If a film makes a billion dollars and is not Disney-Marvel crap, it is a pop culture moment. Beyond just the normal reviews, political pundits jumped into the popcorn movie film review waters. When my teenage son asked me to go see Top Gun: Maverick, I told him he could be my wingman. We watched the original film so he would understand the set up for Maverick and caught a matinee for full on nostalgia and shared cultural content bonding. The American empire might be wobbly right now, but we plebians can sit back for two hours and enjoy some ’80s styled entertainment.
This film is a throwback to the ’80s Reagan can do attitude that permeated action films. America: pure and good. Machismo: needed. War: let’s pick fights because we know we can get the job done. Now this had to pay the wokegeld and we see a Disney It’s A Small World cast for the best of the best pilots. There is the spicy Latina, the Asian (callsign Yale), the competent blacks, a Latino, but of course, our true best of the best, the white guys. This has no relation to true fighter pilot demographics nor the competency of said pilots or aircraft. It’s a cost of doing business to put out a film that oozes machismo and makes you think the year is 1986 again. The diner Maverick stumbles into after a test flight crash is not a 2022 diner. All of the patrons are normal sized (1980s normal) white customers. Maybe he crashed in Montana. The world is not over, the woke is not there, and the demographics of our nation are still like the 1980s. Be comfortable plebian and enjoy the ride.
A theory I have seen online does fit, and having different narrative interpretations is a fun thing for an action film like Total Recall. Rather than taking the film’s narrative at face value, what if Maverick did die after he pushed it beyond Mach 10 in a rebellious move against the system? Maverick then spends ninety minutes making right all his prior broken or strained relationships. He reconciles and thanks Iceman before Iceman dies. He patches things up with Goose’s son. He restarts a relationship with the beautiful Penny Benjamin who is the same Penny Benjamin that he had a fling with as referenced in the original film. He serves his nation in one last daredevil mission that only he can show is possible, and that he must lead. He can fly off into the fighter pilot Valhalla at the end of the film with all loose ends tied up.
This film focusing on fighter pilots offers Hollywood a special opportunity. It has been written that fighter pilots were a return to the knightly battles of yore. The Battle of Britain still holds our imagination. A nation was protected by incredibly few men who went one on one with the enemy. America’s entire empire rest of superiority in the skies. From a moviemaking perspective, the fighter pilot gives Hollywood a chance to film an action scene where we get clear cut close ups of the actors as the action transpires. This is not possible in shoot outs. A scene can show the action, the consequences, and then the human’s reaction to the new situation and in dramatic seconds, convey emotion. A viewer can see the choice a fighter pilot makes to begin the next sequence in the action scene.
A fun theory and the film-making artistry are interesting discuss with other viewers, but it’s not why we watched. It was an unabashedly fun, manly film. Fathers and sons by proxy dominate the emotional core. Masculine energy of the toxic kind is on display and celebrated. Men shout, men argue, men play weird football games on the beach and the purest of male pursuits, competing against each other to show who is the best at something for glory and martial virtue is celebrated. There is no irony here. Men and one spicy Latina competing to kill for their country. Americans still love their country, even as it dawns on them they hate their rulers and that their rulers hate them, but they want to feel good in a season of decay.
This film is a GAE imperial PR product. Look at the mission. They have to do a bombing run on a uranium enrichment facility because it threatens the stability of the region and our allies. The launch is from an aircraft carrier to the southwest of the coast down a mountain pass towards a facility buried in the mountains. This unnamed nation does not have nuclear capabilities yet. It does also have old F-14s at its airbases. There is only one nation that fits that bill to a T. It’s the 2nd term Dubya strike that never was.
Deep down beyond the diversity garnish, there is the message that at the end of the day, America will need white men to do the hardest of jobs, will need them to risk their lives for their nation and ideals that they truly believe in, and will save the day when the other white guys are missile locked by a 5th gen fighter plane (thanks
Iceman Jr. Hangman!). Anyone can look around today and see the changing of the guard in our institutions, firmly under leftist control, and know that the growing incompetence, the growing parasitic behavior and the lack of follow through on anything but changing vocabulary definitions and petty procedural scams to punish internal enemies is all a function of those selfless, sacrificing white guys being squeezed out. It’s the left’s need to distribute the patronage jobs to their current clients. Those words on the paper in the National Archives mean nothing to them. We know who keeps the lights on, and we know the lights will go off when they are retired to dhimmitude to serve petty political ends. For two hours, Top Gun: Maverick lets you think that it does not have to be that way.