Loggins‘ Danger Zone.
Many movie sequels fail to live up to the original, and that may be the reason why Cruise and Paramount studios waited 36 years to produce Top Gun: Maverick, along with the fact that so much has changed in Hollywood with film franchises deciding to produce “woke” content. However, if movies are rated by their success at the box office, then the American people sent a reality check to the powers that be in Hollywood with their response to the sequel to Top Gun.
In its opening weekend, Top Gun: Maverick crushed records, taking in a whopping $151 million. In contrast, Steven Speilberg’s West Side Story’s opening weekend paled in comparison with $10.5 million, and Disney’s Marvel Eternals made $27 million in its opening, with both movies being considered as “woke.”
“Based on review after review, Top Gun 2 did the wisest thing possible. Rather than apologize for being an 80’s ‘relic,’ it embraced what everyone loved in 1986 and still loves today,” John Nolte reported. “Tom Cruise is a star because he understands stardom in the same way John Wayne and Errol Flynn and Gene Kelly and Bette Davis and Warren Beatty and Jack Nicholson understood stardom… It’s not about you! It’s about the audience!”
Nolte further explained why the American people have rewarded Tom Cruise and his Top Gun sequel. “Dazzle them. Make them laugh. Make them cry. Inspire them. Broaden their horizons. Show them something new. Teach them. But never, ever talk down to them or act as their superior,” Nolte declared. “Respect the audience as a partner, and you will never break up. Tom Cruise puts on a helluva show.”
Film critic Christain Toto agreed with Nolte’s take on Top Gun: Maverick, calling the sequel “no woke, just thrills and nostalgia on steroids,” adding “the ageless star is in full control of his film destiny, and he clearly helped Maverick avoid most, if not all, of the culture war booby traps.”
The movie critic went on to explain how Cruise guided the film to become such a success. “No hand wringing over military might or extended emasculation of its rugged hero, for starters. No lectures on America’s imperfect past or gender inequality,” Toto declared. “And, suffice to say, Top Gun: Maverick isn’t woke in the slightest. It is, though, a testament to American excellence and the ability to achieve a goal no matter the odds.”
Even with some streaming services on a downhill trajectory, many were still surprised that over 11 million Americans saw the Top Gun sequel in theaters over its opening weekend. It’s a testament to what inspires the American people to actually leave their homes to see a movie. Additionally, one popular character from the original Top Gun, Val Kilmer as Iceman, remained a mystery due to the actor’s throat cancer.
However, Kilmer wanted to be involved in any way possible. “Kilmer was delighted to be involved, no matter the limitations of his speech following the star’s 2015 battle with throat cancer,” People Magazine reported. “We called Val and told him we wanted to meet him to be in the picture. And he was thrilled,” producer Jerry Bruckheimer said. “It was a really emotional day when we filmed him because you want to see those two on the screen again, Iceman and Maverick going at it. And that’s what movie making and audiences love.”
One character that did not return was Kelly McGinnis as Cruise’s love interest. Instead, after 36 years we see Maverick in a relationship with a character played by Oscar-winner Jennifer Connelly who wows the audience by taking those iconic motorcycle rides. Even musician Kenny Loggins was back to redo his hit Danger Zone in the sequel. By all accounts, Top Gun: Maverick is movie-making at its finest by delivering a quintessential pro-American film for all to enjoy.