Top Gun: Maverick Parent Guide
This film is equal parts military recruitment advertisement and Hollywood thrill ride.
Parent Movie Review
Captain Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise) has managed to stay behind the stick of Navy fighter planes for over thirty years, dodging desk promotions and reassignments nearly as well as he dodges missiles. Lately, he’s settled in as a test pilot on the elusive “Darkstar” scramjet project to create a fighter aircraft that can break Mach 10. When that project, quite literally, falls apart, Maverick is reassigned back to the Navy Fighter Weapons School at North Island. This time, he’s tasked with teaching a team of the school’s best graduates, including Lt. Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw, the son of Maverick’s late wingman, Nick “Goose” Bradshaw. Still burdened with responsibility for Goose’s death, Maverick is reluctant to put Rooster in danger, despite the unavoidable perils ahead. The mission for which Maverick is training the team is incredibly dangerous and will almost certainly result in the deaths of most of the aviators involved – unless the aging hot shot can find a way to teach the younger pilots some new tricks.
Much like the original 1986 film, Top Gun: Maverick is equal parts military recruitment ad and Hollywood thrill ride. There are no nuanced political or ethical conversations about the mission, to the extent that the script doesn’t bother to name the country in which the conflict takes place. Apparently, it’s one with highly advanced Russian-manufactured fighter aircraft and surface-to-air missile batteries, but without a developed nuclear program; somewhere in what looks like Eurasia, but accessible from the Pacific Ocean; and a place the United States feels comfortable openly attacking. Don’t think about it too much. The movie sure doesn’t. This is just a training montage for what is, essentially, the Death Star trench run from Star Wars: A New Hope.
And, in fairness, that’s not the point. The movie is about pulling insane stunts in multi-million-dollar performance fighter aircraft, and it does that phenomenally well. Notwithstanding that some of these stunts see pilots exceeding the human limitations for G-forces, they’re fast, close, loud, and exciting. Unfortunately, the pilots spend the rest of the movie dropping cheesy catchphrases and inventing interpersonal conflicts to pad out the two-plus hour runtime. This movie is carrying at least 30 minutes of completely unnecessary runtime along like a boat anchor. (I suspect it’s to save money – all those F-18 shots ain’t cheap.)
Parents who remember the sex, profanity, and sizzling homoeroticism of the original film will either be relieved or disappointed that those elements have been cleanly cut out of the sequel. The most you’re going to get out of this movie is the ongoing scatological profanity and a scene of beach football which sees our oiled up and shirtless (or tank-topped, in the case of the ladies) heroes having some good old fashioned team bonding time, which mostly just feels like a beer commercial. But, as I said, thinking is not the point of this movie. This is a spectacle, and you’re going to want to see it on a big screen – there’s literally no other point.Directed by Joseph Kosinski. Starring Tom Cruise, Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm. Running time: 131 minutes. Theatrical release May 27, 2022. Updated May 26, 2022
Watch the trailer for Top Gun: Maverick
Top Gun: Maverick
Rating & Content Info
Why is Top Gun: Maverick rated PG-13? Top Gun: Maverick is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for sequences of intense action and some strong language
Violence: People are presumably killed in explosions, but without graphic detail. A person is killed in a failed ejection from a damaged aircraft.
Sexual Content: A couple are briefly seen kissing. There are allusions to sex.
Profanity: There are 26 uses of scatological profanity, one sexual expletive, and infrequent uses of mild cursing and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adult characters are briefly seen drinking socially.
Page last updated May 26, 2022
Top Gun: Maverick Parents' Guide
How do Hollywood and the U.S. Military co-operate on films like this? What are some concessions that filmmakers make in order to have access to these resources? How does U.S. military recruitment use films like this? For the original film, recruitment booths were put into movie theaters to cash in on the film’s exciting depiction of military service. What are some of the ethical issues around this?
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