Warning: This article contains mild spoilers for Top Gun: Maverick
The long-awaited sequel to Top Gun has finally arrived, and the film has been a massive hit amongst fans in critics alike. Along with its high praise, Top Gun: Maverick is set to be Tom Cruise’s best box opening in his entire career and potentially break the Memorial Day record at the box office.
Despite the generally positive consensus of Top Gun: Maverick, some moviegoers have taken to Reddit to voice opinions on the film that are pretty controversial, considering the amount of love the general public has for the film thus far.
Updated on December 28th, 2022, by David Caballero: Top Gun: Maverick will most likely end the year as the highest-grossing movie of 2022, a record not many expected from the long-delayed sequel. Still, Top Gun: Maverick defied its detractors and became a cultural phenomenon with critics and audiences. Not every fan is aboard the Maverick hype train, though, and many Redditors still believe the film is not all that, expressing their unpopular opinions for the world to read.
Self-Indulgent Action Scenes
If there’s one thing that critics and audiences have applauded from Top Gun: Maverick, it’s the immersive and realistic action sequences. Described as daring and groundbreaking, these scenes elevated the film and separated it from other recent and conventionally-CGI-ed offerings.
However, Redditor Sailorman2300 disagrees, calling the scenes “indulgent and boring” and claiming Maverick is “empty of meaning or feeling.” These are strong words, especially considering the extended and daring action setpieces considerably elevate the film’s stakes by making it seem more realistic. No wonder it’s an unpopular opinion.
The Script Is Terrible
Action movies aren’t necessarily famous for their mind-bending premises unless Christopher Nolan directs them. Indeed, Top Gun: Maverick is a fun and exciting time at the cinema, but its plot is fairly conventional for an action flick. That is not to say it’s boring or disappointing, at least not for general audiences.
Still, some audience members found it too safe and uninspiring, like Reddit user Between3N20Karakters. They think the film is “bland and forgettable,” and fellow user NKredBurn agrees, criticizing the script as “what (they) imagine a five-year-old writing if he was tasked with writing a movie about fighter pilots.” No one expected an Oscar-winning screenplay from Maverick, but the story is far from mediocre. On the contrary, it’s a serviceable and entertaining time at the movies, which is everything it should’ve been.
Nonsensical Code Names
Top Gun: Maverick is full of likable characters, many of whom have code names. Being in the Navy in an environment of intense teasing and competition, it makes sense that they would refer to each other by nicknames that often carried a mocking tone.
Some users find them ridiculous and frustrating, though. Victorious_Wolf, for example, says they find the names “annoying,” especially because there is no clarity about their origin. According to them, the film not explaining the names’ reasoning is “a massive missed opportunity for character development.” The call names are more a fun reference than a vital point, so the user’s critique comes across as slightly nitpicky, especially because knowing the origin of a single term would do little for character development.
An ensemble of talented actors playing entertaining characters makes Top Gun: Maverick a great time at the movies. Tom Cruise is the star, but the film spends considerable time with the younger generation of pilots, led by Miles Teller’s Rooster.
The acting in the film received considerable praise from critics and audiences, but there’s always someone who thinks differently. In this case, it’s a now-deleted Reddit user who called the acting “a race to the bottom of a seemingly bottomless gully of uninspired performances.” The criticism is overly harsh because while Maverick won’t receive any Oscar nominations for its ensemble, every actor does their part and elevates the material.
It’s Nothing Special
Maverick is an interesting character in Top Gun and its sequel, contributing to their success with audiences. However, there’s more to the series than just a cocky aviator flying cool planes, even if some fans consider it empty and boring.
Redditor Puzzlehead_Fish_78 calls Maverick “nothing special,” comparing unfavorably with other films that they claim have more “character” and are “more memorable.” Top Gun: Maverick might not be for everyone, but to dismiss it as a merely ok piece of entertainment is pretty harsh, especially when it looks and sounds better than 90% of modern blockbusters. The visuals are too striking to be unmemorable.
Despite being true to its action genre, Top Gun: Maverick spends ample time rekindling the romance between Maverick and Penny Benjamin. OkayAllRight felt this was somewhat out of place in the movie, stating, “I am not sure the Mav/Penny romance added much.”
In a way that imitates the original, the side plot about Maverick and his love interest serves as a way to make the super pilot more relatable, gives a chance for audiences to become more emotionally invested in Maverick, and also ends up giving him the happy ending he deserves.
As every film has its fair share of contrarians, Top Gun: Maverick can’t seem to escape its haters, such as u/nopester24 claiming that the movie is “an overrated chick-flick and a weak film in general.” While everyone has the right to view a movie however they please, this opinion is very unpopular, especially given the 99% Audience Score the film has on Rotten Tomatoes.
With so many likable characters, an emotional story, and absolutely thrilling action scenes, it’s very hard to see how this film could be considered “weak,” and it’s possible that with the massive amount of praise the film has received, some cynics may deem the film “overrated.”
The Original Is Better
Sequels are always compared to their originals, and while many consider Top Gun: Maverick to be an improvement of its predecessor, u/Riley_James08 argues that “the original is better.” Something not commonly seen in most movie franchises, Top Gun‘s original versus sequel debate is something that most fans think goes in favor of the sequel.
While there’s no denying that the original Top Gun is a classic that was huge when it first came out, its sequel was able to take what made the first film work and add a whole new layer of charisma, emotion, and stakes that gave more payoff for fans.
Fun-Anteater-6658 made perhaps the most abrasive opinion on this list, claiming that “The characters in [Top Gun: Maverick] are flat and lifeless in my opinion.” Most would take the exact opposite stance on this issue, as the character dynamics are one of the most entertaining aspects of the movie.
Considering all the moments such as the beach football scene, the bar scene where most of the characters are introduced, or the different reactions the pilots have when seeing Maverick’s ridiculous talent and piloting style, the characters in Top Gun: Maverick are anything but “lifeless.”
Although “Danger Zone” was only played once in the film, sawmason claimed, “The soundtrack is pretty awful.” Be that as it may, it seems nigh impossible for a soundtrack composed by industry heavy-hitters such as Hans Zimmer and Lady Gaga to disappoint.
Using Lady Gaga’s “Hold My Hand” combined with beautiful instrumentals of the song Top Gun: Maverick uses an emotional ballad combined with the nostalgic songs of the past. Especially considering the legacy of Hans Zimmer when it comes to movie music, the soundtrack of Top Gun: Maverick is far from awful.
No Interest In Sequel
While the original Top Gun came out over 35 years ago, in 1986, many fans became super excited at the announcement of a sequel back in 2017. However, galad2003 says, “I have no interest in this. Maybe 20 years ago”, claiming that the sequel just came too late.
Thirty-six years may be a pretty large gap between an original movie and its sequel, but this has seemingly did not affect the success of Top Gun: Maverick, as it is shaping out to be perhaps the biggest Tom Cruise movie ever. How’s that for public interest?
Although references to the original are common in most sequels, golden_aus argued that in Top Gun: Maverick, “The flashbacks were corny af.” The film didn’t feature too many flashback scenes; those included blended the perfect amount of nostalgia, timing, and emotion.
Whether they showed the heartbreaking moments of Goose’s death or reminders of the relationship dynamics between characters, the flashbacks in Top Gun: Maverick allows the audience to experience the emotions of the previous film in a new light.
Iceman’s Funeral Was Unnecessary
One of the most shocking moments in Top Gun: Maverick came from the death of now-admiral Tom ‘Iceman’ Kazansky. Moerkemann deemed the funeral scene for Iceman to be “weird and unnecessary,” but seeing Maverick punch the Naval Wings into Iceman’s coffin marked a change in stakes and emotional tone for the movie.
In also allowing fans to have a proper send-off with one of the franchise’s most beloved and iconic characters, the funeral scene for Iceman stands out as one of the most emotional and tear-jerking moments in the film.
Too Much Nostalgia
In a sequel that finds many ways to pay homage to its original, some viewers, such as Redditor Georgy_K_Zhukov, found that the nostalgia card was played a little too much, claiming: “The nostalgia needed to be dialed back about 10%.”
While the opening introduction is almost an exact copy of the original Top Gun and features many similar quotes and themes, the sentimentality never seems out of place and gives fans (especially those who saw the original in theaters) another fun way to enjoy Top Gun: Maverick.
Having A No-Name Country As The Villain Sets The Movie Back
Despite the film going above and beyond in describing the near-impossible challenge it would be to bomb a developed country’s nuclear enhancement facility, the audience (and characters themselves, for that matter) are never informed of what the enemy country actually is.
This set the movie back for some people, such as User nofork77, who argues “the movie fumbles with some awful motivation,” but most of the audience didn’t care who the country was as it didn’t subtract anything from the stakes of the mission.