Study Guide

Top Gun Genre

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Fasten Your Seatbelts

Hmm. Let's see. There are fighter jets. Combat sequences. And one slick motorcycle.

Action much? Okay, so Top Gun isn't the kind of action movie that Michael Bay would make, with CGI'd buildings blowing up right and left and all that kind of stuff. But it's action-packed, to say the least. It's an action movie in the way that real life can be, specifically, real life as a Navy fighter pilot.

The two encounters with MiG-28's that frame the movie are tense, action-packed sequences, with tons of acrobatic flying, a comic middle finger courtesy of Maverick, and (in the final sequence) several missile-induced explosions. While we're on the topic, let's not forget about all the training exercises at Top Gun. Guys chasing each other in 30 million dollar jets at supersonic speeds? That's action, without question.

But What About Drama and Romance?

While the flying portions of Top Gun are action-packed, the stuff that happens on land is a little different. While we're on terra firma, so to speak, we witness Maverick's personal drama and budding romance with his instructor, Charlie. Maverick is at war with his past, he's at war with the rules of Top Gun, he's at war with Iceman. On top of that, he has a major crush on Charlie, his instructor, who dodges him for a while. Heck, they don't have their first kiss until Maverick gets really mad at her for giving him a hard time in front of all his buddies.

Like lots of other drama and romance films, these problems eventually resolve themselves, but things get worse before they get better. Maverick loses Goose, loses his edge, and loses Top Gun (well, he quits, anyway). He bails on Charlie, too, and when he tries to go back for her, she's already moved out.

Luckily for Maverick, with a little help from Viper, and maybe from Goose's spirit, he's able to make peace with his past. In another lucky break, Charlie comes back for him, and actually surprises him by playing the song on the jukebox that he once sang to her. The film ends with a happier Maverick, who, we presume, will go on being romantically involved with Charlie for many years to come.

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