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4 reasons why ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ tops the original

Ted Carter in Cockpit of Fighter Jet, photo courtesy of Ted Carter

After a three-year-long wait, I was excited but also hesitant to indulge in Top Gun: Maverick. To top the first movie is something that only Tom Cruise could pull off. 

I watched Top Gun: Maverick twice in theaters, and I harbor the unpopular opinion that it is even better than the original. Before you grab your pitchforks and torches, hear me out. The sequel just brings more depth to Cruise’s character that audiences have been craving for decades. 

1. There was an actual plot.

Here is the plot of the first movie summed up in a few words. Dramatic shots of fighter jets, muscular men playing volleyball with their shirts off, Goose dies and turmoil ensues for Tom Cruise. 

In the second one, I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. Rooster is a character that has so much pent-up anger directed at Maverick. They both learn to let go, and I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. 

2. Tom Cruise schools the youngsters.

Movie goers sat back and thought to themselves, “Ah, classic Maverick.” While the audience was familiar with the charismatic hot shot, the new recruits were not. There needed to be a scene for Maverick to put them in their places. 

The push-ups added an extra punishment to their failure in the skies. Many couldn’t help but smile at Tom Cruise whipping them into shape. 

Everyone must hit a wall where they realize they have much to learn.

3. The love interest will actually last.

I’ll admit I was confused when Charlie Blackwood was not on Maverick’s side. But after rewatching the first movie, I realized that Charlie and Maverick were not meant to last. But if Charlie would have stayed, the second movie would have been too replicative of the first one. 

I had to watch Top Gun to understand who Penny Benjamin was. I appreciated seeing Maverick in a meaningful relationship. 

“You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin” was Charlie’s song. It can’t be used for another.  

It’s nice to see that Maverick ends up with the admiral’s daughter, who was just a mere reference in the first movie. 

4. Beloved by all generations

It was still true to the first movie from the dramatic music to Sweet Balls of Fire. I appreciated that Iceman still plays a huge role as an inspiration for Maverick. The gong bells still send shivers down my spine. Old clips from the first movie are played frequently. 

That nostalgic piece sucks in our parents, but also gives our generation a thrill at the same time. Tom Cruise truly did create this sequel for all of the Top Gun fans (and their kids).  

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