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NewsTop Gun: Maverick - Do You Need to See...

Top Gun: Maverick – Do You Need to See the Original Movie First?

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The answer is… no, not really.

If you are a fan of the original – or if you do choose to watch it again or for the first time—your enjoyment of the sequel will of course be enhanced. Top Gun: Maverick is awash in nostalgia, to the point of recreating signature moments from the first movie like the opening montage of jets taking off (set again to Kenny Loggins’ “Danger Zone”) and the shirtless beach sports scene (although here volleyball is replaced by football, and the homoeroticism is turned way down).

But if you’ve never flown with Maverick before, you’re still in good hands. Cruise (who also produced with Jerry Bruckheimer), director Joseph Kosinski, and a team of screenwriters have ensured that Top Gun: Maverick is a well-oiled machine that requires no previous flight time from viewers just joining the action now in 2022.

For instance, Maverick’s main motivating factor—the guilt that still haunts him over the death of Goose, his best friend and Radar Intercept Officer, in the original movie—is quite clearly explained and signaled. Photos of Goose are everywhere, the new film flashes back to the sequence in the original in which Goose is killed, and the memory of Goose is further put front and center by the arrival of his son, Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw (Miles Teller) at the flight school, where he is one of the trainees who may be selected to fly the film’s incredibly risky central mission.

The new movie spells out quite clearly that Maverick has resisted promotion over the years because a) he still feels bad over Goose’s death, and b) he would rather fly than sit behind a desk. That’s all you need to know.

When Maverick also visits his old friend Iceman, now commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet (and the only other returning cast member), it’s also made quite evident that they are very dear friends. Although they were bitter rivals in the original movie, only earning each other’s respect at the end, that’s not necessarily knowledge needed for this film (and the genuine warmth between Cruise and Kilmer—whose own real-life health problems have been built into Iceman’s story—goes a long way toward selling their rapport).

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