Top Gun: Maverick was one of the top movies of 2022 largely thanks to its patriotic themes, and an MSNBC editor thinks that’s a problem.
As the blockbuster heads into the Academy Awards with six nominations tomorrow, Zeeshan Aleem published a scathing opinion piece that slammed the film for being “as insidious as it is entertaining” by accusing the writers of creating a story that “beckons for a return to accepting the American war machine.”
The movie follows up the 1986 classic that put two young Navy pilots, Maverick and Goose, in the military’s most esteemed flight school. There Maverick learns hard truths about love and war.
In the reboot, Maverick returns to the school, this time as an instructor, and he helps a new class become U.S. heroes while he finally overcomes personal issues that have stunted his career for three decades.
Many fans heralded the story for painting America as the good guy as they cheered for the young recruits. And they loved returning to the cherished Top Gun story that has remained a steadfast fan-favorite. But Aleem claims the feeling they got while watching is “a poisonous kind of nostalgia, one that smuggles love of endless war into a celebration of live action.”
Along with that assertion, Aleem accused the movie of being “literal propaganda.”
“In exchange for access to military aircraft, the producers of the movie agreed to allow the Defense Department to include its own ‘key talking points’ in the script,” he wrote. “Perhaps equally important, the script had to be written in a manner that flatters the military in order to secure the buy-in of the Pentagon. (Even then, defense officials requested “revisions” to the characters and their actions.) This collaboration in jingoism is evident throughout the script.”
MSNBC Editor Calls ‘Top Gun: Maverick” ‘Literal’ Military ‘Propaganda’
The editor further claimed that the military used both the Top Gun as “recruitment tools.” The first was allegedly an attempt to restore its reputation after the Vietnam War, and the second was to help give the military a positive spin following the “failed war on terror.”
Alheem said the Air Force capitalized on the heightened recruitment possibilities by running ads in theaters “with imperialistic lines like ‘the entire sky belongs to us.'”
Zeeshan Aleem did recognize that the film has enjoyable qualities. However, he believes they’re all overshadowed by messages hidden within the plot. He further went on the openly hope it loses in every category during the Academy Awards.
“I don’t object to anyone’s enjoyment of the film, but I hope it tanks at the Oscars,” he added. “It’s possible to make thrilling action without so brazenly priming the public for warfare.”
You can read the entire piece on MSNBC.