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Which Top Gun Movie is Better? From a Tom Cruise Diehard Fan

I grew up watching Top Gun. For as long as I can remember, any time Top Gun played on our TV at home, my dad was watching it. He has probably watched Top Gun 100 times easily. He recites the script from memory and his most played song on Spotify every year is in fact Danger Zone followed by Great Balls of Fire. I myself have maybe seen Top Gun 20+ times easily. I can quote Maverick and Goose from memory. You could say that we are a Top Gun family. When my dad learned they were making a sequel, he ran around our house screaming “Talk to me Goose.” Unfortunately, due to COVID, he was unable to see its opening night in theaters, but as soon as it was available for purchase he was on our living room couch watching Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer duke it out for the top of their Top Gun class all over again. 

I mean c’mon. If you haven’t seen it yet, Top Gun Maverick is definitely the ‘must-watch’ movie of 2022. For complete transparency, I’ve seen Maverick 5 times already and bought the movie on Apple TV. However, how does it stack up against the likes of the original film?  I could never ask this question to my father. It would be like asking him to pick his favorite child. Yet, just because the Top Gun die-hards can’t answer it, doesn’t mean I can’t attempt to. So, here it goes. Top Gun versus Top Gun Maverick.

Top Gun:

  1. Tom Cruise and Anthony Edwards. Need I say more? These two 80s boys can have whatever they want. The fact that they are Top Gun bad-boy pilots only makes them better. Their friendship is goals. Their dynamic and sarcasm is not only attractive but also individually they each leave you wanting more. Maverick’s sadness and bond to Goose after Goose’s death make the viewer feel like they are in the locker room with Mav. I would do anything to be friends with Goose and Mav (or date one of them).
  2. Kelly McGillis does fulfill the standard 80s girl role with Charlie, but there are so many other actresses who could’ve done a better job. Sure she has the hair and the smolder down, but her lack of feminine power and confidence really did not age well. She is not confident and doesn’t make you want to be her as a young female. The kissing scene (more like a tongue war) between her and Maverick is disgusting and you can tell she dominated the entire kiss. 
  3. The Soundtrack. Kenny Loggins did not have to go that hard with Danger Zone. AND PLAYING WITH THE BOYS is an absolute BANGER. The main theme song makes me feel like I am in a military hanger preparing for battle. The only bad song is Berlin’s Take My Breath Away. I really could’ve done without this song. I know it is a classic and paramount to building the tension between Mav and Charlie. 

Top Gun Maverick:

  1. Miles Teller. Rooster. Need I say more? I think I can end the debate right here. If I was judging these two movies based solely on looks, Top Gun Maverick would take the cake just with Miles Teller as Rooster. Even more, the beach scene? “I Ain’t Worried” about it especially if this scene can play over and over again. Oh and Tom Cruise is still sexy as ever. He has aged like a fine wine. Oh and Glen Powell? Oh damn. Even 
  2. Jennifer Connelly as Peggy. Absolute perfection. She aged beautifully and is the perfect actress to counter Tom Cruise. Needless to say, she did 100 times better than Kelly McGillis in my book. Plus her and Tom kissing in this movie is normal, not anything like Kelly. And in terms of leading ladies, Monica Barbaro as Phoneix is badass. Phoenix provides the perfect girl power and girl boss energy to the Top Gun program. Plus, she shows all the boys up. Even better.
  3. Lady Gaga did wonders with the soundtrack. During the entire movie, you could feel the emotions of the actors not only through their music but through the perfectly sculpted soundtrack. I didn’t know that the “Main Titles” song of Top Gun could be made any better after the first, but, of course, Lady Gaga found a way. The “Main Titles (You’ve Been Called Back to Top Gun)” makes me want to run through a brick wall. I listen to it when I’m working out to feel the power and drive of the orchestra behind me. The fact that the soundtrack also includes Miles Teller’s rendition of “Great Ball of Fire” only adds to the perfection of the movie. 

So, unless you can’t read between the lines, I obviously favor Top Gun Maverick. As a whole, there is literally nothing about this movie that I can critique or complain about. For how good the original Top Gun is, I am shocked at how well the second movie, almost forty years later, is. No other film franchise has been able to top their original banger in the way that Top Gun Maverick has.

With all that said, do not ~not~ watch the original. It is truly a classic and deserves all the love and respect of one. If you want to optimize your Top Gun experience, watch both movies back to back in a little movie marathon. You’ll feel like you can hop up into a Fighter Jet and fly with the Top Gun pilots too. 

Maddie Tix

Williams '23

Hi! My name is Maddie. I am passionate about female empowerment, while also normalizing the new idea of being a 'bruh" girl! I love sports, dogs, country music, and trying new things.