A look back at Top Gun before the sequel


   When I heard that there was going to be a sequel to the 1986 classic, Top Gun, I was intrigued. I had no idea how they would do a continuation of the movie. I recently went to go see Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and there was a never before seen trailer for Top Gun: Maverick that played. That five minute-trailer was better than the original Top Gun (and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, but that’s beside the point). Top Gun is 36 years old. Now that there is a sequel coming out, how does Top Gun hold up today?

   Top Gun is a story about two friends in the Navy named Maverick and Goose. They are both aircraft pilots, and they are at the top of their class. Their superior tells them that they have been selected to go to Top Gun, which is an extensive pilot training program where only the best of the best go. The story focuses mostly on Maverick, a cocky pilot who finds himself getting into trouble with his superiors, as well as other pilots at Top Gun. In addition to the tension between Maverick and the other pilots, a romantic tension builds between Maverick and his instructor, Charlie. Charlie and Maverick can’t date because Charlie isn’t allowed to date students, but the two of them start to build a relationship anyway. The rest of the movie follows Maverick trying to fit in with the rest of the pilots, trying to make a name for himself, and him and Goose going on dangerous missions. 

   My favorite parts of Top Gun are the flying sequences. I could point out many great scenes from the movie, but my favorite flying sequence is when Maverick flies upside down. This may not seem like a big deal, but at the time, it was unknown that you could fly upside down in the MiG-28, a fictional version of the F-5, used by the Navy. This was before he got into Top Gun, and when he got there, everybody didn’t believe him. When Maverick got to Top Gun, he was sitting in a lesson. Charlie, who was teaching the lesson, said that the MiG-28 couldn’t be flown upside down. Maverick said that he flew it upside down. Everyone questioned that, but Charlie admitted that it was true, and she didn’t say that someone could fly it upside down because it was top secret. I liked this scene because everybody was mean to Maverick in the beginning, and while they still were mean to him for a bit, they started to treat him with a little more respect than they did previously.

   One of my favorite things about this movie, though, has nothing to do with the movie itself. This movie started Tom Cruise’s action movie career. Before Top Gun, he was known for doing movies like Losin’ It, The Outsiders, and, of course, Risky Business, none of which have to do with action. Ever since Top Gun, people started to not only recognize Cruise as being a phenomenal actor, but also as an amazing action star. Since Top Gun, he has starred in many action movies like Days of Thunder, The Last Samurai, and the Mission: Impossible franchise. Cruise is great outside of action movies, but action movies are what he is most known for, and Top Gun made that possible.

   Not a lot of people know this, but Top Gun was based on a magazine article written by Ehud Yonay called “Top Guns.” The article is based on a true story about two friends named Yogi and Possum. The article is basically real-life Top Gun. Yogi and Possum are constantly trying to fit in with the other pilots and trying to make a name for themselves, just like Goose and Maverick in the movie. 

   To answer my question above, I definitely think that Top Gun holds up today. The story is amazing, Cruise’s amazing acting is entertaining to watch, and the stunts, while they may seem underwhelming when compared to stunts Cruise has done in other movies, are still awesome nonetheless. The movie is the definition of a classic.

   Top Gun is currently streaming on Paramount+, and it also has a beautiful 4K Blu-Ray that looks miles better than the previous releases of the movie.