Tom Cruise starrer Top Gun: Maverick is set for a December 2020 release. While there are no doubts about the actor’s strengths, the fate of the movie is questionable.
Tom Cruise is undoubtedly the most bankable actor in Hollywood. He has been in the business for over 30 years. The star who recently celebrated his 58th birthday is still top talent in the industry shouldering big-budget action franchises. The cherry on the cake, the man has a propensity for doing his own stunts.
In a perfect world, Tom Cruise’s Top Gun: Maverick should have been the summer 2020 blockbuster as we geared up for Mission Impossible 7 and 8 releases. Hopefully, in an alternate version of our reality, that’s true. But since the outbreak of the pandemic made Top Gun 2 miss a second summer, the action drama is now set to warm us up during the cold winds of December 2020. And Cruise is now busy building a Coronavirus-free village for MI’s cast and crew to finish the production.
Maverick, The Breakout Star
Tom Cruise became an overnight sensation in Hollywood with the 1986 Top Gun. He was every aviation lover’s dream. The dimples, the cool bike, aviator glasses, and leather jacket – Pete Mitchell was cocky, looked stunning shirtless and he was the wildcard with the code name ‘Maverick’!
Watch: Tom Cruise aka Maverick meets Charlie in Top Gun (1986)
But what happens to the man who is middle-aged now? Both Cruise and Maverick are 34 years old from where the first movie left us. And so did we age. We remember Maverick with fondness, but times have changed and so is our cinema consumption. More than three decades down the line, we, the audience, are accustomed to Cruise’s practically-realized yet gravity-defying stunt work, the use of CGI, and wider enhanced storytelling formats.
We remember Maverick with fondness, but times have changed and so is our cinema consumption.
While in a pre-COVID-19 world we were given a glimpse of what’s in store for us, Director Joseph Kosinski recently shed some more light on the storyline of the upcoming movie action flick calling it a “rite-of-passage story, much like the first film was.” Kosinski further mentioned, “But this is a man now at a different stage of life.”
Much like the character, there is no doubt Tom Cruise can pull off the action sequences and dogfights. But what makes one wonder is the viability of Maverick getting the same love again.
The Uncertainty around the Sequel’s potential
Arguably, the most important question of the hour is, how can Tom Cruise doing amazing dogfight sequences encountering real G force, not work?
Visually, yes it does. The marketing material released by the movie makers shows the visceral realism the action star has brought to the movie. The aerial spectacle in the promos establishes beforehand that the sequel is going to be much different compared to the original. But the practically-realized stunt work does take a toll on the quinquagenarian actor.
The frequency of any franchise makes the character more relatable. Star Wars series, MCU, or Cruise’s own Mission Impossible series are apt examples. The returning character engages the audience as a part of their own lives. However, the same cannot be said for Pete Mitchell. He is a pop culture icon but not a part of the audience’s mass consciousness in 2020.
To overcome this fact, it seems like director Kosinski has kept Pete exactly the same from over thirty years ago. He told the Empire Magazine,
In so many ways he’s still the guy that we remember from the first Top Gun… still wears those Ray-Ban aviators. He’s the best at what he does, and he’s given his whole life to aviation.
Watch: Director Kosinski on Top Gun: Maverick (2020)
In the past, we have seen that the revival of a character doesn’t work for iconic movies. For example, Al Pacino, Andy Garcia in Godfather 3, Thomas Harris in Hannibal, John Travolta in Staying Alive (He was nominated as Best Actor Oscar for prequel Saturday Night Fever), Sony’s Spider-Man 3, Mask, Alien… the list is endless.
All pop culture icons but none rose to their prequel’s popularity by any means. With a mixed bag of an audience made up of millennials and Gen Z alike, the fate of Tom Cruise’s Tom Cruise: Top Gun Maverick is exciting yet uncertain.