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Is Top Gun’s mil­i­taris­tic jin­go­ism still fit for the big screen?

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20.06.2022

On May 27, after 36 years Tom Cruise’s Captain Pete “Maverick” Mitchell returned to the big screen with “Top Gun: Maverick”.

The sequel to the 1986 blockbuster, Top Gun, proved without any doubt that 59-year-old Cruise is still fit enough to perform the stunts he first perfected nearly 40 years ago. But whether the militaristic jingoism of the Top Gun franchise is still fit for our screens in the 21st century is an entirely different discussion.

Just like the original Top Gun movie, the sequel was clearly designed not only to entertain but also to give an opportunity to the masses to remember the might and celebrate the “successes” – or, perhaps the capacity for destruction – of the American military.

Indeed, as if to further underline this purpose, the $170m movie premiered on USS Midway, a disused US Navy aircraft carrier that had been used in both the first Gulf war and the Vietnam war – in other words, an aircraft carrier that caused very real destruction, in very real wars of aggression, in America’s name.

And at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, I witnessed with my own eyes how the film is being overtly marketed as a celebration of American military might – to the dismay of many.

As the film’s cast took to the red carpet at the prestigious film festival, several fighter jets started to roar above us in the sky. Tom Cruise and others in his entourage responded with glee, and the Hollywood star even raised his fist to greet the jet pilots performing in his honour. Having spent time in Iraq during the war against ISIL (ISIS), and being acutely aware of the ongoing war in nearby Ukraine, however, I instinctively thought we were under attack and ducked for cover. The sentiment was shared by Ukrainian filmmakers at the festival, who were reportedly so horrified that........

© Al Jazeera


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