The places where moments reside

Top Gun Maverick: The hard deck for this operation is 5000 feet…

Gentlemen, the hard deck for this operation is 5000 feet… 

It sure is because it never lowers that ceiling. Its been 36 years since the 1st top gun came out, 21 since I first saw it, n number of times since and waiting impatiently for this one to release since the last 2 years. 

If you want to experience the legacy of what really the craze and legacy of top gun really is, I highly highly highly recommend that you watch the original top gun first if you haven`t and then head to Top Gun Maverick. Top Gun Maverick is all about tying the loose ends and criticisms of the 1st one and bringing a closure to the life of Maverick. Although its a proper movie in itself but you might not truly appreciate it if you don’t have an idea about the events of the 1st one as it has hidden references to the 1st one with flashback shots or frames , the reference and importance of which fans would get instantly. I have a lot to say but as my mind is in afterburner, the thoughts are going past mach speed. 

So lets get on with Top Gun Maverick first. The story is just a premise for the aerial shots and nothing else. While the story mission might seem simple to you, the execution of how thats executed is what is the whole cake and the icing on that. Tom Cruise picks up from where he left it 36 years ago, pushing past the limits of men and machine but this time he steps back when he feels that. Only he can convey the emotions and the demons he fights. The rest of the cast barring 1-2, try to support him but sometimes it feels like they were just fillers in the story. Penny Benjamin doesnt exude the same aura as Charlie.

The music is a huge letdown. The new songs are nothing you would remember anyway. What you would remember nevertheless are the same old ones you have grown up hearing- Top Gun theme, Danger Zone and Great balls of fire. The old ones are there in this one – don’t worry. 

The action sequences, dogfights , maneuvers are worth the price of ticket alone. You would be left at the edge of your seats watching jets pulling up 8-9 G in breaking , barrel rolls and all such stuff. The real G pulls show up on the faces of actors as they push the air envelop in the F-18s. Its all real this time and its no acting to get those blackouts and facial expressions. The final mission is where it all explodes in a flurry – Jets, Gs, SAMs, Flares, Bandits…. Everything you can think of in a combat mission. Speaking of mission- its not easy to execute in any way…the one described in the movie, I have tried similar ones in various pc games over the past 21 years and its equally challenging there too as it has been shown in the movie. 

Tom Cruise had said that there would be no top gun 2 without “Iceman” Val Kilmer and surely enough you realize there can`t be one as you head into the scene of Maverick meeting Iceman. Emotions would run high and dry and you are bound to have tears when you realize the importance of this scene and how special it must have been for Cruise, his team, Kilmer`s family to have him on screen considering they included his present condition in the movie. A pilot and his wingman meeting after so so long…. but the ending with that iconic line “Who`se the best pilot” ? 

Now I come to why you should watch / referesh your memory with the 1986 classic first…The nostalgia hits you from the 1st frame itself. The opening credits would fool you into believing that you are watching the original, coz they are exactly the same. A lot of the original has been retained in Top Gun Maverick. The carrier deck operations have been shot in the same way as the old one but they somewhat lack the punch when your mind starts the comparison. A lot of dialogues and situations are almost the same as they happened 36 years ago- I don’t know whether those are the standard for Top Gun in general or was that homage. The background music is carried forward from the old one in the same situation/situations. It does sets you up for anticipation and amazingly exceeds it well. 

The movie starts the narrative with an F-18 Super Hornet and ends with an F-14 Tomcat. I heard collective gasps and applause in the hall when tomcat made its appearance in the movie and was put to work with its USP feature which only the aviation geeks know. It did signify the long history with a movie which made it a household name back then. The carrier scene at the climax would remind you of the one with “ Cougar”… Who is Couger you might ask… the answer to that my friend lies in the original. 

Tom Cruise really outdoes himself this time… be it the action sequences or the emotions. Now he has come a full circle. If the 1986 one was a flight in afterburner, the 2022 movie is knowing how to land the plane back when “flying on vapours”.
Top Gun Maverick: The hard deck for this operation is 5000 feet… Top Gun Maverick: The hard deck for this operation is 5000 feet… Reviewed by Shwetabh on 12:58:00 PM Rating: 5

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