Where New Pulp Lives! And from Time to Time...Dies!

Friday, December 1, 2017

The REAL Meaning of TOP GUN

Look, we all love TOP GUN.  And if you don't, get lost.

But what's more important is the misunderstanding of what the movie is actually about.  The majority of people think it's about Maverick overcoming his immaturity to become the adult and hero he was born to be.  To become the best of the best while blazing a trail for others to follow his example.


It's about what happens when genious and ability is fenced in by nuance, rules, and "the way things should be".

Here's some examples:

Maverick defeats the Russians at the beginning of the film by being a cocky wingman that does things his own way and then saves a mentally destroyed Cougar (who insisted on following the rules) by guiding him home (and by which broke the direct orders of his CO to land his plane because the tax payers own that plane, not him).  He wins, but loses fore not following the rules.  Yet he is rewarded by being sent to TOP GUN (because Cougar lost his shit for following the rules).

Move on to TOP GUN.  Maverick demonstrates that his audacity wins air-to-air battles.  Yet, he's punished for not following the rule book.  He's chief competitor, Iceman, follows the book to a T and is consistently praised.  Maverick realizes he can't beat Iceman at his own game but also conforms because of the Albatross that is Goose, his NFO.

Let's talk a moment about Goose.  He's a pilot, NFO, and Maverick's mentor.  He's also a family man in a world of testosterone and maleness.  He wants to be one of the boys but is also concerned about his family's welfare.

Basically, he's holding Maverick back because Maverick cares about him and wants him to succeed, too, without screwing up his career with his own hot dog stunts.  That's loyalty.

In essence, the only thing that can free Maverick and unloose his full potential and save the world is Goose dying.  So Goose dies.

It takes Mav a bit to recover but he does.  Iceman wins TOP GUN because he followed the rules better.  Yet Mav earns a lot of respect for bouncing back from losing his anchor.

Then shit hits the fan.  Gotta send these hot shot aces out to the fleet to save the world from Soviet Migs.  Nobody trusts Maverick so he's kept in ready alert status while all the rule followers go out to save the day.

Only they don't. 

They get their asses shot down or in serious trouble and Mav has to go save the day.

By not following the rules.

He does everything he wanted to do without restriction (other than not leaving his wingman).  His final kill is actually what got his ass in trouble at TOP GUN (hit the breaks and he'll fly right by). 

Essentially, the story boils down to: if Maverick ever wanted to reach his full potential, he had to blaze his own path, his partner had to die, his rival needed his help, and he needed to be himself and trust his guts.

Just like his old man should have done before dying in Vietnam.

With a new NFO in place of Goose named Merlin.  Which means he's pure fucking magic.

You're welcome.