“Top Gun: Maverick,” a sequel to the 1986 Tom Cruise action movie, is gearing up for production, with filming to start in July of this year.
If you’re a fan of the original “Top Gun” and its mix of glistening, sexually charged volleyball matches and high-octane aerial stunts, this probably sounds like great news. Why did it ever take 30 years to make a sequel to this movie?
Be warned, though: This movie isn’t as good an idea as it sounds. A lot has changed since 1985, and if there’s one thing that the past two decades of nostalgia moviemaking have taught us, it’s that it’s rarely a good idea to try recapturing the magic of an older movie with an unnecessary continuation of the story.
The examples of bad idea nostalgiabait films are many. “Star Wars: The Phantom Menace,” “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” “Independence Day: Resurgence,” “Dumb and Dumberer,” “Prometheus,” “Son of the Mask” (wow, this is an eclectic list, you’re welcome!).
Sure, there’s an occasional “Creed” that mixes up the formula, but this is the exception rather than the rule.
The odds are already stacked against “Top Gun: Maverick,” even before we pause to consider Tom Cruise’s current reputation.
Once perhaps the biggest name in Hollywood, Cruise is now known for two things: regularly attempting to kill himself in pursuit of ridiculous stunts, and overenthusiastically smiling while endorsing Scientology.
An actor who once was a slightly quirky action hero has become something of an embarrassment within the industry, and attaching Cruise to a project isn’t as big a draw as it used to be.
It’s hard to ignore “The Mummy,” one of the worst movies of 2017, which put Cruise front and center, and which bent around his personal preferences for the project (hence a series of death-defying stunts that aren’t really worth the effort).
If this movie is any indication of what we can expect from a movie that gives Cruise a little too much creative freedom, then it’s worth assuming the worst of “Top Gun: Maverick.”
This isn’t to say that the film will definitely be terrible — sometimes, movies can end up breaking stigma no matter how much of a bad idea they might be on paper.
That said, it’s probably for the best if you assume the worst with the new “Top Gun.” This film is displaying every noteworthy warning sign imaginable, and as such, it’s not really worth getting invested in the project, or banking too heavily on the notion that it’ll be in any way watchable.