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Top Gun

Critic:

Ahmed Abbas

|

Posted on:

9 Jun 2022

Film Reviews
Top Gun
Directed by:
Tony Scott
Written by:
Jim Cash, Jack Epps Jr.
Starring:
Tom Cruise, Kelly McGillis, Val Kilmer, Anthony Edwards, Tom Skerritt
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The Top Gun Naval Fighter Weapons School is where the best of the best train to refine their elite flying skills. When hotshot fighter pilot Maverick (Tom Cruise) is sent to the school, his reckless attitude and cocky demeanour put him at odds with the other pilots, especially the cool and collected Iceman (Val Kilmer). But Maverick isn't only competing to be the top fighter pilot, he's also fighting for the attention of his beautiful flight instructor, Charlotte Blackwood (Kelly McGillis).

 

On my journey of exploring the large catalogue of classic movies I never experienced, I decided to take a pitstop on the renowned 1986 epic Top Gun.

 

At first glance, Top Gun appears to be the typical “best of the best” hero movie, but surprisingly for an ‘80s movie, it avoids the tropes of the protagonist getting his way, instead opting to take Maverick (Tom Cruise) through a series of highs and lows. In Top Gun’s case, the journey is more important than the destination, as Maverick’s character grows from an arrogant… maverick, to a mature wingman that can be relied upon.

 

Top Gun is quite unique for a movie of its genre in that there is no true antagonist, and the “enemy” is a faceless one that only serves the purpose of showcasing the Top Gun graduates’ prowess. The antagonising forces of this film are the dangers of jet fighting, failure, and loss. These all inform the relationships inherent to Maverick’s life, which themselves inform the story in return.

 

Becoming invested in Maverick’s several relationships is not a choice, as they demand attentiveness from the viewers. The evolution of these is where the film shines, featuring friendships, rivalries, and romance, all of which undergo touching journeys. The development between Iceman (Val Kilmer) & Maverick is my favourite aspect of the film, reinforced by Maverick’s companionship with his closest friend and wingman, Goose (Anthony Edwards).

 

At the forefront of the movie is an endearing lead who is impossible not to root for: you root for the main character to win; you root for the main character to get the girl. Maverick is a protagonist to be remembered, as Cash and Epps Jr. do a flawless job of making him relatable – he is not just some impeccable hero that never loses, he is a human who undergoes a myriad of emotions. The emotional status of the film’s core characters is both heart-warming and heart-breaking, and you genuinely care about the relationship between the several characters.

 

The main premise, aerial dogfighting, certainly isn’t without its flaws. While an outstanding feat at the time, the development of filmmaking technology has dated these scenes in the era they were made. While these scenes don’t compare to today’s standard, they do add somewhat of a charm when watching the film, although viewers who have grown up with blockbusters of modern standards may not be as exhilarated by these scenes and may find them to be immersion-breaking. I certainly felt the relationships Maverick held with the other supporting characters were more interesting than the dogfighting and flying scenes.

 

The feature manages to unearth a series of young actors just starting their careers and perfectly matches them to their respective roles. It’s easy to see why Cruise & Kilmer became cinematic icons after this feature yet puts into question why the other impressive cast members did not have careers of the same calibre.

 

“Tom Cruise earns his future prestige, making his bones through Top Gun”

 

Of course, I would be remiss to not mention the film’s iconic soundtrack that to this day is unrivalled. While some may find the soundtrack dated, I maintain they only add to the ambience, transporting you to the era this feature is set.

 

Top Gun is a rare feature, as every creative decision feels like it was decided by fervent passion. This is discernible, and this fervour infects the viewers, inspiring them to pump their fists in the air and become emotionally invested in every aspect of the movie. An action, war, romance, and family drama all in one, Top Gun is great for any occasion, whether to watch with the family or appreciate by yourself.

 

A guaranteed mood-lifter, Top Gun promises to take you on a joyride of emotions and leave you with the feeling of hope. The cult classic feature serves as a window to ‘80s cinema and fills viewers with the urge to take to the skies. A film like this may never be made again.

 

 

Top Gun is available to rent on several streaming services.

 

About the Film Critic
Ahmed Abbas
Ahmed Abbas
Theatrical Release, Throwback Thursday