Top Gun: Maverick Review - 8 Ups & 2 Downs


2. The Film's Awkward Apolitical Stance

Top Gun Maverick Tom Cruise

Many observers noted pre-release that the film's marketing seemed to be playing it coy with regard to the national identity of its villains, and that's because they're never actually named in the final movie at all.

The focal mission, in which Maverick's (Tom Cruise) team must destroy a uranium enrichment facility, involves a conflict with a hostile nation who aren't ever identified on screen.

While the original Top Gun didn't exactly go out of its way to identify its own antagonists, audiences didn't need to do much reading between the lines to assume it was the Soviets - though it certainly could've been other nations also.

But Maverick takes a distractingly apolitical stance by refusing even the faintest implication of the possible country they're facing off against.

It's hard not to view this as a cynical decision intended to avoid upsetting any nation whose box office revenue Paramount desperately craves. Given how utterly '80s the movie feels in its bones, it's surprising the filmmakers didn't just make up a fictional country instead.

It certainly would've been less bizarre than just... awkwardly never naming the enemy combatants, even when the pilots are in direct aerial combat with them.

It's not a deal breaker by any means, but it is an odd and obviously financially calculated choice.


Stay at home dad who spends as much time teaching his kids the merits of Martin Scorsese as possible (against the missus' wishes). General video game, TV and film nut. Occasional sports fan. Full time loon.