If you are like me, you just can’t stop thinking about Top Gun: Maverick these days. It has been days since I left the theater and can’t believe how well done and thought out the movie was overall. You can even say it took my breath away. Sorry…
To be honest, it’s the best action movie I have seen in nearly a decade, and really something that will get Americans back into the movie theaters after the COVID-19 pandemic made attendance slump for years.
Yes, I could nitpick countless points, plot twists, and comparisons to real-life military strategy, tactics, and realism for sure.
But let’s face it: we did not go to see this move for realism. We went to see it to be entertained.
And entertained I was. If I wanted a realistic military battle, this was surely not the movie, and you know what, we should not look at this movie through such a lens.
Nonetheless, I did leave the movie with a few obvious questions, as I am sure you did too.
From those who study the U.S. military for a living to those who just watch and admire the U.S. Navy from afar, there are some clear questions Top Gun: Maverick might have left you with.
19FortyFive has done our best to answer some of those obvious questions and provide you with a few answers.
Here are five questions about Top Gun: Maverick that just won’t go away that we have tried to answer for everyone. And yes, I am going to reveal some plot details so you may want to stop reading if you have not seen the movie yet:
1. F-35 Stealth Fighter: Why Isn’t It the Top Fighter? Read our primer on the subject here.
2. Why Is the F/A-18 Super Hornet the Main Fighter Jet? Check out what one expert told us here.
3. Could an F-14 Tomcat Really Kill a Su-57 Stealth Fighter Supplied by Russia? Check out our analysis here.
4. Why No Emphasis on Stealth Technology? We looked into that here.
5. Lastly: How is the F-14 Still Flying? In fact, Iran flies it to this day. You can read about it right here.
Bonus: Why does the ending sequence seem so much like Star Wars: a New Hope? Read all about it here.
And these, to be honest, were some of the most basic questions many people had, or at least the ones that seem the most common.
There have been a lot of questions, however, about the attack run on the most likely Iranian nuclear facility. That to me seems like the biggest stretch as it makes no sense why the U.S. military would fire a massive amount of cruise missiles at the air base and not use those same cruise missiles on the air defense systems that the Super Hornet pilots in Top Gun: Maverick are so worried about.
But, to be honest, to make movie magic you need an enemy, and air defense systems and the threat of Russian stealth fighters provide that. So, again, you might want to drop your military training watching this flick.
Harry J. Kazianis (@Grecianformula) serves as President and CEO of Rogue States Project, a bipartisan national security think tank. He has held senior positions at the Center for the National Interest, the Heritage Foundation, the Potomac Foundation, and many other think tanks and academic institutions focused on defense issues. His ideas have been published in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, CNN, CNBC, and many other outlets across the political spectrum. He holds a graduate degree focusing on International Relations from Harvard University and is the author of the book The Tao of A2/AD, a study of Chinese military modernization. Kazianis also worked for a large telecommunication firm for ever a decade before his career in national security.