This post contains minor spoilers for Tom Cruise’s “Top Gun: Maverick.” If you haven’t seen it yet, stop reading and go to the theatre. That is a command.
“Top Gun: Maverick” director Joseph Kosinski has completed his long-awaited sequel to the fan-favorite original from 1986.
The next chapter in Tom Cruise’s “Maverick” character’s life. Mitchell stands proudly on its own while adhering to the action formula established in the first film. Naturally, “Maverick” includes some period-appropriate throwbacks, such as Maverick’s motorcycle racing against the jet (a classic).
But “Maverick” doesn’t implode in the haze of nostalgia.
“There are times when a callback feels appropriate,” Kosinski says, dismissing others that felt “like you’re doing a cover band version of the original.”
Buckle up for the best “Top Gun” homages in “Maverick.”
Rooster, like his late father, crows ‘Great Balls of Fire.’ Goose
Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw (Miles Teller) sings “Great Balls of Fire,” which veers into hokey territory but pulls out safely. Squint your eyes and sing along as Rooster bangs the piano keys to a song that his late father, Maverick’s bestie Nick “Goose” Bradshaw (Anthony Edwards), used to croon in full Jerry Lee Lewis style.
Rooster is rocking the Goose Hawaiian shirt, shades, moustache, and theatrical key-pounding. On June 16, Paramount Studios released a raucous extended song version.
The sentimental scene contains a lot of story. This is the mature version of the boy in the cowboy hat sitting on the piano in “Top Gun,” who was told, “Sing it, Bradley!” by his now-deceased father.
“That original ‘Top Gun’ piano scene is the genesis of that entire character,” Kosinski says.
Maverick isn’t singing along this time because he’s still haunted by Goose’s death in a plane crash. In “Maverick,” he’s standing outside the window, watching the action.
‘Danger Zone,’ by Kenny Loggins, appears right at the start.
The first frames of “Maverick” are an outright “Top Gun” tribute, down to the opening card that reads “They call it Top Gun.” You knew you were in good hands with Kosinski.
The original Kenny Loggins song “Danger Zone” opens the film with a new version of the iconic “Top Gun” aircraft carrier action, this time aboard the USS Lincoln with F-18s.
All of this culminates in Maverick demonstrating his skills while exorcising his demons of losing Goose in the “Top Gun” flight accident. When things start to go wrong in the fight, Maverick tells Rooster to “Eject, eject,” just like he told Goose in “Top Gun.” This time, the outcome is very different.
The shot of Cruise “in a vertical climb in the F-14 and he breaks through a layer of clouds” was a favourite of Kosinski’s.
It isn’t heaven. It’s “Top Gun” paradise.