If war is not too far east of the Federal Republic, if fighter jets take off and air raids are flown, then the sequel to "Top Gun", the legendary blockbuster of the summer of 1986, is not necessarily the film of the hour that you would have been waiting for.

Heroism and patriotic devotion, the implicitness of war and bombs produce a strange effect, because the almost clinical-technical depiction on the screen doesn't fit in at all with the images of destruction and devastation from the Ukraine.

Peter Korte

Editor in the feuilleton of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sunday newspaper in Berlin.

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This timing is not to be blamed on "Top Gun: Maverick".

The theatrical release had to be postponed six times due to the pandemic.

This time, the film won't lead to mass sales of lambskin jackets and Ray-Ban sunglasses either.

The Navy is not known to set up booths in American movie theater foyers to cater for the massive number of volunteer applicants, as it did then.

But the Department of Defense is still a player.

It approved the script, provided access to military facilities and aircraft, did the rough cut like a studio boss and made the old aircraft carrier USS Midway available for the premiere.

That's the deal, this collaboration has allowed producer Jerry Bruckheimer and his star Tom Cruise to raise a budget of $150 million.

Bruckheimer and his partner Don Simpson, who led a high-speed 1980s producer's life and was found dead in 1996 with 20 different drugs in his body, had gotten serious about "high concept" in the 1980s - a term that turns conventional semantics on its head.

It describes the simplest stories that can be summed up in less than 25 words or marketed by the title alone.

Like "Flashdance", "Beverly Hills Cop" or "Top Gun".

Simpson/Bruckheimer not only made a lot of money with it, but also redefined blockbuster cinema.

"Top Gun" has easily survived the other well-known films of 1986 such as "Platoon", "The Color of Money", "Stand by Me", "Crocodile Dundee" or "Aliens - The Return".

Because it is more robust, simpler, as powerful and unstoppable as a bullet.

Subtlety isn't something that made a blockbuster a blockbuster.

Even now, no one expects Top Gun: Maverick to develop characters here.

You just learn very little about everyone because it's all about Cruise's Pete "Maverick" Mitchell.

The central conflict connects the plot with the previous film.

Rooster (Miles Teller) is the son of Maverick's friend and flying partner Goose, whose death Maverick blamed (and still blames) on himself.

Rooster is also one of the pilots Maverick is assigned to train for an extremely dangerous mission.

But even this twist on the father-son conflict is generic rather than specific, even as Rooster sits at the piano, plays "Great Balls of Fire," Maverick listens with a pained look, and then flashes back to the scene from the old movie where the Goose playing the same song.