[Trailer Review] Top Gun: Maverick & the 80s Renaissance


As Tom Cruise revealed the dynamic trailer for Top Gun: Maverick, yesterday at San Diego Comic Con, the Twitter-verse is a buzz with applause and wonder. For Generation Xers like me, all things Top Gun are a welcome return. For younger folks, it seems that the Top Gun property is a bit of an enigma as they question and ponder all of the excitement.

It’s important for these youngsters to understand that within the zeitgeist of pop culture there wasn’t quite anything like the 1980s. As I’ve written before and most recently about the 30th anniversary of Tim Burton’s Batman, the 80s was full of defining cultural moments that have left a penetrating impact on a generation. Just take a look at Stranger Things for example.

So, as the 80s are new again, Generation Xers like me, experienced nostalgia paralysis as  the official trailer for Top Gun: Maverick trailer hit the web.  Needless to say, the return of Pete “Maverick” Mitchell is more than welcomed at at time in an era where the “everyday hero” has been replaced by multiverse characters and team-ups.

Directed by Joseph Kosinski (Oblivion, Only The Brave) and the brainchild of Cruise and mega producer Jerry Bruckheimer (Beverly Hills Cop, Top Gun, The Pirates of the Caribbean series), Top Gun: Maverick brings lovers (like me) of the original back to the world of US flying aces. The quintessential 80s movie, Top Gun is by no means a masterful film like other classics of the era including Back to the Future and Ghostbusters, but is equally definitive of a time in film history.

The original’s combination of MTV aesthetic (from it’s soundtrack to visuals and editing tempo) to the coolness of Cruise in his early Hollywood glory, epitomizes the 80s pulse where ego, machismo and vulnerability co-existed. Cruise’s Maverick was a canvas for a combination of wants and desires, coupled by his ability to command the skies above with technology that didn’t seem of this planet. In an era when anything seemed possible, Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, was definitive.

Although the trailer for Top Gun: Maverick brings us a mosaic of visual cues acting as a  love letter to the original, the promise of Maverick’s “extinction” is what makes the new film both compelling and topical.

Like all genre films that rise from a particular time and place, Top Gun: Maverick,  places Tom Cruise’s Pete Mitchell in a new era of aviation where Cold War dog fighting is a thing of the past and drone warfare is the new reality. As the trailer highlights director Joseph Kosinski’s eye for incredible visuals (Oblivion‘s visual landscape a mouth dropping amazing) it will be interesting to see how an old school pilot from the 80s era plays in the skies of the digital age.

Only time will tell. Regardless, Summer 2020 can’t come soon enough.

I just have to write this: “I feel the need… the need for speed.”


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