Follow TV Tropes


Film / Top Gun: Maverick

Go To
"Talk to me, Goose..."

Admiral Chester "Hammer" Cain: The end is inevitable, Maverick. Your kind is headed for extinction.
Maverick: Maybe so, sir. But not today.

Top Gun: Maverick is a 2022 American military drama/action film and the sequel to 1986's Top Gun. It is directed by Joseph Kosinski (TRON: Legacy, Oblivion) with a screenplay written by Peter Craig, Justin Marks, Christopher McQuarrie and Eric Warren Singer.

Tom Cruise reprises his role as US Navy aviator Peter "Maverick" Mitchell, who, after a 30-year career, hasn't been able (or did not want) to Rank Up beyond Captain. An unauthorized hypersonic jet test flight gets him in trouble... which gets him sent back to the formernote  home of TOPGUN at Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego, this time as a flight instructor. There, he finds himself having to train a whole team of elite pilots for a perilous mission to destroy an unsanctioned uranium enrichment plant in a hostile nation. The team happens to include Bradley Bradshaw (Miles Teller), the son of Maverick's late friend Nick "Goose" Bradshaw, which causes a certain amount of personal issues.

The cast also includes Val Kilmer briefly reprising his role as Thomas "Iceman" Kazansky, Jennifer Connelly, Glen Powell, Monica Barbaro, Lewis Pullman, Danny Ramirez, Jon Hamm, Charles Parnell and Ed Harris. Following multiple delays (some of them due to the COVID-19 Pandemic), the film was released on May 27, 2022.

Previews: Trailer 1, Trailer 2, Super Bowl TV spot.

    open/close all folders 

Top Gun: Maverick contains examples of:

  • Ace Pilot:
    • In addition to Maverick himself, every TOPGUN graduate in the film qualifies as this.
    • Special shout-out goes to Hangman, the only American pilot who has shot down anything during the 21st century.note  This undoubtedly informs his Glory Hound and It's All About Me attitude.
    • In the more traditional sense, Maverick himself is qualified as an official flying ace — a pilot with five confirmed kills — by the end of the film, having gained two confirmed kills in addition to the three planes he shot down in the first film. This makes him the first ace pilot of the 21st century, and the only American pilot, fictional or otherwise, to ever make ace flying an F-14 Tomcat.
    • Honorable mention goes to the second Su-57 pilot, who gives Maverick the hardest fight of his life in the climax. In addition to flying a far superior plane than Maverick's F-14A, the enemy pilot is skilled enough to perform a Blinchik supermaneuver effortlessly to dodge Maverick's missile, then follows Maverick into the canyon below once he finds out that his missile guidance system doesn't work due to the nature of the canyon so he can finish Maverick off with guns. Even when Maverick manages to get behind him, the pilot really makes him work to take him down, and he actually manages to bail out once Maverick finally shoots him down. His efforts drained all of Maverick's ammunition and left him and Rooster sitting ducks for the third Su-57 pilot, who would've definitely killed both of them were it not for Hangman's Big Damn Heroes moment at the last second.
  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: The film has several quieter moments between characters which contrast with the heart-pounding action sequences. The most notable include:
    • When Maverick comes to visit Iceman to discuss what to do with Rooster. Maverick confides his worries to his longtime friend as they meet for what they both know will be the last time.
    • The night before departing for the final mission, Maverick comes to find Penny at The Hard Deck. She takes one look at him in his dress uniform and instantly knows something serious is happening, and after he tells her, the two share a poignant and wordless goodbye on the beach.
  • Actionized Sequel: Thanks to advances in camera and VFX technologies, plus cooperation from the US Navy, this film depicts more intense and detailed dogfights than its predecessor.
  • Activation Sequence: In the aftermath of the airstrike, after locating an F-14A on the enemy airbase, Maverick walks Rooster through the procedure to power it up, culminating in the roar of the old bird's TF30 engines coming to life.
  • Actor Allusion:
  • Aerial Canyon Chase: The final battle involves one of these between Maverick's F-14A and an Su-57 Felon.
  • Aerith and Bob: A literal case, as among the typical callsigns (Phoenix, Hangman, Payback, Fanboy) there is a Bob. The other pilots are incredulous that Bob really is his callsign. This wouldn't be a modern Tom Cruise film if there wasn't someone or something named "Bob."
  • Airstrike Impossible: The mission to take down an enemy uranium enrichment plant in an unidentified rogue country is definitely one of these, and heavily inspired by the Israeli Air Force's daring 1981 Operation Opera/Babylon. It is nigh impossible (pun intended) to the point that even TOPGUN graduates — already among the most exceptional pilots in the world who are selected to do this mission specifically because of it — have very low chances to survive. Hangman notes that even Maverick himself (or any pilot in history, for that matter) has never been through this kind of mission before.
    • The mission requires two teams of pilots making a high-speed flight at a very low altitude to get through a treacherous canyon in just two minutes (on the mission itself, there are even bridges in the canyon, forcing the pilots to fly sideways to fit through the gaps between the pillars), then make a sudden pull up to just barely avoid a mountain but not too high to trigger the SAM sites that cover the entire airspace above the canyon, meaning instant death to anyone who flies too high. They cannot fly too slow, either, as it will allow the enemy's fifth-generation fighters that far outclass their F/A-18s to catch up to them and shoot them down like fish in a barrel.
    • The first team pilots must take out the tiny bunker above the factory to allow the second team pilots to take out the factory itself with two consecutive precision bombings (something that Maverick calls "two consecutive miracles."). Since this is a dive-bombing strike, there is also only a window of opportunity measured in seconds in which to get a lock and fire before either plowing into the ground or crashing into the mountain on the other side of the crater on the return climb.
    • Then, they have to pull an extremely steep climb to clear the even higher mountain in their way, which subjects the pilots to over 9.5 G-force acceleration, beyond the maximum recommended limit for the F/A-18, that could black them out mid-flight and/or damage the fighter.
    • Finally, if they somehow manage to survive all of that, there is no way to pull out of that climb after clearing the mountain without flying high enough to enter the detection envelope of the enemy's anti-aircraft radar, at which point they'll be immediately bombarded by anti-air missiles fired from SAM sites in all directions and pursued by any airborne enemy fifth-gen fighters on their way back home. Needless to say, it is a mission in which casualties are almost a certainty, and Maverick's main goal is to train his students hard enough to overcome these insane odds and get everyone back alive.
    • And then we have the two consecutive Spanners in the Works: first the other side moves to activate the facility early, cutting the training time by a week, and then Payback's laser target designator malfunctions, forcing Rooster to make an unguided dive-bombing attack.
  • Always Someone Better: Phoenix — one of the TOPGUN graduates gathered at a party at Penny's bar — remarks that everyone who graduated from TOPGUN is already among the best pilots in the US Navy and voices her skepticism about just how good their new flight instructor would be. Cue the scene cutting to none other than Maverick himself.
    Phoenix: Everyone here is the best there is. Who the hell are they gonna get to teach us?
  • And Mission Control Rejoiced: Twice in the film.
    • The first one occurs when Maverick manages to reach Mach 10 in the Darkstar, which is a more traditional version as it is literally set in mission control.
    • The second one occurs when Rooster scores the hit and destroys the facility, though Cyclone tempers this by reminding everyone in the war room that they're not done yet.
  • And Starring: The cast roll here ends "with Ed Harris and Val Kilmer".
  • Anger Born of Worry: Rooster shoots down the enemy gunship as it's about to kill Maverick, causing his own plane to go down. Luckily, he's okay, but Maverick doesn't hesitate to chew him out for doing something incredibly reckless that could've gotten him killed, especially when Maverick himself had gone down earlier to save Rooster's life.
  • Arc Words:
    • "Don't think, just do," in reference to Rooster's arc of overcoming his hesitation as a pilot in order to complete the mission.
    • "Talk to me, Goose," uttered by Maverick several times in the film, whenever he is unsure or conflicted about something. At one point, Rooster adopts a slightly altered version, "Talk to me, Dad," when he is overcoming his hesitation and adopting the idea behind the first described Arc Words.
    • "It isn't the plane, it's the pilot in the box." Throughout the film, several variations are heard on this, underscoring that they will be at a disadvantage due to their F/A-18's being inferior to the 5th-gen "Felons," and the difference will be who's piloting them.
    • When Maverick and Iceman have a heart-to-heart talk, the latter insists that Maverick "must let go" of the past trauma concerning Goose's death and the guilt felt towards Rooster.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: When Maverick confronts Iceman about not telling him Rooster was one of the pilots in the TOPGUN program he has to train, Iceman asks whether Maverick would've agreed to come if he did.
  • Armor-Piercing Response: Double.
    • When a furious Cyclone reminds Maverick that his job is to teach the pilots how to accomplish the mission, and that means teaching them how to shoot down the target, nothing more, Maverick retorts that accomplishing the mission also means coming back alive. This is enough to, as you say, cool the Admiral's jets.
    Cyclone: Okay, you have less than three weeks to teach them how to fight as a team and how to strike the target.
    Maverick: And how to come home. And how to come home, sir.
    Cyclone: [Calmed down] Every mission has its risks. These pilots accept that.
    Maverick: I don’t, sir.
    • After one failed training session, Maverick asks Rooster why he was dead. Rooster insists he was the only pilot to make it to the target, but Maverick counters that he was too slow and would be intercepted by superior enemy fighters.
    Maverick: You're not flying fast enough. You don't have a second to waste.
    Rooster: We made it to the target.
    Maverick: And superior enemy aircraft intercepted you on your way out.
    Rooster: Then it's a dogfight.
    Maverick: Against fifth-generation fighters.
    Rooster: Yeah. We'd still have a chance.
    Maverick: In an F-18.
    Rooster: It's not the plane, sir, it's the pilot.
    Maverick: Exactly!
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Hangman, who thinks he's very superior to all the other pilots. Somewhat justified in that he is the only one out of them besides Maverick to have a confirmed kill of an enemy fighter, and then scores a second one saving Maverick and Rooster. His arrogance tends to make him leave his teammates behind, resulting in Phoenix saying his callsign is because "he'll always leave you hanging."
  • Artifact Title:
    • The TOPGUN part of it. Even though the school is frequently mentioned, Maverick's trainees are all TOPGUN graduates, not current students, and (as noted below) they're established to be training at Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego, roughly 450 miles from NAS Fallon where TOPGUN has been since 1996.
    • For that matter, the Opening Scroll, taken from the original film, explains that the formal name of TOPGUN is the Navy Fighter Weapons School; it was actually renamed the Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor Program in 1996.
  • Artistic License – Military: Has its own subpage.
  • Aside Glance: As Maverick and Penny fly off in the P-51 at the end, they can been seen briefly smiling at the camera.
  • Aspect Ratio Switch: Scenes on the ground are presented in 2.39:1 while aerial sequences are presented in 1.90:1 for more vertical space, as depicted in the film's IMAX release. The film was shot on Sony Venice 6K IMAX cameras.
  • Assumed Win: When Maverick is about to announce his wingman for the mission, Hangman smiles confidently. But then Maverick chooses Rooster.
  • As You Know: In the first training exercise, Maverick instructs the other pilots via radio on the parameters of the exercise; guns only, no missiles, hard deck at 5,000 feet. He starts the instruction with "As briefed,..." because all pilots would have been briefed on the parameters on the ground, the airborne explanation is there purely for the audience.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: The uranium enrichment facility is underground and surrounded by solid, impenetrable rock, and to destroy it requires a double-tap strike against a target that is only 3 square meters in size... an exposed ventilation duct. The first strike will merely blow it open so a second bomb can enter the facility and destroy it from the inside.
  • Award-Bait Song: Lady Gaga recorded a song for the film called "Hold My Hand". Some already consider it to be a Spiritual Successor to Berlin's "Take My Breath Away".
  • "Awkward Silence" Entrance: When Maverick walks into a diner after his plane crash and everyone is looking at him like he's an alien.
  • Behind the Black: During one training flight, Rooster and Hangman are shocked to discover that Maverick was flying just below them the entire time.
  • Belly-Scraping Flight: At the end, after Maverick and Rooster have stolen an enemy F-14 from the nation the airstrike takes place in, Maverick takes off from a very short taxiway (since the runways are cratered and unusable) that's right up against a pair of large fuel tanks. He gets airborne, but his nose landing gear and tailhook are sheared off by the crosswalk between the tanks.
  • Big Damn Heroes: First Rooster shoots down the gunship about to kill Maverick. And later Hangman destroys the fighter that would destroy the F-14.
  • The Big Damn Kiss: Maverick and Penny share a tender, loving kiss against the side of her car at the end, just before they fly into the sunset.
  • Big Heroic Run: As per tradition, Tom Cruise gets to do his standard running in the scene where Maverick runs over to Rooster after he goes down.
  • Billions of Buttons: Rooster has absolutely no idea how to operate the analogue switches in the F-14A backseat. Maverick dryly admits he doesn't know much more than he does because Goose was the one who handled it.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Leaning more on the sweet than bitter. The mission to destroy the enemy uranium stockpile in the mountains succeeds with no casualties despite all odds, and Maverick and Rooster have reconciled their differences and both of them finally come to terms with Goose's death. However, Iceman has passed away from his throat cancer, and Maverick's flying days with the Navy are likely over, either due to him retiring or the numerous transgressions Maverick pulled over the years finally catching up to him without Ice to keep the Navy at bay. There's also the End of an Age implication that the days of TOPGUN itself are numbered, due to the increased interest in switching to unmanned drones slowly making manned dogfighting obsolete. But Maverick has at least been able to end his Navy career with dignity and retire happily to pursue a relationship with Penny. And regardless of whether or not TOPGUN is rendered obsolete, Maverick still manages to keep all of his students alive, who are all exceptional pilots with enough real world experience to lead a new generation of pilots even into an era of unmanned drones.
  • Bland-Name Product: The "5th gen fighters" nicknamed "Felons" the pilots go up against are obviously Su-57s. "Felon" is the Su-57's NATO reporting name.
  • Blinded by the Light: Maverick gets the better of Hangman in training by doing a steep climb towards the sun, causing Hangman to lose sight of him. With Phoenix and Bob "dead", by the time Hangman has leveled out, Maverick is on his six and he's out.
  • Book Ends:
    • The first and last mission Maverick takes part in during the film both involve him making a spectacular crash after pulling a wild stunt (pushing the experimental Darkstar aircraft past Mach 10 in the opening, and flying directly over Rooster and Taking the Bullet during the mission to destroy the uranium depot. In addition, both of them involve the Arc Words "Talk to me, Goose".
    • The first and last scene of the movie shows Mav working on a plane in his hangar home.
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: At the start of the final battle, Rooster tells Maverick, "Don't think, just do", just before Mav promptly brings down the first 5th gen fighter.
  • Break Out the Museum Piece: Maverick and Rooster escape the enemy base by stealing an F-14A, which the latter outright describes as a "museum piece".
  • Break the Haughty: Hangman, and to a lesser extent, Phoenix, are both fairly confident in their flying abilities. The former is humbled when he is the first to fail against Maverick; the latter is humbled when during a mission failure, Maverick forces her to say what she would tell Bob's family at his funeral when her actions lead to his "death" during an exercise, which she is unable to do.
  • Brooding Boy, Gentle Girl: Though Maverick hardly spends all his time brooding and Penny certainly does her fair share of lively teasing, she's also a steady, comforting presence for him in his darkest moments, including when Cyclone grounds him permanently and takes over training the rest of the pilots; she reassures him that he does have what it takes to train them well, and her faith in him gives him a second wind and helps get him back in the game.
  • Bus Crash: Carole Bradshaw died between movies, and her dying wish to Maverick was to prevent her son from following Goose and becoming a pilot. He only succeeded in delaying him.
  • Buzzing the Deck: Maverick continues to do this
    • He flies low enough after takeoff in the Darkstar to kick up enough air and dirt to dust up Admiral Cain's vehicle and knock the roof off the guard tower he is at. It doesn't break the latter's serious demeanor.
    • He splits the students flying very close to them and between them during the dogfight training session.
    • He flies the F-14 Tomcat close to the Roosevelt bridge to buzz it, scaring Warlock and Cyclone. Both manage to crack a humble smile out of respect for the renegade pilot. In this one a Bradshaw sits in the RIO position (Rooster)
  • Call-Back: Many to the original film:
    • The near-exact same opening text in white letters on a black background about the history of TOPGUN (with the same font and music),note  an opening scene with planes in an aircraft carrier as "Danger Zone" plays.
    • Maverick riding his Kawasaki Ninja and wearing his leather jacket alongside a runway as a fighter jet passes by.
    • A Bradshaw playing "Great Balls of Fire" on a piano in a bar.
    • During the first training session, Maverick essentially takes on the roles of Viper and Jester for a mock dogfight with the trainees. A cocky trainee (Hangman in lieu of Maverick here) even abandons his wingmen (Phoenix/Bob in lieu of Hollywood and his RIO) to chase after the flight instructor, only to get shot down anyway. Maverick even lampshades the strategy:
      Maverick: Leaving your wingman. There's a strategy I haven't seen in a while.
    • Once again, Maverick surprises someone by flying his aircraft over theirs while inverted, though this time it's during a training session.
    • Once again, Maverick and a Bradshaw get dressed down for engaging below the hard deck during training, though this time it's against each other instead of being on the same side.
    • The squad having a team-building activity playing a (shirtless) game on the beach.
    • A Bradshaw ending up serving as Guy in Back to Maverick in a F-14 Tomcat.
    • The first missile firing shot of Maverick and Rooster's F-14 Tomcat mirrors the camera shot and angles of an F-14's missile shot in the original film.
    • Maverick stating during his F-14 dogfight "I'm out of missiles, switching to guns", with an identical camera shot of him thumbing the selector dial as in the original.
    • A Bradshaw's ejection system malfunctions — in this case Rooster's fails to trigger, rather than outright killing him like his father.
    • A Bradshaw telling Maverick to "do some of that pilot shit", followed by a maneuver that lets Maverick's aircraft get behind his opponent.
  • Calvinball: Maverick invents a game called dogfight football, which involves two balls so that the teams have to play offense and defense at the same time. The actors have stated in interviews that they were confused by the rules. A Redditor attempted to create a full list of rules.
    • Cyclone asks who's winning. Maverick notes that everyone stopped trying to keep track a while ago.
  • Casting Gag:
  • Central Theme:
    • Forgiveness, both of yourself and of others. Despite achieving an illustrious career since the events of the first film, Maverick is still haunted and plagued with guilt over Goose's death during their time in the TOPGUN program. Goose's son Rooster in turn resents Maverick over blocking his application to the U.S. Naval Academy, which Maverick had done to honor the Dying Wish of Goose's widow Carole in order to keep her son safe. The major narrative arc of the film is them learning to come to terms with Goose's death, allowing both of them to finally reconcile and heal.
    • Belonging. Maverick is content with having been a test pilot for the past thirty-five years because it's where he feels he belongs, and is so certain of that sense of belonging that he never seems to realize that he will no longer be a part of the Navy one day. Much of his character arc is him being forced to come to terms with the fact that he is becoming more and more of a relic with each passing day and that there will come a time when he can't be where he belongs anymore.
  • Character Aged with the Actor: Maverick and Iceman are the only returning characters with the same actors in Cruise and Kilmer respectively, and have appropriately aged as much as the real-time gap between both movie releases.
  • Character Title: Maverick's name is in the title this time.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Earlier in the movie when the base commanders and Maverick are observing the recon satellite images of the enemy airbase, they noted that the enemy has some antique F-14 Tomcats in their arsenal. One F-14 survived the Tomahawk bombing of the base when the attack went underway, which is the one that Maverick and Rooster used to fly out of the enemy territory after they both got shot down.
    • At one point, Maverick pulls a daring maneuver to get behind Rooster in a mock-air battle, a move that gets him reamed by the base commander for recklessness. Maverick later pulls the same maneuver, this time to shield Rooster's Hornet from an incoming SAM.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: During the actual mission, Hangman is on reserve and desperately wants to get in the air to help deal with the enemy fighters when they begin to engage the protagonists. Guess who flies in to do a Big Damn Heroes moment to save Maverick and Rooster in the F-14 at the last possible moment.
  • City with No Name:
    • The US Navy's secret desert airbase hosting the Darkstar program is not named, but is most likely China Lake and not the Air Force base at Groom Lake, which is more popularly known as "Area 51." It was later confirmed that China Lake was the filming site for the Darkstar program scenes.
    • The country building an unauthorized uranium refinery is never named. It appears to be a vaguely Eastern European/Russian stand-in, with a motive closer to one Iran would have. The F-14s in their inventory further alludes to Iran, as they also have F-14s that were purchased under the Shah's regime and were appropriated by the new regime when he was deposed. (That said, the presence of Su-57s complicates things: at the time the movie hit theatres, there were only six in active service, and all of them were in the Russian Air Force.) The country being Russia is also enforced by a Freeze-Frame Bonus during the briefing prior to the mission's start that showed coordinates that is directly within Russia.
  • Coming in Hot: Since Maverick and Rooster don't have a working tailhook or a nose wheel for their shot-up Tomcat, they have to crash-land on the carrier. Not even ejecting is an option.
  • Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like: Maverick is furious to discover that Rooster, whom he sacrificed himself for, came back to rescue him.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Penny Benjamin, who appears in this film as Maverick's new love interest, was established in the original film as being the "admiral's daughter" mentioned by Stinger (James Tolkan) in one of the early scenes, as further elaborated on via the Noodle Incident Mav and Goose discuss at a bar.
    • The son of Goose also picked a bird callsign, Rooster.
    • During the mission, Maverick gets shot down protecting Rooster, similar to how his father Duke Mitchell was shot down and killed protecting his allies during the Vietnam War as revealed by Viper in the first film. Fortunately, Maverick fares a lot better than his old man and survives the experience.
  • Cool Boat:
    • The opening scene features flight deck operations on the USS Abraham Lincoln. In the final mission, Dagger flight group is launched from the USS Theodore Roosevelt, while a salvo of Tomahawk cruise missiles is launched from the cruiser USS Leyte Gulf. In the CIC, the USS Seawolf is also shown to be one of the escorts, although not seen on screen.
    • Penny's yacht could also qualify: when Penny hoists the gennaker, she compares it to an afterburner and tells Maverick "Now you're in the Navy."
      Penny: Are you ready?
      Maverick: For what?
      Penny: [grinning] The afterburner.
  • Cool Car: Penny has one of the quintessential ones of these; a silver Porsche 911.
  • Cool Helmet: Like the movie before it, every TOPGUN graduate has their own personal stylized helmet with their name on it.
  • Cool Plane: Well, it would hardly be Top Gun without them.
    • The F/A-18E/F Super Hornet is the main protagonist plane flown by Maverick and the other pilots, with AEW&C support from an E-2 Hawkeye during the final mission. The F-35C Lightning cameos in the title credit sequence aboard the aircraft carrier, and the legendary F-14A Tomcat from the original returns in the climax, and while not explicitly stated, gives the heroes a better shot in an Old-School Dogfight, as the F-14 is both faster (Mach 2.34 vs the Super Bug's Mach 1.6) and more maneuverable (thanks to the variable-geometry wings) than the Super Hornet. Maverick even flies a vintage World War 2-era two-seater P-51 Mustang at the endnote , taking his love Penny for a joyride into the sunset.
    • The DarkStar is a hypersonic aircraft designed to reach a cruise speed of Mach 10, and heavily borrows its design and purpose from Lockheed Martin's planned SR-72 UAV (a successor to the SR-71 Blackbird), despite being a purely fictional aircraft. Too bad it's quickly destroyed when Maverick goes over the Mach 10 objective and the plane suffers catastrophic damage from the stress.
    • The chief antagonist plane is the (unnamed) Sukhoi Su-57. A Mi-35 HIND helicopter gunship also briefly menaces Maverick before Rooster shoots it down.
  • Cool Teacher: The first thing Maverick does in his first class is throwing the F-18 technical manual into the garbage, which lands very well with the pilots and not so well with the brass. However, there's a practical component as well; Maverick undoubtedly realizes that teaching Top Gun graduates (already the best-of-the-best at flying) from a manual that they likely know by heart already is a waste of time that they don't have. Essentially, Maverick is saying that what the pilots have to learn can't be taught from a book.
  • Crazy Enough to Work: After Maverick and Rooster are shot down and trapped behind enemy lines, Maverick's solution of getting them out of there is to just waltz inside the bombed enemy airbase, hoping that the soldiers wouldn't notice or mistake them as their own pilots, then steal the sole remaining undamaged F-14 from an unguarded hangar and take it off from the taxiway because the runway is destroyed. They then banked on the enemy Su-57s to also mistake them for an allied plane initially so Maverick can take them by complete surprise to be able to defeat them in a far outdated plane.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Maverick is subject to this, although it's clearly by choice. He's probably the best fighter pilot in the world, but being a fighter pilot is all he wants to be. It does impact his naval career. He's a Navy Captain, equivalent to an Air Force or Army full colonel. He's not serving in a position befitting his rank. A Navy Captain would be commanding ships, submarines, Air Wings, or entire bases, not serving as an instructor pilot. Maverick is, however, perfectly happy with that, knowing he doesn't have the administrative, personnel, or political skills to really succeed or be satisfied in any of those positions. It's made clear several times that his being close friends with Iceman, who has risen to be one of the top admirals in the Navy, has allowed him to stay in the cockpit. Iceman probably has been looking out for Maverick ever since they met, knowing Mitchell is ill-suited for anything other than being a fighter pilot (at which he is the best in the world).
  • Crossover: Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown released the "Top Gun: Maverick Airplane Set" DLC on May 26th, 2022, the theatrical release day of the movie.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Even outnumbered two-to-one by the apparent best pilots in the Navy, Maverick absolutely demolishes his trainees in mock dogfights every time.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique:
    • The escape plan involves a perilously steep ascent up the mountains that forces the engine into 9.5 G-force acceleration, risking both the plane's structural stability and the pilot's health due to the intense pressure. One of the pilots who tries it suffers a gravitational loss of consciousness and nearly crashes.
    • Early on when training the pilots, Maverick uses the Cobra maneuver to quickly switch positions with a plane that's tailing him. This leads to a reprimand from Cyclone, as the maneuver is considered too dangerous to both the pilots and planes.
  • Darkest Hour:
    • After multiple failed attempts at practicing the canyon run, frustration and low morale is creeping in. This culminates in an incident where one pilot almost crashes due to G-LOC during the high-G pullout; Maverick helps him recover in the nick of time to avoid a crash by locking onto his plane in the hopes that the lock-on alarm will rouse the pilot, only for another member of the team to suffer a bird-strike and lose their plane, though both pilots did manage to eject. This is immediately followed by Iceman succumbing to his cancer and Maverick being grounded due to the aforementioned training incident. By this point, the team in general and Rooster and Maverick in particular are at their lowest ebb.
    • In the final battle, Maverick is confronted by a third Felon, but is unable to defeat it due to being out of bullets and missiles, and Rooster is unable to eject. Just as it moves in for the kill, Hangman saves the day and shoots down the enemy.
  • David Versus Goliath: The Navy already considered the F-18 Super Hornet underequipped to face the fifth-generation fighter jets of the enemy. Well, imagine the dilapidated F-14A Maverick and Rooster end up having to steal. And they manage to defeat two aircraft!
  • Deadly Dodging: Maverick is able to dodge one enemy plane missile by making the missile hit the position of the second plane of the formation, which he had previously damaged.
  • Defeat Means Respect: Hangman is very dismissive of Maverick at first, referring to him as an "old-timer" and a "fossil". Then Maverick ices him on the first day in air-to-air combat training. Whilst he doesn't lose his cocksure attitude (Mav did shoot literally everyone else down too, after all), he is rather more respectful towards Mav after he chops Hangman down to size.
  • Dodge by Braking: During one of the training sessions, Mav is chased by a trainee but then pulls a stopping maneuver that brings him right behind the other jet.
  • Don't Celebrate Just Yet: While the pilots are drilling for the strike mission, Coyote blacks out and nearly crashes, pulling up at the last second. Everyone's relieved, until a bird destroys Phoenix's engine.
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: The first thing Phoenix does on seeing Rooster is smack him in the groin with the end of a pool cue, for some unexplained reason.
  • Drama-Preserving Handicap: The final battle involves Mav and Rooster in a "museum piece" F-14A Tomcat that is both poorly maintained and not fully equipped against two modern 5th generation fighters that are both, meaning Mav has to make up the vast technological gap in pure skill. Thanks to a surprise attack, Mav manages to shoot down one of the fighters, and after a grueling and very close battle succeeds in taking down the second. Then a third pops up and has him dead-to-rights, only for Hangman to save the day.
  • Dramatic Ammo Depletion: Mav's F14 running out of ammo during the final dogfight means defeat is only a matter of time.
  • The Dreaded: The enemy "5th generation fighters" (Su-57 Felons) are constantly spoken of in fear due to their stealth characteristics and superior maneuverability over the aging F/A-18E/F Super Hornets and the "museum piece" F-14A Tomcat, meaning they cannot realistically engage them in a straight-up fight even with the advantage of numbers.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: After Maverick and Rooster steal the F-14 from the enemy base, a few Felons spot them and assume that Mav and Rooster are on their side. They decide to play along for a while to avoid suspicion, but the Felons quickly catch on due to Maverick and Rooster not recognizing the other pilot's hand signals (which resemble a military-style challenge/response authentication). However, it was enough for Maverick to do a complete sneak attack on the first Felon, leveling the playing field.
  • Due to the Dead:
    • Iceman dies of cancer and gets a Meaningful Funeral with military honors and planes flying over. It occurs not long after he gets one last heartfelt scene with Maverick, who attends the funeral and hammers his Aviator wings onto the casket lid.
    • Maverick's private hangar has a Shrine to the Fallen of photos and memorabilia from his youth, many which include his former copilot Goose. Both he and Rooster use it to pay their respects to Goose by the end of the film.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: This entire film confronts Maverick to find his before it's too late, as the impending end of his career as a naval aviator is a major point throughout. Does he succeed? His last great mission is successful, with all the pilots he trained to master his crazy-instinctive methods coming out alive. He and Rooster both finally came full circle with Goose's death, as well as gained Hangman's humbled respect, the three becoming Fire-Forged Friends. He has also finally found happiness with his longtime love Penny Benjamin, flying into the sunset on a WWII era warbird — a P-51D Mustang and to top it all off he gets to retire as the first official flying ace of the 21st century, having taken down a pair of top of the line fifth Gen fighters with an old, dilapidated, and severely underequipped F-14 he stole just minutes prior.
  • Eject... Eject... Eject...: Befitting a film about fighter pilots, several of them are forced to eject during the film.
    • Maverick ejects from the Darkstar after he pushes the hypersonic jet to its literal breaking point past Mach 10.
    • Phoenix and Bob eject after their plane suffers a bird strike and is critically damaged.
    • Maverick and Rooster eject from their F/A-18s after being shot down by enemy SAMs in the finale.
    • During the final battle, both Su-57 pilots can be seen ejecting after they were shot down by Maverick. The first in a Freeze-Frame Bonus right before it was hit by a missile, and the second after its engines get shot to pieces by Maverick's cannon fire.
    • Subverted when, faced with an enemy Su-57 about to lock onto them, Maverick tells Rooster to eject from the enemy F-14 they hijacked. It turns out that the F-14 doesn't have functioning ejection seats (and presumably for this very reason, was abandoned in a hangar despite being airworthy and armed. That or the pilots failing to arm them since they didn't do a proper pre-flight inspection or checklist.).
  • End of an Age: Cain says this to Maverick before Maverick is sent to train the pilots, saying that his kind is headed for extinction. True to Cain's word, it seems to be heading this way, as Iceman has passed away from throat cancer and Maverick's career is all but over. Cain also means this about pilots in general, as the future of air combat seems to be focused on unmanned drones.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: Rooster's resentment towards Maverick is a case of this. When Rooster applied to the Naval Academy, Maverick, acting under Carole's secret Dying Wish, pulled some strings to block his application and deny him admission. Feeling hurt and betrayed that his father's best friend destroyed his dream, and with Maverick sworn by a deathbed oath to Rooster's mother not to tell him why, Rooster cut off all contact with him.
  • Every Bullet is a Tracer: Whenever a fighter shoots during the climactic dogfights, the bullets are all visible tracers.
  • Exact Words:
    • After being told that Admiral Cain is on his way to personally shut down the Darkstar program, Maverick points out that he hasn't arrived yet.
    • When Maverick and Rooster are going in for a hot landing on the USS Theodore Roosevelt, one of the engines of their stolen F-14 flames out. Rooster tells Maverick to not say they lost an engine. Maverick agrees to not say it.
  • Excuse Plot: The plot hinges on a flimsy premise of destroying a uranium enrichment facility in an unspecified country with no further context.
  • Explosive Overclocking: Maverick's flight in the Darkstar requires pushing the experimental aircraft to its heretofore untested limits in order to reach Mach 10, so that up to that point the warning notifications in mission control and the cockpit are concerning but not exactly unexpected. Then he makes the mistake of trying to push it even further, with the result that he gets to Mach 10.3 before everything starts breaking and the plane goes down in flames.
    • The high-G climbs in Maverick's attack plan require the planes to exceed their mechanical stress limits potentially making them unsafe to fly afterwards by simply practicing these maneuvers.
  • Faceless Goons: More so than in the previous film, the enemy fighter pilots' faces are all completely obscured.
  • Facial Dialogue: Thanks to their long and intimate history, Maverick and Penny can read each other like a book and speak whole volumes without saying a word. Many of the most profound moments of their relationship take place with them barely speaking at all, most notably their poignant goodbye on the beach before the final mission.
  • Failed a Spot Check:
    • In the bar scene, Hangman and Coyote fail to see Bob sitting a few feet away from them until Phoenix points him out.
    Hangman: Man's a stealth pilot.
    Coyote: Literally.
    • While not in uniform at the bar, the entire team fails to notice Maverick's name and rank visible on his jacket while they mistreat him.
    • During one training hop, Maverick shows Rooster and Hangman how vigilant they have to be in the air by revealing he'd been flying just beneath them the entire time they were conversing over the radio.
    • While Maverick and Rooster masqueraded as friendly pilots to steal the Rogue Nation's F-14 Tomcat, not a single enemy soldier on the ground seem to notice the F-14 perform an unauthorized takeoff-run on the taxiway. And if they did, it was possibly overlooked as friendly pilots taking off to retaliate.
    • The third Felon pilot likely did this as well: as he is preparing to fire a missile on the F-14 carrying Maverick and Rooster, he likely did not notice the alarms indicating that his plane had been locked on by Hangman and was about to be shot down.
  • Failure Montage: Once the dogfight trainings start, Maverick ruthlessly puts all the TOPGUN mission candidates on dead aim one after the other and they all end up going through his Physical Fitness Punishment in rapid succession.
  • Fake Static: When Admiral Cain orders Maverick to abort his test flight, he pretends to be give a garbled message back. Hondo rolls with it and claims he's at the speed where they've experienced communication problems.
    Hondo: Uhh, Mav, Admiral Cain is asking—
    Cain: Ordering.
    Hondo:Ordering that we bring her down.
    Maverick: (radio transmission) —op... oop... alpha... three-oh—
    Maverick: (camera angle in cockpit, showing what he's actually saying) ...assing... ach... ive point four... ...inety within six...
    (Back in the control center, various crew members stifle grins)
  • Falling into the Cockpit: Downplayed. Rooster has to take the back seat of the ancient F-14 Tomcat, much like his father did. The problem is, Rooster doesn't know how to do the Guy in Back job: he's always shown in the pilot seat, and he's flying an F/A-18E which doesn't have a back seat. Fortunately, all he really needs to do is the Hollywood version of the job: look out the back and tell the pilot where the nearest bandit is.
  • Fanservice: It wouldn't be a Top Gun film without a scene dedicated to pilots displaying their fine bodies as they have a fun sports day at a beach. Both male and female TOPGUN graduates (and Maverick) all provide lovely eye candy for viewers to enjoy. It also serves a purpose in-story as well: Maverick lets his students have a day off and enjoy a nice moment bonding with each other in a friendly beach football game so they can work better as a team in the skies.
  • Fatal Flaw: Both Rooster and Hangman struggle with these, both of which are resolved by the end of the film as their characters develop:
    • Rooster: Has the tendency to overthink things and hesitate at critical moments, often leading him to miss opportunities. Maverick's trust in him gives him the confidence he needs, and he ends up taking the shot that destroys the enemy facility despite sub-optimal conditions.
    • Hangman: Phoenix informs us that Hangman got his callsign from his tendency to hang his wingman out to dry, abandoning them to go for the kill. He is humbled by not being selected to fly the mission, but ends up flying in support and saving Rooster and Maverick from an enemy fighter.
  • First Girl Wins: Penny Benjamin, the "admiral's daughter" Maverick is referenced as having had a fling with in the original film before his romance with Charlie, is actually the one he ends up coming back to and settling down with for good.
    Maverick: This is the last time I go out your window.
    Penny: [grinning] We'll see.
    Maverick: No. No, I mean it. [deadly serious] I'm never gonna leave you again.
  • Flashback: A couple short ones at the beginning in the film catch watchers up with the death of Maverick's best friend and Guy in Back Goose. Goose (Anthony Edwards), his wife Carole Bradshaw (Meg Ryan) and the first film's Love Interest Charlie (Kelly McGillis) appear, uncredited, via archive footage.
  • Flat Character: Of the pilot trainees, Omaha, Harvard, Halo, and Fritz have pretty much no dialogue, quirks, or plot relevance.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Penny more-or-less tells Maverick that he's eventually going to come back home with his "[plane's] tail on fire". She's proved correct: he lands on the aircraft carrier after the final mission with the aircraft practically trailing fumes.
    • The caper in the climax is foreshadowed during the first act. Adm. Simpson shows Maverick recon footage of the airbase in question, F-14s are visible in front of the hangars.
      Cyclone: Seems like we are not the only ones holding on to old relics.
    • During the first training session, Rooster draws Maverick's fire to save his wingman, and ends up getting "shot down" himself, showing that he's prepared to put his team's safety ahead of his own. After Maverick gets shot down for real during the bombing raid, Rooster goes back and saves him from an enemy gunship, only to get shot down himself, stranding them both behind enemy lines
      Maverick: Rooster just saved your lives, but it's gonna cost him.
    • Before the training session during which an F-18 is lost to a bird strike, a flock of birds is seen flying into the air.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • The 5th Generation Fighters, despite being nigh-identical to the real-life Su-57 "Felon" built by Russia, are only ever referred to as such. Yet during the briefing scene, astute viewers can make out the "Su-57" written on the screen showing the fighter.
    • During Cyclone's and Warlock's final briefing of the mission on the carrier prior to mission launch, the rogue nation's uranium enrichment site target coordinates can be seen (74.8684761, 97.3108644) that shows a location directly within Russia.
    • During the climactic dogfight, when Maverick utilizes the first Su-57 he shoots down as a shield against the second Su-57's missile, right before the missile hit the viewers could briefly see the first Su-57's pilot ejecting from his doomed aircraft.
  • Gender Is No Object: The character of Phoenix was initially written as a woman in a masculine environment who overcompensates for it. This approach was changed during production after they met real female pilots and found that they don't do that, they are just women who happen to fly planes, so no point is made out of gender issues in the film.
  • Generation Xerox: Rooster is as close to being his dad Goose as imaginable. His introductory appearance, including playing "Great Balls of Fire", drives the resemblance home with all the subtlety of a hammer. Maverick notices the similarities and is devastated.
  • Getting the Boot: When Maverick's credit card gets declined, he is literally (yet playfully) thrown out of the bar by some of the recruits.
  • Grand Finale: This movie feels like a true closure to Maverick's character arc that began 36 years ago: Maverick struggling to find peace with Goose, and his Passing the Torch to Rooster and the other TOPGUN graduates. By the end of it all, it appears that his days of a fighter pilot are over, but he has once again found love with Penny Benjamin, has reconciled with Rooster, and has finally come full circle with Goose's death.
  • Guy in Back: Bob and Fanboy are Weapon Systems Officers sitting behind Phoenix and Payback, respectively. Unlike the previous film — where the RIOs were mostly another set of eyes — this one tries to show how backseaters monitor aircraft systems, operate weapons, and advise their pilots. Later, Rooster sits in the backseat of an F-14 and sees how complicated his father's job was while Maverick acknowledges that he is largely unfamiliar with what Goose needed to do in his specialist role.
  • Hammer and Sickle Removed for Your Protection: A non-communism-related example. The identity of the enemy country is never given. It has some aspects of Iran (an experimental nuclear program, F-14s still in service), some aspects of Russia/the Caucasus/Central Asia (a snowy climate, Su-57 Felons), and an insignia that doesn't exactly match any real country.
  • Hand Signals: Faced with two bandits that, for the moment, believe him to be a friendly, Maverick tries to use hand signals to indicate to the enemy pilots that they're on the same side and can't respond by radio. Trouble is, the other pilots use unfamiliar sign-countersign gestures, blowing the ruse when Maverick can't properly respond. note 
  • Happy Ending Override: At the end of the previous movie...
    • Maverick seemed to let go of Goose, symbolized by him throwing the dogtags he kept into the ocean; now we find out he's still struggling with guilt and grief until completing the mission and reconciling with Rooster. It's possible that seeing Rooster grow up and want to follow in his father's footsteps as a naval aviator reawakened guilt in Maverick over his friend's death after he thought he had made his peace with it.
    • Maverick seemed to have matured and be ready to accept a position as an instructor at TOPGUN; now we find out he lasted two months, and if his instructional style is the same as it was back then, no wonder.
    • Charlie seemed to have chosen remaining in Miramar, as a civilian consultant for TOPGUN, and with Maverick; now we don't find out what happened there, because she's not even mentioned, but given he seems to have a long history of being on-again off-again with Penny Benjamin, one might guess.
  • Heroic RRoD: The F-18 Super-Hornet is rated to a maximum loading of 7.5g, but the attack profile they are training for calls for a pull-up maneuver that's predicted to exceed 9.5g. Whilst the aircraft can tolerate this kind of abuse for a brief period, it has a very detrimental effect on the longevity of the airframe. Cyclone notes that the aircraft Maverick first demonstrates the high-g pull-up maneuver in is no longer flightworthy.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: During a training session, Hangman abandons Phoenix and Bob in an attempt to get the jump on Maverick and beat him. He later loses sight of Maverick and when he requests Phoenix spot him, Phoenix points out she and Bob are "dead" because he abandoned them and they can't help. Maverick then "kills" Hangman and it cuts to Hangman, Phoenix, and Bob doing their pushups with Phoenix glaring at Hangman.
  • Hollywood Kiss: Though their mutual physical attraction is abundantly clear, the handful of kisses between Maverick and Penny are more romantic than sexy, speaking to the long-standing love between them.
  • Home-Early Surprise: Penny didn't expect her daughter to return home that night she was having Maverick over but her daughter's stayover was canceled and so hijinks ensue.
  • Honor Before Reason: Tactically, it was suicidal for Rooster to turn around to save Maverick, as he had run out of countermeasures in an area full of SAMs and with a pair of Su-57s coming in hot. He knew it, his wingmen knew it, his commander knew it, even Maverick knew it, but he did it anyways, as he took Maverick's advice to heart: "Don't think, just do."
  • Hope Spot: After shooting down the first Felon and defeating the second one in a dogfight, Maverick and Rooster seem to be in the clear when suddenly they are confronted by a third and final Felon they are unable to outrun. All hope seems lost when the Felon locks onto Maverick and Rooster and fires a missile at them... until Hangman arrives and shoots down the final Felon.

  • I Didn't Tell You Because You'd Be Unhappy: Rooster resents Maverick because Maverick blocked his application to the US Naval Academy, thus stalling his career. What Maverick didn't tell him was that Carole, afraid of losing her son the same way she lost her husband, asked Maverick to do it as her Dying Wish. Maverick kept it a secret so that Rooster wouldn't also resent his mother.
  • I'm a Doctor, Not a Placeholder: Penny pokes fun at Navy man Maverick having no idea how to sail a boat. Maverick insists that he doesn't sail boats, he lands on them.
  • Incurable Cough of Death: Iceman is seen coughing when Maverick meets him at his house. Sure enough, his throat cancer kills him soon afterwards.
  • Insistent Terminology: The enemy nation's vaunted "fifth-generation fighters" are always referred to as such and never as any specific type, despite being 100% visually identical to the Russian Su-57.
  • In Space, Everyone Can See Your Face: Maverick's test pilot suit, basically a space suit, features a helmet illuminated on the inside.
  • Internal Homage:
    • The opening titles and scenes are almost a recreation of the first movie's iconic opening: a sequence of fighter jets launching from a US aircraft carrier set to Harold Faltermeyer and Steve Stevens's "Top Gun Anthem" and Kenny Loggins' "Danger Zone."
    • When Maverick and Rooster stole an enemy F-14 Tomcat and got into a dogfight with an enemy Su-57, Maverick fires a missile at the enemy plane. The scene where the missile launched from the F-14 is an exact shot-to-shot recreation of how it was done in the first film.
  • Ironic Echo: Maverick repeats to Rooster his Don't Think, Feel flying philosophy from the first film. After they're both shot down, Mav is furious at Rooster for coming back for him, and Rooster retorts, "You told me not to think!" which renders Mav completely speechless. Comedy gold.
  • It Has Been an Honor: Before taking off from the carrier, Maverick gives this to Dagger Squadron and then gets it from Hondo.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Arrogant ass that he is, Hangman does have a point in calling out Rooster for being indecisive and "thinking too much" when their mission will require split-second timing and lightning reflexes.
  • Job-Stealing Robot: Maverick's days as a test pilot risk coming to an end when less and less pilots are needed with the rise of attack drones unless he pushes the Darkstar prototype plane to Mach 10, which of course he does. Drones replacing pilots more and more is also brought up later on.
  • Just Plane Wrong:
    • While the film is overall better about this than the original, it retains the mistakes with treating fighter cannons like machine guns (as opposed to autocannon firing explosive shells that would have disintegrated a hit plane in less than a second) and absurdly close-range air combat. The latter is mitigated but not completely erased by the fact that the pilots are training for and then implementing an Airstrike Impossible in a mountain range at extremely low altitude: the already-airborne Su-57s would probably still have been able to engage from beyond visual range once they were alerted to the F-18s' presence. Also, while the use of CGI Su-57s is better than using F-5 Tiger IIs in Warsaw Pact livery and pretending they're MiGs, at time of release there were only six Su-57s in active service, all of them with the Russian Air Force (the plane had severe Troubled Productioninvoked due to Russian corruption and financial problems).
    • The Watsonian reason for the F-35C Lightning II not being used is that the target is protected by GPS jamming. This is a fairly threadbare excuse: the F-35C is quite capable of using the same laser-guided munitions that were employed in the film, and its stealth features would make the approach significantly easier. The Doylist reason is that the F-35C is unsuitable for filming actors in a real aircraft: all the shots of the pilots "flying" their aircraft are of the actors in the Guy in Back seat while an actual Navy pilot flies the plane from the front seat, and no version of F-35 comes in a two-seat modelnote . Additionally, the Navy couldn't spare any for filming since they had only entered service in February 2019.
    • As awesome as the "Blinchik" supermaneuver looks, it probably still wouldn't let the 5th-Gen. fighter dodge the missile fired by Maverick and Rooster's stolen F-14, considering a normal heat-seeking missile would also be packing a proximity fuse. Even if the SU-57 did manage to avoid the missile fired, all this maneuver would have done is set Maverick up for a picture perfect gun kill.
    • The guns are straight out of World War 2 depictions of aerial combat. The guns on actual aircraft are set up to only fire a few rounds with each squeeze of the trigger — and also fire so quickly that, if you just held down the trigger, you'd run out of ammunition in about half a second.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: As Admiral of the US Pacific Fleet, Iceman has apparently been covering for Maverick's recklessness and insubordination for decades now. Once he dies, Maverick is pulled from the mission and grounded practically before the sod on Iceman's grave plot has time to settle.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Invoked by Maverick during a training session when Hangman abandons Phoenix and Bob in an attempt to get the jump on Maverick and beat him. To teach Hangman a lesson, he proceeds to "kill" Phoenix and Bob before luring Hangman into doing a steep climb towards the sun, causing Hangman to lose sight of him. Without Phoenix and Bob to spot Maverick for him, Hangman is then "killed" by Maverick.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: The death of Goose in the previous film is pivotal to the plot and is mentioned often. Is even mentioned in the trailer.
  • A Lesson Learned Too Well: Maverick, unhappy about Rooster coming back to rescue him, has his earlier teachings thrown back in his face:
    Maverick: What the hell were you even thinking?
    Rooster: You told me not to think!
  • Lover's Ledge: Maverick woos and beds an Old Flame of his (Penny) again, and she wants to be an example to her daughter ("don't bring anyone home the first night"), so when her daughter Amelia unexpectedly comes back home, Penny shoves Maverick through the bedroom's window... and he lands in front of Amelia anyway. This is followed by Mood Whiplash when Amelia just says "Don't break her heart again."
  • Love Theme: Lady Gaga's soaring ballad "Hold My Hand", which recurs as an instrumental motif several times throughout the film before playing in full over the end credits, and which serves as the love anthem for Official Couple Maverick and Penny.
  • Macross Missile Massacre:
    • A Tomahawk barrage is fired from the USS Leyte Gulf to destroy an enemy airfield.
    • Dagger Squadron is forced to evade a swarm launched from unmanned SAMs during the strike mission. Maverick and Rooster are shot down.
  • Malicious Misnaming: Phoenix is fond of calling Hangman "Bagman" when he's annoying her. Bob joins in during one training session when Hangman hangs Phoenix and Bob out to dry against Maverick.
  • Manly Tears: Maverick cries while saluting at the funeral, as shown in the music video for "Hold My Hand."
    • Also, his eyes get visibly wet when he's talking with Iceman about Rooster.
  • Married to the Job: Despite it having been more than 30 years since 1986, Maverick remains a childless bachelor because he repeatedly declines to retire from being a naval aviator when others his age would have retired or pursued other career paths. Being the very best pilot actively serving in the US Navy has also caused Maverick to be frequently deployed abroad and away from Penny, his longtime on-and-off girlfriend. When he reunites with her on his assignment to train Dagger Squadron, she's become justifiably wary of restarting things with him again.
  • Meaningful Echo: Iceman tells Maverick to "let go" of his guilt over Goose's death just like Viper told him in the previous film.
  • Meaningful Funeral: Iceman gets one, with fighter jets flying overhead in a "Missing Man" formation, and sailors firing a 21-rifle salute.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Phoenix who experiences a birdstrike, whose aircraft ignites on fire, and who is compelled to eject. She and Bob survive.
    • P-51 Mustang, with which Maverick and Penny go Riding into the Sunset.
  • Mentor Occupational Hazard: Iceman has essentially become Maverick's Obi-Wan this time around, and when he's gone, that's when Maverick starts taking training for the mission seriously.
  • Military Maverick: Well, he's not called Maverick for nothing. And only Iceman being the Admiral of the entire damn Pacific Fleet prevented a dishonorable discharge for him all this time.
    Admiral Cain: Thirty plus years of service. Combat medals. Citations. Only man to shoot down three enemy planes in the last forty years. Yet, you can't get a promotion, you won't retire, and despite your best efforts, you refuse to die. You should be at least a two-star admiral or a senator by now. Yet, here you are, "Captain". Why is that?
    Maverick: It's one of life's mysteries, sir.
  • Missing Man Formation: Occurs at Iceman's funeral. There is a flyover of five fighter jets in formation; as they pass the gravesite one pulls up sharply and flies heavenward, leaving a gap.
  • Mission Briefing: When Maverick gets introduced to the mission at hand. It consists of a fancy animation with Cyclone detailing the objective.
  • Mission Control: Several different characters and crews serve as this at different points in the film.
    • Hondo leads the ground control team for the Darkstar program, and directly communicates with Maverick during each test flight.
    • When Maverick trains Dagger Squadron at North Island Naval Air Station, a nameless controller serves as this, most notably allowing Maverick to fly a "surprise test flight" despite having no exercises planned that day.
    • During the actual mission, Cyclone and Warlock lead a US Navy carrier crew to command Dagger Squadron.
  • Mistaken for Aliens: Maverick walks into a diner after crash landing his test plane. When he asks where he is, a child tells him he's on Earth.
  • Mood Whiplash:
  • Ms. Exposition: Penny catches the audience up on the last 30 years of Maverick's career by reminding the man how busy he's been.
  • Nebulous Evil Organisation: The "Rogue Nation" is this. We don't learn anything about them other than they're running illegal nuclear operations, and their pilots are all Faceless Goons.
  • Nerves of Steel: Essential part of being a fighter pilot, but put on perfect display during Phoenix's bird strike accident. After sucking a bird into the engines, she quickly reacts and executes the proper procedures to shutdown the damaged engine and attempt recovery. She remains calm even as more systems begin to malfunction and the jet rapidly loses altitude. Once it becomes unrecoverable, she gives the ejection command, and punches out after her WSO Bob has ejected. Her professionalism and cool during stressful situations is likely a big factor why Maverick chose her as one of the pilots for the mission.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: Despite being shown prominently in the trailers, the fictional Dark Star hypersonic fighter aircraft only appears in the opening and is never mentioned again after it.
  • Nom de Guerre: Same as in the first movie, all of the pilots go by their codenames.
  • Non-Residential Residence: After 30 years of service earning the salary of a Captain, Maverick's private residence is a former US Navy airfield somewhere in the American southwest desert. He doesn't live in a house, so much as having an entire hangar to himself that both serves as his living quarters and garage for his personal fleet of aircraft and motorcycles.
  • No One Could Survive That!: Maverick is Born Lucky when it comes to surviving a plane crash. Admiral Cain even lampshades this by saying that despite his best efforts, Maverick simply refuses to die.
    • The DarkStar completely disintegrates after reaching Mach 10.4 at insane altitudes. He had already traveled over the distance of at least the states of Nevada and Utah by the time the plane reached Mach 5 before turning around, and was somewhere over Idaho by the time it hit Mach 10.4 and broke apart. The immediate next scene just shows him still shell-shocked, walking into a diner, taking a moment to drink a glass of water, and then finally asking where he was. (To be clear, this means Maverick managed to jump out of an aircraft that was going over two miles per second.)
    • Maverick gets shot down during the operation by Taking the Bullet for Rooster. The next scene shows that he was able to eject and activate his parachute, but he's none the worse for wear.

  • Official Couple: Maverick and his longtime on-and-off girlfriend Penny Benjamin, who was only mentioned in the first film but with whom he is implied to have been head over heels in love for decades.
  • Offscreen Airplane Pull-up: Coyote suffers from G-LOC during a training exercise. He regains consciousness just in time to retake control of his plane, but the scene waits a moment for him to reappear from behind a hill to show it.
  • Offscreen Breakup: Enforced. Charlotte "Charlie" Blackwood goes completely unmentioned in this film, with Mav having been in an on-again-off-again relationship with bar owner Penny for many years. Kelly McGillis says she wasn't asked to return, having aged much more noticeably than Cruise.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • The looks on most of the Dagger Squadron's faces when they learn the "old guy" they took for several rounds and then tossed out of the bar is their new instructor.
    • Maverick's face when he's rudely woken from his coma by an enemy Mi-24 attack helicopter.
    • Even though his face is concealed by his flight helmet, the "Felon" pilot is shocked when Maverick suddenly takes one of the other "Felons" out in an old F-14 and again when he manages to get behind him in the Canyon.
    • The same guy incites this reaction to Maverick and Rooster by performing a supermanuever missile dodge that leaves both of them in utter shock.
    Maverick: What the...?!
    Rooster: Holy shit. What the fuck was that?!
    • Maverick, Phoenix, and Bob all have one at the same time during the bird strike scene. This is very much Truth in Television; having a bird hit your plane at high speed is basically the same as getting hit with a cannon shell. Aircraft have crashed and pilots killed as a result of bird strikes.
  • Older Is Better: Maverick has been called back to train new recruits in his own old-school dogfighting ways. And when it turns out he's the best pilot available, ends up on the mission.
  • Old-School Dogfight: Maverick was brought in because the mission might lead up to one of those, and few pilots still have experience in these. And sure enough, as soon as the target is blown enemy fighters are in pursuit!
  • Only Known by Their Nickname:
    • The number of times that the pilots of Dagger Squadron are called by their real names could be counted with a single hand — at least once Maverick using Rooster's given and last name with rank in quick succession is meant to show how much it bothers him that Rooster is giving him the cold shoulder.
    • As with the original film, Maverick is almost exclusively referred to by his call sign; it's a mark of her increased trust in and closeness with him that Phoenix calls him "Mav" during the final mission. The sole exception is his longtime on-again, off-again girlfriend, Penny Benjamin, who is the only one to call him "Pete".
    • Averted with Bob, whose call sign is actually his real name.
    • The enemy fighters (based on the real-life Su-57 "Felons") are not given a Reporting Name, they are only named "Fifth-Generation Fighters" or "Bandits" (regular nickname for hostile fighters).
  • Orange/Blue Contrast: Asides from the opening sequence with the Darkstar, all of the scenes set in the United States seemed to be filmed with an orange filter; this appropriately fits with the chapparal and deserts of southern California where most of Dagger Squadron's training occurs. Once Dagger Squadron is deployed abroad to complete their mission, the finale is filmed with a blue filter to fit the cold weather and snowy mountains of the nameless enemy country.
  • Parental Substitute: Maverick outright says that he wanted to be the father that Rooster never had, and still can't help but feel protective and concerned about him even though Rooster heavily resents Maverick. He's gotten over it by the end, helping Maverick work on his P-51 in his off-time before Penny and Amelia show up.
  • Parent with New Paramour: Maverick renews his relationship with Penny, the owner of the bar near NAS North Island (and a character who was mentioned early on in the original film), who has had a daughter, Amelia, in the interim between the films.
  • Physical Fitness Punishment: One of the candidates casually suggest a wager, that whoever gets "shot down" in their training has to perform 200 push-ups. This backfires spectacularly when Maverick handily beats all of them multiple times.
  • Precision F-Strike: While expletives are fairly common throughout the movie, Rooster drops the sole F-bomb allowed in the PG-13 rated film when the 5th-Gen fighter he and Maverick were chasing pulls a "Blinchik" supermaneuver to dodge an incoming missile they launched at it and get back behind them, shocking both Maverick and Rooster.
    Rooster: Holy shit. What the fuck was that?!
  • Promotion, Not Punishment: Maverick's demonstration that the maneuver was possible might've broken rules and wrecked a plane, but it also forced Cyclone to admit that instead of discharging him, he needs to instead endanger his own reputation putting Maverick as the mission leader.
  • Race Against the Clock: In two separate ways:
    • The mission must take place before the enemy facility goes online; the pilots lose a week of training time when the facility's timeline moves up.
    • Maverick puts a time limit of 2 minutes 30 seconds on the airstrike mission, as any longer than that will give superior enemy fighters time to arrive and reduce the survivability of the mission.
  • Rank Up:
    • Iceman is now the Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, a position held by statute by a four-star admiral. He used the high rank to bail out Maverick every time he got into a mess with the Navy.
    • Maverick himself is now a Navy Captain. While Captain is a fairly high rank, the fact that Maverick hasn't advanced to a much higher level after almost 40 years of service (with the implication that he's been stalled as a Captain for some time) is considered a black mark on his career.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: The In-Universe reason the F/A-18 Super Hornet is used in the film rather than the newer F-35C Lightning II (which would have had a much easier time reaching the target with its stealth capabilities) is that GPS jamming around the target would interfere with the newer plane's weapons. In real life the F-35C had only just entered limited service when the film was in production and wasn't available. Also, it doesn't come in a two-seat model like the F/A-18F, which would make it impossible to put Tom Cruise in a real plane (as in the original, they put him in the back seat of a two-seat aircraft with a camera mounted to the pilot's chair).
  • Refuge in Audacity:
    • The plan to steal the F-14 involves Maverick and Rooster walking up to the enemy base and taking the F-14 by acting like they're pilots from the enemies' side. Maverick even tells Rooster to walk so that look like they belong instead of running around and looking confused. This is helped along by the utter chaos of the airfield having been carpet-bombed by a missile barrage, so their approach is obscured by smoke and crews too busy trying to extinguish the fires to pay close attention to a couple of pilots.
    • Once he and Rooster are in the air, Maverick tries to bluff a pair of enemy pilots into thinking he's on their side, only for one to pull a sign-countersign that blows their cover.
  • Reunion Kiss: Maverick gets to share a tender, loving official kiss with Penny after he returns from the final mission.
  • Rhetorical Question Blunder: After Maverick defies orders to show that the mission can be done, Cyclone notes that he can either risk the lives of his pilots and the mission by demoting Maverick, or that he can risk his career by appointing Mav to team leader. When Maverick starts to respond, Warlock tells him that Cyclone was speaking rhetorically.
  • Riding into the Sunset: The movie ends with Maverick and Penny doing this while in the former's own personal, WWII-era fighter plane — a P-51 Mustang.
  • Rock Beats Laser:
    • Invoked with the choice to use the older F/A-18E/F Super Hornet over the Navy's more advanced F-35C Lightning for the mission as the uranium enrichment facility they are targeting is protected by GPS jamming that affects the latter's precision weapons but not the former's.
    • Maverick manages to shoot down no less than two "Felon" enemy fighters with a F-14 Tomcat he and Rooster stole in the enemy base. F-14s first saw service in 1974. The enemy planes (actually Sukhoi Su-57s) first saw service in December 2020 (they weren't even in service when the film's shooting wrapped up, and weren't used in actual combat missions until the Russian invasion of Ukraine shortly before the release). To be fair, one of the Felons was shot down by a complete surprise attack from Maverick from behind, and the other is lured into a canyon at low altitude, where its advanced radar is confused by ground clutter and it is unable to utilize its superior maneuverability.
  • Romantic Ride Sharing: Maverick drives Penny home on his motorcycle multiple times, until she finally invites him into the house.
  • Ruritania: As detailed above, some context clues may indicate that the rogue nation TOPGUN is set to intercept may be Slavic if it's not Middle Eastern.
  • Sadistic Choice: While talking to Iceman, Maverick says that he has the choice of either sending Rooster on the mission and risk his life in the process, or not sending him at all and further damage their already strained relationship. He ultimately decides to send him on the mission, thanks to encouraging words.
  • Same Plot Sequel: The movie hits all the same beats as its predecessor: Both open with a brief text about the history of TOPGUN, complete with the Top Gun Anthem and Danger Zone playing back-to-back, Maverick disobeying orders from a major superior before being sent to TOPGUN, the trainees being introduced in a bar, not knowing their instructor is involved, one of the pilots having personal issues due to having lost his father at a young age, a rivalry between two trainees, a fun time at the beach, a near tragic accident involving the trainees halfway through the film, a close friend of Maverick's passing away, and during the climax, one of the pilots having a confidence problem before getting a Heroic Second Wind. The ending also involves a triumphant return to an aircraft carrier in which the rivalry becomes a friendship, and also ends with Maverick reuniting with the Love Interest and a plane flying into the sunset over the end credits.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Maverick has reportedly gotten away with decades of shenanigans because of his best friend Iceman, now an admiral in charge of the Pacific Fleet. However, Iceman isn't just doing it out of loyalty to his friend; he genuinely believes that the Navy needs pilots like Maverick. Once Iceman dies of a long illness, Maverick gets shitcanned with extreme prejudice by Cyclone, until he demonstrates that his crazy plan to succeed in the mission can be done, by illegally doing it on the training course.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!:
    • Rooster disregards orders to see if Maverick is still alive. In doing so, he saves Maverick, but is also forced to join him on land as his plane is shot down.
    • After Iceman's death, Cyclone is ready to send Maverick packing due to his constant and flagrant disregard for military rules and the chain of command, until Mav (illegally) demonstrates that their mission can be completed his way. Cyclone is wary of jeopardizing his entire career to support Maverick, but he ultimately decides his career and the rules are not as important as the lives of the pilots Maverick will save. Cyclone knows the alternative is a much less risky plan which may achieve the objective, but will cost the lives of many of those pilots.
  • Seemingly Hopeless Boss Fight: In the final battle, Maverick manages to shoot down one Felon by surprise before engaging a second one in a one-on-one dogfight. After defeating it, Maverick is immediately confronted by a third Felon that he cannot defeat due to being out of ammo. After several evasive maneuvers, it eventually goes in for the kill... Until Hangman arrives at last minute and shoots it down.
  • Sequel Escalation: Three important aspects:
    • The training: whereas in the first film it consists of the normal ACM taught at TOPGUN, here the training program is so tough that even what is taught in TOPGUN is not enough to be ready.
    • Ranks: while in the first movie half of the TOPGUN trainees are Lt and the other half LTJG, the commanding officers hold the rank of CDR and no character of higher rank appears physically, in this one all the trainees are already TOPGUN graduates and hold the rank of Lt, while the commanding officers, except for Maverick, are all admirals, to the point that the rank held by more characters after Lt is two-star admiral.
    • The climax: in the first movie it was small-scale, simply consisting of a dogfight against some enemy MiGs. In this one? An Airstrike Impossible against an enemy base, followed by escaping from the hostile territory by stealing one of the jets, then the obligatory dogfight against the enemy fighters (only this time there are three of them as opposed to six, except all of them are destroyed instead of a few of them bugging out). Also, the hostiles this time are flying Su-57 "Felons", which are planes way superior to the Hornets (and later a Tomcat) that the protagonists are flying, to the point that one of the reasons why the mission is as hard as it was is that Maverick wanted to avoid fighting them, and he only engaged them when he is simply left with no other options.
  • Sequel Non-Entity: Charlie, Maverick's love interest from the first film, is never even mentioned. Neither are most of the other members of his class at TOPGUN, except of course for Iceman and Goose.
  • Sexy Discretion Shot: When Maverick reunites (again) with his longtime love Penny and they sleep together for the first time in years, the scene starts with them kissing, then essentially fades to afterglow, coming back in for a Talking in Bed moment as Maverick confides the problems he is having with Rooster to Penny. This is possibly because the emotional intimacy between them in this scene — representing Maverick finally allowing himself to commit to Penny after years and years of commitment issues — is far more crucial to the course of their relationship and his overall character arc than their physical intimacy.
  • Shirtless Scene: This time, the beach volleyball scene is a beach football one, shirtless men (and women in sports bras) included.
  • Shout-Out:
    • While the film doesn't directly call attention to it, "Fanboy"'s flight helmet has his callsign lettered in the same font as Star Trek: The Original Series. If you pick that out, it's pretty obvious why he's nicknamed "Fanboy."
    • The mission itself is essentially a real-world version of the attack on the Death Star in Star Wars: A New Hope — fly through a canyon to avoid heavy anti-air defenses and strike an underground facility through a target that's only a few meters wide. Rooster even forgoes using the targeting laser when it fails to lock on and achieves the hit blind, and Hangman pulls a Han Solo by gunning down the fighter that's just a moment away from killing our heroes. The enemy pilots also wear black, face-concealing helmets reminiscent of Darth Vader and the TIE pilots.
    • The real-world inspirations for the Death Star trench run were the World War II movies The Dam Busters and 633 Squadron, which can also be considered influences on Maverick.
    • After the Dark Star explosion, Maverick ends up in a rural part of the country in a strange flight suit, and when he asks where he is he's told, "Earth." A nearly identical situation happened to Yuri Gagarin after his famous flight.
    • In the bar scene where Penny is introduced, the song playing in the background is "Let's Dance," by David Bowie. Her actress, Jennifer Connelly, starred with David in Labyrinth which, like the original Top Gun, also opened in 1986.
    • Maverick lives in an old hangar, where he keeps his vehicles. Sound an awful lot like the title character of Dirk Pitt Adventures (who was also an Ace Pilot, albeit for the Air Force and then NUMA).
  • Single Tear: When Rooster is shot down, Hondo can be seen wiping a tear from his cheek.
  • Sink the Lifeboats: A close variant when a helicopter gunship comes after Maverick after he ejects. While he's on the ground already, he's still trying to extricate himself from his parachute and barely gets clear of it in time to get to cover. Note that it's still a war crime to fire on an ejected pilot when they're on the ground without giving them a chance to surrender first.
  • Someone Has to Die: Subverted. The brass stress to Maverick that at least one person won't be coming back from the mission. Despite that, everyone actually survives. However, the Americans do suffer two casualties in F/A-18s shot down, albeit with the pilots escaping.
  • Spin-Offspring: Downplayed by the fact that a now-older Maverick is still the main character, but Rooster is introduced to take over from his late father Goose.
  • Stock Footage: Some of Maverick's flashbacks of Goose are taken from the first film (chiefly Goose at the piano at the bar and his death) and shown in Deliberate VHS Quality.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Upon seeing a photo of the TOPGUN class of '86, Hangman and Coyote point out that Rooster is a dead ringer for his father.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome:
    • Carole Bradshaw (Meg Ryan) is established as having died several years prior to the events of the film, and made the Dying Wish to Maverick to stop her son from pursuing his father's career as a pilot — a move which Mav only delays.
    • The film establishes that Iceman (Val Kilmer), despite still being active and protecting Mav's career throughout the years, is dealing with an aggressive form of throat cancer. After one scene meeting Mav in person and giving him some encouragement to support Rooster, Iceman passes away offscreen, with a subsequent military funeral held in his honor.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • While he did indeed become an instructor at TOPGUN like he wanted at the end of the first film, Maverick mentioned that his tenure only lasted for two months. Whether he was reassigned or left of his own volition is not made clear, but his flyboy antics and Hot-Blooded attitude were only barely tolerated as a student. As an instructor, he would absolutely be held to an even higher standard, regardless of his dogfighting accomplishments in the previous film.
    • Coyote suffers from G-LOC (Gravitational Loss of Consciousness) due to being hit with over 9 G's worth of pressure when practicing for the pop-up strike. It is not uncommon to temporarily blackout due to such pressure. It might also be the reason why he is not chosen to go on the mission.
    • The F14:
      • When Maverick plans to hijack the enemy's old F-14 Tomcat so he and Rooster can return to the carrier, it seems Maverick will have no problem flying it since it was the same plane he used in the 80s and many years after. Not quite. Since it's been decades since he last flew one and has gotten used to flying in modern aircraft, Maverick has to pause for a few moments as he tries to remember how to work the controls.
      • Rooster and Maverick are able to take down two technologically superior fighter jets in their aging F-14 by using unorthodox tactics to even the playing field (see Rocks Beats Laser above), but when the third Felon catches them in the open ocean with no ammo or countermeasures, it has them dead-to-rights... thankfully, Hangman shows up just in the nick of time in his fully-loaded Hornet to save their hides.
      • When Rooster finally turns on the F-14's radio and other electronics, he and Maverick can hear the radar warning receiver of an enemy radar locking them, but there was nothing on their radar screen. That's because the Su-57 is directly in front of them and is stealthy in the frontal sector. Also, the E-2 Hawkeye is able to detect the Su-57s because its lower frequency radar is better at finding stealth fighters.
      • The stolen surplus F-14 has loaded guns and missiles and countermeasures. What it doesn't have is a functioning RIO eject seat. Either the new owners skimped on that part of the maintenance, that was precisely why it was in the hangar in the first place, or the pilots simply missed arming them in their hurry to get out of there.
      • The F-14, like any post-WWII fighter, requires an extensive checklist to get it from cold and dark to ready to fly. Mav and Rooster skip all that and just do the bare minimum needed to get airborne in a hurry, but when they get up there they've got nearly no avionics because none of the circuit breakers are in place, meaning none of the equipment is powered up; the reason the checklists exist in the first place is to ensure something like that doesn't happen. It may also explain the ejection-seat issues above. Ejection seats contain a solid rocket motor that's safed on the ground, so they need to be armed as part of a startup checklist.
    • Rooster is an Aviator, not a Naval Flight Officer, who came up through the fleet flying exclusively F/A-18 Super Hornets. Without his father's specialized training in operating the radar systems of the F-14 Tomcat, he's reduced almost entirely to being Maverick's backseat spotter during their flight in the stolen F-14. He also fails to arm the F-14's ejection seats before buckling in, which nearly has catastrophic consequences for himself and Maverick.
  • Survival Mantra: "Talk to me, Goose."
  • Suspiciously Apropos Music: Hangman actually invokes this at the Hard Deck by playing Foghat's "Slow Ride" on the jukebox when Rooster arrives to subtly mock the latter's tendency to be too cautious in the cockpit.
  • Taking the Bullet: Maverick puts his plane in front of a missile that would hit Rooster. It destroys his tail and sends him down to the forest below.
  • Talking in Bed: The scene of Maverick and Penny having sex gets passed over and we cut back to them having an intimate talk in bed afterwards.
  • The Team: Maverick leads a group of six fighter pilots and weapons specialists. They are backed up by an E2 Hawkeye, which gives them tactical information as well as the USS Leyte Gulf, whose missiles destroy the adjacent air field's runway, keeping the number of opposing fighers to a minimum.
  • Tempting Fate: It was hard enough to get the Darkstar to hit Mach 10, and since that was the goal needed to save the project Maverick could have and should have stopped there. But no, he just couldn't resist the temptation to keep going faster until the thing had a critical failure.
  • That Wasn't a Request: When Iceman texts Maverick that he needed to see him, the latter chats back "Not a good time." Iceman responds with "I'm not asking".
  • This Cannot Be!: After Maverick and Rooster manage to get airborne in an F-14, Rooster activates his locator beacon, alerting the crew that he's alive. They quickly realize that Rooster is airborne and that the plane he's in is an F-14, which was phased out long before he joined the Navy. Meaning that the only explanation is that Maverick survived as well and they're both on their way back. Cyclone and Warlock are shocked.
  • This Is Gonna Suck:
    • Rooster's reaction when Payback cockily suggests a Physical Fitness Punishment of 200 pushups for anyone "shot down" during the training and Maverick casually accepts it. Sure enough, everyone except Maverick winds up doing the pushups.
    • After Rooster destroys the target, Maverick, Phoenix, and Bob are close to the ridge and the SAM launchers. Once they're over the peak, Mav's radar warning alarm goes off and he says "Here it comes!"
    • Maverick's tone when he tries to bluff his way past the enemy air patrol, only to realize he doesn't know their hostile challenge and response hand signals.
  • This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman: The objective is an underground uranium enrichment facility surrounded by mountains, automated SAM sites, and a nearby airbase, which would normally be a cakewalk for the F-35C, but the GPS jamming system makes the use of drones and an F-35 strike infeasible (presumably the jammer also prevents long-range GPS-guided cruise missiles and bunker busters from being able to hit the exposed ventilation duct), meaning the only way to get in is under the radar via a suicidal canyon run using laser-guided ordnance that doesn't rely on GPS, hence the need for F/A-18s and the TOPGUN pilots.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: Bob, who for much of the movie had been the team's Butt-Monkey due to his nerdy-looking appearance, is declared to be the winner of the beach football game and everyone cheers him on. Even Hangman looks happy for him.
  • Trailers Always Lie: The trailer hypes up the antagonism between Maverick and Rooster is because the latter resents the former for his father's death. However, this can't be further than the truth when in reality, Rooster hates Maverick for stalling his career for 4 years because he blocked Rooster's application to the Naval Academy. The 'fight scene' portrayed in the trailer is also not between Maverick and Rooster, but Rooster defending Maverick's and Goose's honor against Hangman's mockery.
  • Training from Hell: Due to the extremely difficult and complex nature of the strike mission, Maverick subjects the mission candidates, all of whom are already considered among the best pilots in the Navy, to this. From ruthlessly dead-aiming them in dogfight exercises to flying at low altitude through treacherous canyon passages at high speed, to making an extremely perilous high-G ascent up a mountain that pushes the operational limit of their plane and risk the pilot themselves blacking out mid-flight, Maverick pulls absolutely no punch.
  • Trauma Button: Maverick gets one when he sees Rooster play "Great Balls of Fire" in the bar.
  • Triumphant Reprise: The melody from Lady Gaga's "Hold My Hand" plays several times throughout the film in various uplifting orchestral arrangements. Most notably, it is merged together with the main Top Gun anthem in "The Man, The Legend/Touchdown", which plays when Maverick and Rooster make it back to the carrier alive and are welcomed by a cheering party. The full song plays one last time as Maverick takes Penny flying in his P-51 Mustang and over the end credits. The end credits also features a more triumphant version of the "Top Gun Anthem".
  • Trust Password: Maverick tries to signal an enemy pilot that his radio is down when flying a stolen F-14 back to the carrier. When the pilot tries to sign back one of these and Maverick cannot provide the proper response, a dogfight breaks out.
  • Underestimating Badassery: One of the TOPGUN graduates jokingly makes a bet whoever gets shot down first during their dogfighting exercise should do 200 push-ups, with the unspoken expectation that Maverick will the one doing PT once they land. Cue everyone on the team except for Maverick doing that very same thing by the next scene, and some of them even doing it multiple times in a day.
  • Unfinished, Untested, Used Anyway: Maverick's re-Establishing Character Moment in this movie is when he takes the Darkstar experimental hypersonic jet prototype on an unauthorized test flight. The US Navy had wanted a plane that could achieve Mach 10, but pulled the plug on the project on the day that the Darkstar was supposed to test if it could handle Mach 9 because they thought investing in drone aircraft would be more productive. Maverick being Maverick, he intends to show Admiral Cain that he got his money's worth by attempting to do Mach 10 right now. He managed to pull it off and impressed everyone, and then he goes even faster...and ends up destroying the jet.
  • Unseen No More: Penny Benjamin, whose involvement with Maverick was mentioned as a Noodle Incident on the first film by Stinger (James Tolkan) and later by Goose and Carole at the bar, makes her first onscreen appearance in this film and helps fill in the audience in what he did during the period after 1986.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Played with. Maverick lays out the plan in excruciating detail, and strongly emphasizes how the plan is almost impossible. It will require "two miracles", he says, and the training backs him up. And even then, there's a conspicuous point where they accomplish their main objective and have to fly back through a hurricane of SAMs, which there is no plan for and they might not even survive. Rooster pulls off a different second miracle when the originally planned miracle doesn't work out, and in the ensuing furball Maverick sacrifices himself to save Rooster, then Rooster goes and returns the favor, leaving them both stranded in enemy territory to have to make a daring escape. This was not part of the plan at all, and they are only able to accomplish said escape by improvising frantically, and because Hangman becomes The Cavalry, but the end goal of completing the mission with their entire team alive and intact is successful.
  • Video Credits: Like in the original, and with only one name (aside from Penny, the callsigns).
  • Well-Trained, but Inexperienced: The candidates for the mission are the best the Navy has to offer, but none of them have the decades of experience Maverick has. Maverick points out to Cyclone that for most of the candidates, their only real combat experience consists of high altitude bombing runs beyond enemy reach and only Hangman has a confirmed air-to-air kill. Thus, he easily bests them all in the initial training exercise.
    • Even Hangman's confirmed kill is noted to have been against a pilot in a substantially inferior aircraft.
  • Wacky Parent, Serious Child: Even though the two didn't spend much time together, Goose is the wacky parent to the serious-grown-up Rooster.
  • Wham Line: After Rooster breaks the hard deck and defies Maverick's orders during a training exercise, Phoenix confronts him and asks why he's acting the way he is:
    Rooster: He pulled my papers!... Maverick. He pulled my application to the Naval Academy. Set me back four years.
  • Wham Shot: During Rooster and Maverick's escape from the base in a stolen and badly-outgunned F-14, Maverick manages to take one of the 5th-Gen fighters by surprise and shred it with his cannon. Knowing he can't outrun the remaining pilot, Maverick pulls some extreme maneuvering, pushing the F-14 beyond its limits to pull in behind the enemy craft. The Hope Spot hits, music swells, Maverick locks on and fires… and the 5th-Gen fighter pilot almost casually pulls a Kvochur's Bell supermaneuver, stalling in mid-air, drifting past Maverick and Rooster, and regaining control right on their tail. Rooster lampshades the feat with a Precision F-Strike.
    Rooster: Holy shit, what the fuck was that?!
  • With Due Respect: Maverick uses this line when initially declining Cyclone's offer to teach the recruits.
  • You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!:
    • While he doesn't say it, the look on Rooster's face when Maverick shows up as the Dagger Squadron's instructor clearly conveys this.
    • Rooster later says this (with "shitting" instead of "kidding") when he realizes Maverick is planning to steal an F-14 from the base they just bombed.
    • Maverick and Rooster's reaction upon seeing an enemy plane evading a missile with a supermaneuver to the point that Mav ends up missing an incredibly good opportunity to take out said plane due to being too stunned to react in time.

"The Navy needs Maverick. The kid needs Maverick. That's why I fought for you. That's why you're still here."


Video Example(s):


Top Gun: Maverick

The enemy plane shows how advanced it truly is when it dodges a locked-on missile.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / HighSpeedMissileDodge

Media sources: