Top Gun: Maverick
By Tara McNamara,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Tamer sequel to '80s fave has peril, cursing, solid message.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Strong theme of second chances and redemption. Skill and instinct are a result of a thorough knowledge of the material plus training, practice, and learning from those with experience.
Positive Role Models
Maverick has grown from his mistakes and teaches a new generation to avoid prideful errors. He's willing to sacrifice his own reputation and status to do what he feels is right. He still defies authority, but usually with a purpose -- for the betterment of his colleagues. Several young fighter pilots are aspirational in their skill level and camaraderie, especially Phoenix, who holds her own (and then some) against the male pilots.
Racial and gender diversity among Navy personnel. The one female fighter pilot in the training group, a Latina woman (Monica Barbaro), is razzed about her gender by a male classmate but doesn't take it and proves she's just as capable as (or more capable than) her male colleagues.
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Violence & Scariness
Intense moments of peril during dangerous flight missions and training sessions. Aerial combat, including planes being shot down and blowing up.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Romance. A clothed couple makes intense eye contact while one is positioned above the other, who's lying on her back; in the next scene, they're talking and laughing while he's in bed shirtless and she's clothed, implying that they had sex. Kissing. Men are shirtless while playing sports.
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Strong language includes "d--khead," "hell," "s--t," and one instance of "what the f--k."
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Products & Purchases
Some brands are presented as aspirational, including a Ford Bronco and a Porsche. Additionally, Budweiser and Sailor Jerry rum are featured in a bar.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Hanging out and drinking at a bar is shown to be fun, cool, and a way to build relationships with others.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Top Gun: Maverick is the long-awaited sequel to '80s favorite Top Gun. Expect frequent intense peril and aerial combat, but kills aren't bloody, and you can see someone ejecting with a parachute after their plane is hit. Time has made Capt. Pete "Maverick" Mitchell (Tom Cruise) more responsible, but he still sometimes can't help defying authority. And while many '80s teens likely saw his character as proof that cocky was cool and winning was everything, now Mav teaches his aviator students that knowledge and preparation hone the instincts they need for successful outcomes. He also passes on a moral code: Never leave your wingman. Mav's romance with Penny (Jennifer Connelly) is tame: A brief scene implies sex, but she's always shown fully clothed. As is the Top Gun way, the shirtlessness is reserved for men enjoying sandy sports together. Language is mostly "s--t," but there's one use of "d--khead" and a "what the f--k." It's possible to follow the movie's story as a standalone, but it will be far more meaningful if you've seen the first film -- and it will drive home the message that growth and change of perspective come with life experience.
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Top Gun: Maverick
Based on 45 parent reviews
From a Navy fighter pilot - AMAZING. Absolute must-see.
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Feel good action film
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What's the Story?
In TOP GUN: MAVERICK, Tom Cruise reprises his role as Capt. Pete "Maverick" Mitchell, who's found his niche in the Navy as a test pilot, pushing the limits of new aircraft. When his friend and former rival Adm. Tom "Iceman" Kazansky (Val Kilmer) reassigns Maverick to train a new group of Top Gun graduates for a special high-risk mission, he must return to Miramar. But when he learns that the class includes Lt. Bradley "Rooster" Bradshaw (Miles Teller), the son of Maverick's late best friend, Goose, he must find a way to resolve the past -- for the sake of Rooster's future.
Is It Any Good?
Compared to the original, this sequel is 70% less sweaty, 85% less sexy, and 90% more tween appropriate. Top Gun: Maverick is a tale of redemption both for Maverick and for the original film. Top Gun is a piece of classic cinema, one of the most significant films of the 1980s. But it projected hyper masculinity as aspirational, arrogance as cool, and the idea that rules are for losers. The fact that Maverick's recklessness cost his best friend his life was lost in the excitement of the Danger Zone and the camaraderie of volleyball on the beach and serenading bar beauties.
Top Gun: Maverick remedies this -- so much so that it's actually a really great idea to watch them as a double feature with teens and tweens. In the sequel, the perspective is flipped, with the class of swaggering fighter pilots shown from the instructor's point of view. They're not ready, they're overly confident, and it's clear that they need structure and guidance. Still shattered from Goose's death all these years later and afraid that Goose's son, Bradley (Teller), could lose his life the same way, Maverick has to teach the young guns how to take risks in the most risk-averse way. The movie's romance no longer has an uneven power dynamic (ahem, dating the teacher), either: Maverick's love interest, Penny (Jennifer Connelly), is the same age and has her own, separate career -- and things between them get about as sexy as a starched collar. Where viewers are likely to feel the intensity is in the aerial combat, which is notably more breathtaking and includes stunning action sequences. Cruise is known for insisting on authenticity by performing stunts himself, and he and the other actors really fly these planes. That helps make the film more immersive. Many former '80s teens have fond memories of watching Top Gun with their parents. Top Gun: Maverick is made for that experience to continue.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about "trusting your gut." What does that mean, and how can you cultivate an instinct?
What does Maverick mean when he says that being a pilot "is not what I am, it's who I am." Are you so passionate about anything that it feels like part of your personality?
In both films, Top Gun classmates have a rivalry. How can competition be used to help push you to be your best, and when can it be unhealthy?
What is the purpose of a sequel? How does Top Gun: Maverick complete the journey of Capt. Pete Mitchell? What characters from other movies would you like to check in on 30 years later?
- In theaters: May 27, 2022
- On DVD or streaming: August 23, 2022
- Cast: Tom Cruise, Jennifer Connelly, Miles Teller, Val Kilmer
- Director: Joseph Kosinski
- Studio: Paramount Pictures
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Friendship
- Character Strengths: Courage, Humility
- Run time: 131 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: sequences of intense action, and some strong language
- Awards: Academy Award, Common Sense Selection
- Last updated: March 13, 2023
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Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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