Top Gun: Maverick – Built-to-Order War Propaganda for the US Army
Top Gun: Maverickthe continuation of Superior gun from 1986, is an empty, repulsive film commissioned by the US military to unreservedly revel in its war machine. It’s full of explosive action sequences, close-ups of fighter jets and other weapons, empty bravado and little else.
The “blockbuster,” which stars Tom Cruise returning as Captain Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, picks up 36 years after the conclusion of the original film (directed by Tony Scott, produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and starring Cruise, Val Kilmer and Kelly McGillis) in which protagonist Mitchell becomes the star pilot of an elite military flight school (dubbed “Top Gun”). He overcomes the loss of his best friend/wingman “Goose” (played by Anthony Edwards) and excels in a bombing raid against an unnamed enemy fighter.
In the sequel, directed by Joseph Kosinski and co-produced by Bruckheimer and Cruise, Mitchell has been demoted from a test flight program (in which the main character flies a hypersonic aircraft, donated for the scene courtesy of the military contractor Lockheed Martin) to the role of instructor in the same Top Gun flight school from the first film.
There, he must assemble a strike team of new recruits in order to carry out a dangerous mission against an enemy force secretly enriching uranium. Although not stated, it is implied that the adversary is either Iran or Russia.
The new sequel grossed millions of dollars in ticket sales. Since its release on May 27 in the United States, Top Gun: Maverick has grossed over $292 million domestically and over $557 million internationally as of this writing. “For the first time in his four-decade career, 59-year-old Tom Cruise has a movie that has a real shot at joining the billion-dollar club at the global box office,” Ravens Yahoo! Finance.
Millions of people came to see this film, perhaps drawn by the big-name cast, the desire to be safe from the ever-present COVID-19 pandemic during the first weeks of summer, and the cost increasingly unaffordable gas and food. The largely “apolitical” nature of the film’s conflict allows many to simply enjoy the pilots’ high-G stunts.
However, all of Top Gun: MaverickThe imagery of is designed to present sanitized and mythological images of war and combat. According to new statesmanCruise was “initially reluctant” to participate in the picture until he was assured that the film’s central theme was “excellence” rather than specific conflict.
“Similar to the original film”, the entertainment website Indiewire says, “The producers of ‘Top Gun’ met with Pentagon military leaders…the Pentagon had full veto power over the script in exchange for production access to advanced weapons of war.”
According Fortune, Paramount Pictures “paid up to $11,374 an hour to use the advanced fighter jets” while “Cruise ended up doing over a dozen outings for the new film”. Glen Roberts, head of the Pentagon’s Office of Entertainment Media, outlined the terms of the Pentagon’s cooperation, telling the publication that a movie must “maintain the integrity of the military.”
“The Pentagon and the CIA are the equivalent of The Godfather,” says Roger Stahl, professor of communications studies at the University of Georgia and maker of documentaries on the subject, in comments quoted by covert action magazine. According to the professor,[t]Hey, [the military and intelligence agencies] decide which films will be made and which films will be shelved, and redeem filmmakers by promising them access to Pentagon toys.
“From 1989 to 2018,” the publication continues, “the Pentagon Entertainment Office … worked closely with favored directors such as [Top Gun director/producer] Bruckheimer and Michael Bay, producer of Transformers (2007), and helped promote science fiction films where superheroes saved civilization with military weapons in alliance with the US military.
Cruise himself acknowledged 30 years ago in an interview with Playboy that many have criticized Superior gun as an “irresponsible…right-wing movie to promote the navy.” Director Oliver Stone, in even harsher comments to publication in 1988, said Superior gun “was essentially a fascist film. He sold the idea that war is clean, war can be won… no one in the movie ever mentions that he just started WWIII!
“The Navy is certainly hoping it gets a public relations boost” from the film, says the Army’s Task and Purpose website. The website notes that “36 years after the US Navy set up infamous recruiting booths in movie theaters during the screening of Top Gun, they’re back, in time for the Top Gun: Maverick sequel.” This time, however, “[i]Instead of Vietnam, the US military deals with the legacy of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The media gave the new film rave reviews in both the far-right and nominally “left” capitalist press. The Fascist Breitbart called the film “a male, pro-American, stridently unwoke blockbuster”. vanity lounge proclaims it to be “an exhilarating, beautifully produced military recruiting ad that favors neither Republican nor Democratic sensibilities.” He manages to paint a conflict over nuclear weapons as downright funny!
The New York Times‘ review is absurd, proclaiming it “a serious statement of the thesis that movies can and should be great”.
The World Socialist Website has already written about this kind of “integrated cinema” of the most reprehensible and even sinister variety. While the creators of such works may claim that their film is “apolitical”, a definite political point of view is presented, favorable to American militarism, focusing instead on war “in the abstract”.
The reality of American militarism, however, must be seen in the evidence of the systematic cover-up of civilian deaths in American wars and occupations abroad. This appears alongside the incidents of post-traumatic stress disorder, wounded and dead American soldiers, distraught and broken families, caused by troop participation in America’s foreign wars.
In the US Navy, an outbreak of suicide deaths aboard naval battleships has revealed “unlivable” conditions, in which sailors stationed to live on board “are semi-homeless”, forced to live near “bathrooms baths and hallways flooded with murky brown and black sewage,” among others.
The USS Theodore Roosevelt, the battleship from which the Maverick team launched its aerial assaults, was at the center of a major outbreak of COVID-19 in the military in 2020, when thousands of crew members tested positive and several died on active duty.
This reality undermines the “integrity” of the US military as an institution, and so it must be banned from being seen. As the Biden administration continues to deepen the conflict with Russia in Eastern Europe while planning a simultaneous conflict with China, the American ruling class is demanding that the American public “rally around the troops,” with its spokespersons in the media and entertainment establishment dutifully playing their part. rooms.