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Top Gun: Maverick         

From time to time I attempt a movie review. I will not in this case. There is no need. The public has spoken, as have the professional reviewers. This is one hell of a movie.  It’s a wild ride, but the underlying message is far to important to skip over. As the Admiral said: “The Navy needs a Maverick.”

Actually all organizations need a Maverick. Maybe not a ‘Top Gun,” the best of the best. But someone who is willing to take the rule book and toss it. Someone who won’t give up. Someone who believes in him or herself. Someone who understands the need for structure, but also understands the need to work around it.

The Tom Cruise character in this movie should have been an admiral many times over. However he did everything he could to prevent that. He knew that as an admiral he could no longer fly. And fly he must.

We need people in our organizations who must fly. Who understand leadership, but also understand the need to excel. Who never quit. Who use those skills they perfected to bring the best to what they do, even when the bureaucracy does everything it can to prevent it.

I will say this about Top Gun: Maverick. It draws from another thriller from four decades ago. No, not its historical namesake, but another. I quote from one reviewer:

The action-packed finale is a hair-raising sequence, as director Kosinski cranks up the tension, pushing Maverick and the team closer to danger. Although the original “Top Gun” is a Hollywood classic in its own right, the climactic scene of the new sequel actually owes a major debt to another legendary franchise: “Star Wars.” Warning: Once you see the comparison, it’s impossible to unsee.

Star Wars buffs will see the comparison immediately. You just want to scream “Use the force, Luke”.

But don’t take this the wrong way. This is not a remake. Pete “Maverick” Mitchell isn’t some fledgling Jedi using superpowers. He is simply the best of the best. He understands that it isn’t the technology that wins, it’s the person driving it. He understands that teams aren’t necessarily built in action, but sometimes in a strange football game. He does, however quote a Jedi master – “Don’t think, Do.”

There is humor. A classic scene where he climbs out his girlfriend’s bedroom window only to be busted by her daughter. Or when he staggers into a roadside diner after bailing out of a billion dollar aircraft, setting an airspeed record, and looking like he barely survived. He asks where he was. The six year old standing nearby has the answer “earth.”

Maybe Hollywood will learn something from this movie. It is an unqualified blockbuster. People want movies like this and are willing to pay hundreds of millions to see them. Can you even remember the name of the movie that won ‘best picture’ this year? I doubt it. You won’t forget “Top Gun: Maverick” anytime soon.

JVH

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