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Top Gun: Maverick (2022)


Maybe our audience felt they’d had too much excitement for one night, as a small group of us gathered for the discussion. Top Gun: Maverick was a film that scored with many; the woman sitting next to me lived the thrilling aeronautic sequences and seemed exhausted by the end.


For those in the group who had seen the original film, this sequel was not disappointing but felt like almost a carbon copy. “It’s a jeujed up overlay of the original,” said one of our members. Even the music (Bowie, T.Rex, The Who) was nostalgic.


We found some differences with the last Top Gun film, from 36 years ago. There were black actors in key roles, but some of us found it tokenistic. A woman was one of the pilots, although she wasn’t a fully drawn character. However, not many of the elite Top Gun graduates were. It wasn’t that kind of movie.


A few of us yearned for a real follow up, with Kelly McGillis playing the love interest. We did talk about our favourite Tom Cruise films and how good he looked in this one, despite possibly soon being a candidate for u3a. We admired his gung-ho spirit with stunts and how he had risked accidents in the past by carrying these out himself. Although I felt he seemed detached in his acting style, my husband has assured me that he was perfect, as good pilots just have a mission focus.


The Val Kilmer cameo was very touching and we appreciated the director – Joseph Kozinsky – working scenes around his loss of voice, due to a real-life tracheotomy.


We concluded that the film was “all about action.” Yes, it was formulaic and the story arc was entirely predictable. However, the audience came for the spectacle and excitement and they got it.


I was utterly delighted that I had chosen, without knowing, a short film about an 82-year-old skydiver, made by the son of one of our audience that night. She was really over the moon and so was I.


I didn’t exactly fly home in an F-14, I spent ten minutes scraping the ice off my car windscreen on a freezing night. Back to reality.


Anne Goldstein

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