7 – TOP GUN: MAVERICK
Director: Joseph Kosinski
Screenplay: Ehren Kruger, Eric Singer and Christopher McQuarrie
Duration: 131 minutes
Cast: Tom Cruise, Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm and Glen Powell
Exclusive theatrical release
How many lives did Tom Cruise have between 1986 and 2022? Thirty-six years ago, he was the perfect incarnation of the banana guy taking off and/or putting on Ray Bans in two out of three scenes of best gun, one of many films of the era designed for his showmanship and to pave the way for the pursuit of prestige that would characterize much of his 90s filmography. Cruise continues to play with his glasses in the continued, albeit with less intensity and with the assurance of someone who knows that this act is his trademark, not as a way of standing in front of the world shouting “here I am”. After all, he no longer needs to create media scandals or chase after an award for attention, as evidenced by the fanfare he caused during his time at the Cannes film festival, where it generated an uproar typical of what is perhaps the last major movie star understood as what only happens inside a darkened room. He is therefore one of the rare actors who can give themselves the pleasure of doing what they are told.
In Top Gun: Maverick you basically sing to him look in the rearview mirror to pay homage to yourself, but also to this film and, with it, to a way of filming that goes against the current paradigm of blockbusters. Cultist of the immersive experience of the big screen to the point of having postponed the premiere for two years due to the pandemic, Cruise travels to the origins of his facet of action hero, the very one that brings him today. today to reject the use of doubles to, in return, throw kicks, hang from planes and drive motorcycles, helicopters and boats with a taste for risk worthy of a twenty-something. Admittedly, the boy is no longer such, but a man of nearly sixty: if at each episode of the saga Impossible mission multiply their demonstrations of physical prowess, best gun introduced, as Sylvester Stallone in both believethe question of inheritance and how to combine the momentum of the past with the wisdom of the present.
It doesn’t seem by chance, then, that the trigger for the plot is the summoning of Pete “Maverick” Mitchell to lead the training of the twelve young pilots of the elite naval aviation squadron Top Gun, among them Bradley Bradshaw ( Milles Teller), who is none other than the son of Goose, Maverick’s friend killed in action in the original film. The goal is to build a team to a mission to destroy a uranium enrichment plant located in the middle of an unnamed country but very close to “NATO allies”: if it had not been shot in 2019, the economic reading pointing to Russia as an enemy would be inevitable. But like Tony Scott in the 1986 film, the filmmaker Joseph Kosinsky –on his second collaboration with Cruise after in Oblivion: Time of Oblivion (2013) – it is not interested in geopolitics, nor in dialogue with a context, nor in anything other than the career and worldview of its protagonist and producer.
Things between Bradley and Maverick, at first, won’t be easy, since the former has a few pending bills to collect from the latter, like his file drawer for years. A relationship that will change as the mission approaches and, with it, the climax of a film that is much smoother, more fluid, better armed and filmed than its predecessor. If it was a sum of snatches, subplots spun by Cruise’s presence, and had action scenes made of pure frenetic editing, here is a furiously analogical exercise in its ideology and its construction, a plague of references and of winks between which emerges a story about an unscrupulous simplicity, not exempt from kitsch, crossed by mourning – understood both as confrontation and unhealed pain due to a loss – and which carefully constructs an aerial spatiality. Of course, it also crosses the romance box with the presence of Jennifer Connelly’s old love Maverick, whose surgery-free face is a perfect fit for a film dedicated to flaunting the passage (and weight) of time.