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Superior Sequels: Top Gun vs Top Gun: Maverick

This week’s Superior Sequels debate could prove divisive as we look at a sequel to a movie that’s not only considered to be one of the best and most '80s' 80s movies of them all, but also one that was responsible for a 500% increase in naval recruitments in the months following its release.

That’s right, today we’re looking at:

Top Gun (1986) vs Top Gun: Maverick (2022)

When I do these posts I only tend to choose sequels that I think genuinely stand a chance of living up to, or even bettering the original movie. Few of the sequels I’ve featured to date have stood as good a chance of doing that as this one.

I have to be honest, I’ve never understood all the fuss over Top Gun (I’d rather watch Cocktail any day of the week), so when I heard they were making a sequel I really wasn’t too excited about it. What a fool I was…

Released 36 years after the film that launched Tom Cruise into mega-stardom, Top Gun: Maverick re-defines what a sequel to a hit movie should be. It has a great story, good characters, INCREDIBLE aerial scenes the likes of which we’ve never seen before, and it somehow manages to tap into the same 80s magic that makes the first film so iconic, but in a way that doesn't come across cheesey and feels relevant today.

But is that enough to get it the big win? Many would argue that the movie that gave us lines like “I feel the need…the need for speed”, and “Son, your ego is writing checks your body can't cash” - not to mention classic songs like Take My Breath Away (Berlin) and Danger Zone (Kenny Loggins) can’t be beaten on originality alone.

For all their similarities both films are very different. One is essentially about romance and friendship, while the other is about past regrets and getting older.

But which is the better movie?

Does the film that caused sales of aviator sunglasses to skyrocket and also made Tom Cruise a household name still “take your breath away”, or has a sequel made more than three decades later done the impossible and shown us that a “classic” can indeed be improved upon?

Have your say in the comments.

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