With the Memorial Day weekend release of Top Gun: MaverickcConservative pundits have taken the culture war to heaven, hailing the blockbuster as a patriotic, anti-‘awakened’ portrayal of militarism and masculinity. They’ve also cited its record-breaking box office performance — grossing $160.5 million domestically over the long weekend — as proof that the public is on their side.
The highly anticipated sequel is set more than three decades after the original, starring Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, played by Tom Cruise, called upon to train a squadron of elite US Navy pilots for a bombing raid on a “rogue state” uranium enrichment plant. At no point in the film are questions asked about why the US is bombing this other country, which, by remaining unnamed, has led to a media campaign boards game† The highlight is how Cruise takes off from a US Pacific Fleet aircraft carrier while flying an F/A-18E Super Hornet. Dazzling displays of dogfights follow.
Aside from the Department of Defense propaganda inherent in most of Hollywood’s military-themed creations, the film isn’t overtly political in a way recognizable to Americans who have grown accustomed to Air Force flyovers at the Super Bowl. and World Series. In many ways, Top Gun: Maverick feels like a product of the ’80s – a decade when the US invaded countries like Grenada and Panama, while also being gripped by the Cold War with Russia. And like the original 1986 film, it’s an exciting, beautifully produced military recruiting ad that favors neither Republican nor Democratic sensibilities. It manages to portray a conflict over nuclear weapons as downright fun.
This has led many conservatives to project their own cultural ambitions onto the film. “It’s very patriotic, the movie. I mean, the military is a bunch of handsome young people going out to defend the country and the international order,” he said. Ben Shapiro in a recent review from the movie. “That is amazing.” Shapiro, a conservative podcast host, went on to praise the filmmakers for “not treating the military as victims of mental health problems or people who are victims of the evil US regime, or as imperialists themselves, or as corrupt or as terrible.”
Despite acknowledging that he had not seen the film, Breitbart columnist . said John Nolté preventively praised Top Gun: Maverick as a “masculine, pro-American, strident non-woke blockbuster,” adding, “Instead of apologizing for being an ’80s ‘relic’, it embraced what everyone loved in 1986 and still does.” loves.” Citing some of Hollywood’s “wakeful flops,” Nolte wrote that: Top Gun: Maverick avoided that fate by “respect”[ing] human nature” and shun progressive commentary. “It didn’t do what James Bond did: turn himself into a meowing little pajama boy gerbil from a movie,” he added. “It Didn’t Do What” Star Wars did and twisted a romantic adventure sequence into a shrill Womyn’s Studies lecture.”