It’s one of those sequels everyone has been waiting for. Original fans, new fans, kids, adults. Even the royal family was excited for Top Gun: Maverick to come out, so much so that Prince William and Kate Middleton hit the red carpet premiere and admitted their kids would be so “jealous” they got to see the movie without them. But here’s the thing; the original Top Gun was not exactly a kid-friendly movie, per se. So what can parents expect from the new movie? Should everyone get excited about the sequel as a family, or is this one of those adults-only nights out? Here’s what parents need to know.
A milder Maverick emerges.
Fans of the 1986 megahit Top Gun all remember Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise), a rebellious pilot with an attitude, a crush on his instructor (Kelly McGillis), and a good-natured best friend Goose (Anthony Edwards) who tragically dies as a result of their flying antics together. That loss in the original film left Maverick struggling to overcome his guilt and get back in the cockpit, and also appears to have made him a calmer, more responsible pilot in the sequel. This time around, Maverick has been called upon to teach a new generation of pilots for a special assignment, one of whom is the son of the best friend he lost.
The movie delivers a solid message... peppered with curse words.
Any kid who loves planes and speed and the idea of being a fighter pilot will of course find the adrenaline-kick of Top Gun: Maverick exciting, and the reality is that there is some pretty positive messaging in the movie. The overriding themes of friendship, loyalty, and determination when facing difficult situations are enough reason to see the movie, particularly as Maverick teaches the students to protect each other in the air. But there’s also some swearing in the movie, and naturally some violence as the fighter jets engage with enemies. Common Sense Media notes that the air battles often end with victims parachuting to safety, and they are not bloody. Which makes Top Gun: Maverick a bit easier for preteen kids to watch with their parents.
Top Gun: Maverick is tame compared to the original.
As far as sex and nudity go, there’s essentially none. Maverick’s girlfriend Penny (Jennifer Connelly) is always fully clothed, and there’s one scene where sex is implied but not shown. The only semi-nudity is when the boys hit the beach for some sand sports, as an homage to the original beach volleyball scene. But even then, it’s incredibly tame compared to the original. Much like the rest of the movie.
What is Top Gun: Maverick rated?
Top Gun: Maverick is rated PG-13 for sequences of intense action and some strong language. Which feels right on the money, although more mature kids from 10-13 would probably enjoy the movie too, depending on their parents’ comfort level with swearing.
Top Gun: Maverick is currently playing in theaters across the country, so check your local listings. But before you head out to the theater, consider streaming the original Top Gun for a refresher on all things Maverick. Or to see Tom Cruise singing “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling.” It’s worth it.