Take My Breath Away (or Not): Ladner Talks Top Gun

Take My Breath Away (or Not): Ladner Talks Top Gun


In 1986, Tony Scott directed an action-packed Top Gun with 24-year-old hotshot Tom Cruise. After initially mixed reviews, the film blew up and grossed $357 million. The best part of the film, however, was the soundtrack. One of the most iconic songs of all time, Berlin’s “Take My Breath Away,” written for Top Gun, won a Golden Globe and is still played today.

Nearly 40 years later, Cruise returns for a sequel, Top Gun: Maverick.

In my opinion, the soundtrack was the best part of the first movie because I question if Top Gun would be resurfaced for another edition 40 years later if it weren’t for the soundtrack that aged perfectly—the only awards the movie won were for the soundtrack. In fact, the soundtrack may have had potential to be even better, as Toto considered singing for multiple tracks including Danger Zone.

Another star candidate to perform songs was Bryan Adams, but he refused permission to use any of his music in the film as he thought it glorified violence and didn’t want to support that message. Toto and Top Gun didn’t work out due to legal conflicts.

The timing of the sequel feels odd and random, given such a large gap since the initial movie was released. Additionally, a sequel taking place 40 years later is almost unheard of in Hollywood. Seriously, the only part of the original film that is relevant in 2022 is one song that is circulating on TikTok backing videos completely unrelated to Top Gun. Junior Calvin King said he “didn’t even know that [Take My Breath Away] was related to [the movie].” This is all to say that maybe Tony Scott got lucky and Berlin carried his movie, but regardless, the fact that a sequel is debuting in 2022 and has already surpassed its predecessor in all metrics must mean the original was good enough for people to remember it.

So far, it’s safe to say Top Gun: Maverick has carried on the Top Gun legacy. Once it hit theaters, it broke records immediately. As of now, it is already the No. 12 highest-grossing film of all time at $1.4 billion globally and still growing. But does the movie truly deserve these huge numbers?

Sophomore Ryder Shiffman said, “The movie was absolutely crazy” and it had him on “the edge of [his] seat the whole time.”

Others, such as sophomore Cristiano Tricoci, thought it was “good but shouldn’t be making more money than Avengers: Infinity War already.”

As I see it, Maverick is getting some underserved attention, being that the movie itself lacks a strong plot and character depth. The movie felt like an overdose of action. At first, the action was entertaining and exciting—the sheer size and precision of our military’s advanced jets was fascinating, and to see Tom Cruise showboat in them was a blast. In fact, the movie was set at a real U.S. naval base with replicas of real military jets!

But after watching scene after scene of planes racing each other on the same course with writing that kept trying to land a badass, edgy line with repeated empty dialogue, I started to get bored.

Sophomore Sam Apple felt similarly, complaining that “there was no major switch in setting or plot, really.”

Personally, I prefer movies that make the viewer think, ones that have long, drawn-out plots with twists, and display character development. I also enjoy straight-action movies, but Top Gun: Maverick’s action scenes began to feel like carbon copies of each other, with each being easier to predict than the one prior. Even the big “twist” of *SPOILER* Maverick surviving after turning back to save Bradshaw was frustratingly predictable.

The movie definitely did not miss with the cast, though. Director Joseph Kosinski assembled a superstar lineup featuring Val Kilmer, Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, and of course, Cruise. It seems as though all popular movies nowadays attempt to build a superteam of actors to draw in views rather than focusing on the quality of the film. Recent blockbusters have found the budget to include a vast amount of stars—even random celebrities that don’t act!

Another great aspect of the new film is the soundtrack—needless to say, Top Gun did it again. The new soundtrack consists of great instrumentals, Kenny Loggins’ Danger Zone, Great Balls of Fire sung live by Miles Teller, along with two originals: Hold My Hand by Lady Gaga, and I Ain’t Worried by OneRepublic. Both originals have blown up online through streaming apps and social media. Freshman Josh Solovy said, “The songs made the movie so much better” and he hears them “almost every day online.” Top Gun: Maverick definitely carried on its predecessor’s legacy with film and music, earning better reviews and more money from fans.