Family, friends, oneself, country, patriotism: Tom Cruise or love

'Top Gun: Maverick' is certainly a conservative film in terms of what is most worth keeping.

Tom Cruise is the las romantic. At the Cannes Film Festival he recounted how he objected to the latest installments of Mission Impossible and Top Gun being released on TV platforms before theatrical release:

"I make movies for the big screen. I make movies for the audience. Could my movies have been released on television before the theatrical release because of the pandemic?  That didn't happen and it's not going to happen. Never".

If it were up to him, they would surely be projected on the old 35mm celluloid technology instead of today's almost ubiquitous digital system. Cruise is undoubtedly a conservative, which does not mean clinging to the past like a burning nail, but fighting so that what is good in the traditions does not go down the drain of an automatic, banal and empty progressivism. The same can be said of Top Gun: Maverick, a vindication of the human factor of flesh-and-blood pilots in the age of killer robots and merciless drones.

Top Gun: Maverick is a film that transcends the typical action movies in which the only thing that stands out is the pyrotechnics of the fireworks, otherwise brilliant in the sequel to Tony Scott's Top Gun, because what stands out in it is the emotional factor of authentic human relationships. It is a film that shows all the types of love that the ancient Greeks thematized. First of all, because of the relationship that Captain Pete Maverick Mitchell (Tom Cruise) establishes with students who become disciples, attracted by his sincerity and exemplarity. The Greeks called this brotherly love storgé (loyal, protective, committed) that grows over time, overcoming difficulties.

Another type of love extolled by the Greeks is philia, between friends who seek the common good and is expressed in respect and companionship. In this sense, the embrace between Captain Mitchell and Admiral and Pacific Fleet Commander Tom Iceman Kazansky (Val Kilmer) is breathtaking. For Maverick and Iceman had been the most rabid adversaries in the air as pilots, but they had always respected and admired each other.  Behind that cinematic embrace, between a humble but successful captain and a superb but dying admiral, there is another parallel story between actors Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer, but that would give rise to another article (the documentary about Val Kilmer, Val, deserves to be seen before watching Top Gun. Cruise drew a red line to shoot: that Kilmer was also the film recreating his old character).

Eros, passionate and impulsive love, which can become deep and lasting by channeling its intensity, cannot be missing. The reunion between Captain Mitchell and an old flame that was hinted at in the original film, Penny Benjamin (Jennifer Anniston), is resolved cinematographically with a boat trip where, far from the supersonic planes, she is the one at the helm, a metaphor of how the champion of motorcycles and fighters has found a person for a relationship as an equal partner, not only from the physical attraction but also as a life project.

Last but not least, Top Gun: Maverick is also a treatise on the kind of love that the Greeks called agape, the purest and most unconditional love, in which duty takes precedence over pleasure, spiritual and deep love focused on the well-being of the loved one. It is the love of God of the mystics such as St. John of the Cross or the love of country as explained by Pericles:

"Fighting for such a city and resisting to lose it is that these men notably gave up their lives; just is it, therefore, that each of us who have outlived them should yearn also to fight for it."

Pels, friends, partner, homeland. Everything that leads us to be more ourselves by reaffirming our personal identity. Because Top Gun: Maverick is also a hymn to individualism, moral autonomy and political courage, which leads our protagonist to rebel even against authority when it is moved by spurious interests and twisted ideologies.

In these times when the dark clouds of nihilistic relativism and contempt for transcendent values are descending on Western civilization, Top Gun: Maverick vindicates the healthy and jovial love for friends, family, colleagues, partners and, of course, the homeland. It is, without a doubt, a conservative film about what is most worth maintaining and fostering in life: deep relationships with those who surround us with love and help us become who we truly are.