There’s no denying that Top Gun and its sequel are great blockbusters, and a lot of fun to watch in general. I would normally say that I like them both equally, but seeing Top Gun: Maverick with my dad was such a great experience that I might lean towards the sequel, as it provided me with a unique experience that I won’t soon forget. I’ve noticed that I’m not alone in this regard, as many people have brought their fathers to see Tom Cruise’s latest blockbuster, and that familial bond is worth celebrating.
I don’t know anyone who loves Top Gun as much as my dad. The year after the film came out, my dad was the program director for a summer camp. He set up Top Gun-themed games, made Top Gun money for the kids to win, had the soundtrack going all the time, and gave everyone callsigns (my dad was Maverick, of course). For years I had heard about how it was a seminal film for him, but it wasn’t until the sequel that I would see that for myself. Top Gun: Maverick is even the first film that would bring him back to movie theaters, as the COVID-19 pandemic improved in Canada.
I was excited to see it with him not only to observe his reaction to the sequel but because hanging with my dad is fun. He’s very gruff a lot of the time, but goofy on a whim — probably like a lot of dads of that generation. My brother and I thought that, with Father’s Day coming up, it would be a good idea to bring my dad to Top Gun: Maverick. I even splurged on D-Box seats, which are bigger, comfier, automated chairs that move in sync with the film. If ever there was a movie and outing that could benefit from those seats, I figured it was this one.
And it sure worked. We all had a blast watching the movie, zooming from side to side as the planes did. Seeing Maverick show a new generation how to fly, pulling off incredible feats, and seeing Iceman motivate him were all moments that landed perfectly. My dad ended up turning the intensity of his seat all the way up and talking on the way home about the different actors and actresses from the two movies.
I’ve rarely had this kind of cross-generational common ground with my dad. He enjoys the movies and shows that I tend to watch, but I think part of that has always been done mainly for me. Here, we were both astounded by the film as it played, leading to an energetic ride home and a good time being had by all. No one was appeasing anyone else, it was just a good time for a tight family.
Hearing about what parts my dad loved and how cool the seats were made for a great bonding experience a few weeks ahead of Father’s Day. Since I was a teenager, my dad has had to hear me freak out about what characters from the comics are showing up in Marvel movies, or what Expanded Universe lore is being implemented into Star Wars. For once, I got to see him be a big fan, and that was a truly memorable moment. It wasn’t a monumental recompense for all those years of listening to me be a dork, but it felt like paying him back at least a tiny bit, all while enjoying a genuinely good film that appeals to both age groups.
If your dad is a Top Gun fan, I’d recommend meeting up with them to check out the film for Father’s Day. It’s not only a strong film that does its own thing while respecting the first movie, but it’s an excellent excuse to hang with your dad and do something he enjoys. Even if you or he never saw the original, the effect is pretty similar, and experiences like this feel exceedingly rare as you get older. Whether it’s the high-octane flying scenes or the well-presented drama, there’s something about Top Gun that brings dads and their kids together, making Maverick the perfect Father’s Day flick.