You can learn a lot from movies. Like how teamwork can overcome any obstacle, whether it be extraterrestrial threats to the planet or a cartel of mysterious bad guys. The importance of fulfilling relationships in your personal life and career; heck even the Incredible Hulk had an easier time with his anger management issues when leaning on his fellow Avengers. Then there’s how much an individual can grow personally when they are willing to check their ego at the door.
Top Gun: Maverick has all of those elements and more. I was hooked from the moment the Kenny Loggins song Danger Zone started playing in the opening credits, and then the great character development and full-circle story kept me riveted. From the rapt expressions on the faces of fellow theater-goers, kids, grandparents, fellow GenXers and Millennials around me, representing a diversity of ethnic backgrounds, it was apparent I wasn’t alone.
But what has been surprising is the incredible outpouring of love for this Tom Cruise flick from so many sectors. It has been the topic of numerous social media posts and water cooler conversations – both in-person and virtual – since debuting less than a week ago. After some deliberation, I realized why. In a time when it feels like people are more divided than ever before, humans want to feel joy, hope and a sense of connection. Top Gun: Maverick, the feel-good movie we all needed, whether we knew it or not, provides a heaping dose of that.
Here are four reasons why that flick has become the one thing we can all agree on:
1. It signals a return to pre-pandemic normalcy.
This is the first summer blockbuster we’ve seen on the big screen in several years. Whether you opted for a mask or not, coming together to watch Top Gun: Maverick in a theater felt like a return to better times.
2. Focus on personal growth.
Top Gun: Maverick is essentially about relationships – Maverick’s touching relationship with Iceman, what he is willing to sacrifice for his best friend’s son and his growth and maturity when it comes to romantic relationships with Jennifer Connelly cast as the romantic lead. His character is not the only one who evolves either, as a number of cast members check their ego to better collaborate with each other for the greater good.
3. Builds a sense of pride.
I’m not spoiling anything by sharing that Top Gun: Maverick is an upbeat movie about the U.S. taking actions for the betterment of the world at large. The cast is diverse, and incredibly fit. Whatever is going on with domestic or international politics, it showcases that our country is strong, and no problem is insurmountable when we all work together.
4. Emphasis on gratitude.
Gratitude is a powerful force – people want to be acknowledged and thanked for their good works and support. Tom Cruise shares a personal message with the movie audience before the movie starts, thanking people for coming back to theaters to watch Top Gun: Maverick. Many characters who initially experienced tension come to appreciate each other and verbalize their new perspectives. It reinforces the positive impact of gratitude in our daily lives as well as on-screen.
If you’ve seen Top Gun: Maverick, what did you think about the movie? What other movies have you seen that united viewing audiences?
If you have been feeling a little – or even a lot – stuck these days, check out my “What Kind of Stuck Are You?” Quiz to gain more insight on what may be holding you back – and what to do about it.
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