Top Gun Maverick: the solar twilight of idol Tom Cruise

REVIEW / FILM REVIEW – A cold demonstration of Hollywood fury, “Top Gun: Maverick” is above all a film of eternal glory by Tom Cruise, actor and producer harnessed to his childhood, his desire for immortality and his obsession with limits postponed. A film that is unique and moving in its intention, and very successful in its spectacle.

Tom Cruise at war against the clock

Before discovering Top Gun: Mavericka direct sequel to Top Gun of 1986, we sensed that this new outing of Tom Cruise in the pilot suit that made him a superstar would taste like a first farewell. Indeed, 36 years later Top Guna few months from the canonical age of 60, Tom Cruise could open the conclusion of much of his dantesque cinematographic workbefore, perhaps, finishing this conclusion in the next few Mission: Impossible 7 and 8.

He will still have cinema in which to act, cinema to produce, cinema to imagine. But, as Rear Admiral Cain (Ed Harris) explains to him straight away in Top Gun: Maverick, there is no longer, in the very near future, any place for him. Respondent’s response:Perhaps. But not today“.

Top Gun: Maverick ©Paramount Pictures

Yet, no offense to him, immortality is a chimera, and his time asaction hero and eternal young first solitary has always been numbered. By dint of frequently giving appointments to death during unique stunts, Tom Cruise has even come to reject the very concept of death, end, definitive escape. Stuck in his pilot’s cockpit, he is also stuck in his cinema, so closely coiled with him that they are both interdependent.

Maverick becomes one with his F-14 Tomcat, then his F-18 Super Hornet, as Tom Cruise is one with all his cinema. The time has not yet come to bow out, screaming reactors, in the orange sunset that producer Jerry Bruckheimer loves so much.

A simple plot for a sequel/remake

Top Gun: Maverick takes place today, and therefore assumes all the time spent since the adventure directed by Tony Scott. More than a generation thus separates Pete “Maverick” Mitchell from the young pilots he must prepare for an ultra-risky mission, from the base of Top Gun. Having become a test pilot, still at the rank of captain, he is rather against his will bombarded as an instructor on the orders of Admiral Tom “Iceman” Kazansky (Val Kilmer), which raises the hair of all the other senior officers.

But the pleasure is too good, and shared, to see him put on his jacket, get on his Kawasaki motorcycle and rush towards his destiny: to form an elite group for a bombing mission that has everything of a collective suicide. And, at the same time, reaching the end of his mourning for his teammate Gooseaccidentally disappeared during training in Top Gunresolving the strained relationship he has with his son-turned-pilot, Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw (Miles Teller).

Top Gun: Mavericklying mirrors

Top Gun: Maverick returns at leisure to the iconic moments of Top Gun, in a game of unfaithful mirrors. First reflection, in the young pilots, there is thus the arrogant “Hangman” (Glen Powell), which hybridizes at the same time the arrogance of Iceman and the audacity of Maverick. It alone ensures the competition of testosterone whose Top Gun was flooded, but the configuration is no longer the same. In Top Gun, the competition was friendly, the fights simulated, it was a period of training in a school. In Top Gun: Maverickthe famous school of Miramar is only a vague element of the landscape, since the pilots must prepare for a very real combat mission.

Top Gun: Maverick
Top Gun: Maverick ©Paramount Pictures

The memorable beach volleyball sequence of Top Gunopposing the crew of Maverick and that of Iceman, is for example replaced by an attack-defense game of American football aimed at team-building, but the torsos still bare and glistening with sweat. Another distorted mirror, the first meeting between pilots also takes place at the bar of the Top Gun base, but in a different way. Thus leaning on the Hard Deck – held by a brief love of youth, Penny Benjamin (Jennifer Connelly) -, Maverick observes the friendly cockfight of the pilots, before “Rooster” sits at the piano to launch himself, like his father in his time in great balls of fire.

The combination of these two moments has its charm, underlined by the images of the first film, fond and painful memories in the heart of Maverick. Between the classic form of the past and the unprecedented, between homage and heritage, Top Gun: Maverick starts to turn a page but stops it in the middle, at noon, at the zenith, in a subtle balance. Behind, in front, on the sides, stuck in their cockpit and launched at Mach 2, the characters and the spectators of Top Gun: Maverick don’t really know where to look anymore and find themselves in spectacular vertigo.

More speed, less drunkenness

You never get bored, and the simplicity of the plot paradoxically allows you to be surprised and surprised at each shot. Top Gun: Maverickoffer a great air show, much superior – even if less realistic – than that of the first film. The sound of jet engines, the sound of explosions, the whistle of jets in the air and photography of unprecedented sharpness for a very readable action make of Top Gun: Maverick the best possible Hollywood spectacle, with planes like cameras used to their fullest.

Top Gun: Maverick
Top Gun: Maverick ©Paramount Pictures

The clinical and geometric staging of Joseph Kosinski is an ideal base to erect the statue of Tom Cruise, the priority objective of the film. Top Gun: Maverick is the story of Maverick, and therefore that of Tom Cruise: that of a man who will never stop, who does not care about omens and passing time like his first stunt, who will again and again push back the needles of the clock to delay the fateful strokes of midnight. Tom Cruise is on a mission, and the seriousness of it has a downside: Top Gun: Maverick sorely lacking in warmth and lightness of Top Gun.

More serious, less funless patient than its predecessor, Top Gun: Maverick offers a low level of emotion, the best example being his relationship with Penny Benjamin, anecdotal at best. But Top Gun: Maverickescaped for a moment from the fury and heat of the burning cabins, nevertheless offers himself a monumental scene between Maverick/Tom Cruise and Iceman/Val Kilmer. At this unique moment, the film reaches a peak of exceptional emotion and authenticity.

the magnum opus meta by tom cruise

I go home alone. A matador always returns alone. The bigger he is, the lonelier he is.” This famous replica ofA monkey in winterdeclaimed by Jean-Paul Belmondo, is a nice reference to express where Tom Cruise is in his – literal – race for the stars.

For a few years now, the heroes of yesterday have been leaving. A natural cycle where old males, tired, worn out and overwhelmed leave their territories to die out. There have been The Irishmanto sign the end of the Scorsesian anti-heroesthere have been Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood, a melancholic masterpiece to celebrate a cinema and its lost professionals. Steve Rogers is retired, Iron Man is dead. Bruce Willis is unwell and Will Smith is scuttled. James Bond is at the moment died. Sylvester Stallone began his legacy in the saga Creed and will continue it with the next one The Expendables. But Tom Cruise, alone, very alone, still refuses this inevitable destiny.

Top Gun: Maverick
Top Gun: Maverick ©Paramount Pictures

We may regret that the actor surrounds himself with a new and young generation to leave him only crumbs. He’s the team leader, he’s the best driver, he kisses the girl and he earns a place as a symbolic father. Superhuman, robotic, untouchable, surviving everything, Tom Cruise like a royal eagle flies above the pigeons. His association with ordinary mortals is therefore limited to Penny and “Rooster”, to try love and end the mourning of Goose.

Ad Astra…

Each character in the movie only has lines with him. They never exist with each other, except during the Hard Deck presentation sequence. Orbiting around the star Tom Cruise, they are only the cannon fodder of his legend. We may perhaps judge that it is absurd, terribly selfish. But to see then that this absurdity and this selfishness are also of an exceptional tragic and cinematographic force.

Perfect in his role as pilot of his cinema and his destiny, the only thing that counts in the end is his quest for an impossible dream, reaching the inaccessible star, whatever his chances, whatever the weather, he knows he will be this hero and his heart is tranquil. With Top Gun: MaverickTom Cruise has just opened the doors of the Pantheon.

Top Gun: Maverick by Joseph Kosinski, in theaters on May 25, 2022. Above the trailer. Find all our trailers here.

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