This review may contain spoilers.
I remember loving the original Top Gun as a kid, probably helped out by the fact that I had the G. I. Joe F-14 Tomcat toy. This one is deeply committed to nostalgia (Great Balls of Fire, really? Like how would Rooster even have come to love that song without it being a source of trauma?). Similar interlude with glistening bodies doing a sport on a beach, but coed this time, instead of Tony Scott’s mischievous gay subtext (sorry, text). Val Kilmer with his ravaged voice, here to wring some tears from the segment of the audience facing their own failing bodies.
Mostly, though, it’s about punishing Maverick for his past sins, for which he can atone by…leading a pack of unprepared (yet multi-ethnic!) pilots into a dangerous mission, where the risk of death is high. I find it deeply weird that this rogue nation is never named. Like, just give it a fake name if you don’t want to piss off the international film markets. It’s like it doesn’t even matter, because the movie takes it as a given that the US pilots are the good guys.
Favorite moments were the opening Mach 9 (no, 10+!) test, and Penny telling Maverick what to do on a boat. [looks at palm of hand, upon which is scrawled IT PENNY’S BOAT].