Tom Cruise Didn't Want Audiences To Watch Top Gun: Maverick – He Wanted Them To Feel It [Exclusive]

"Top Gun: Maverick" was a massive success, quickly becoming the highest-grossing movie of Tom Cruise's already very successful career. It's easy to see why: It's a visually stunning and deeply earnest film about Pete "Maverick" Mitchell as he connects with the son of his old best friend, Goose, who died in the first movie. Goose's son, Bradley "Rooster" Bradshaw (Miles Teller), resents Maverick for slowing down his career as a fighter pilot, while Maverick is desperately trying to save Rooster from suffering the same tragic end as his father. The movie succeeds precisely because of how well it nails this central conflict.

/Film's own Jack Giroux spoke with the editor of "Top Gun: Maverick," Eddie Hamilton, who confirmed that capturing the emotions of the story was the top priority. "[Tom Cruise] tries to make films which resonate emotionally with an audience. It's really important that you don't watch the film, you feel the film. That's constantly what he's telling us."

Sure enough, "Top Gun: Maverick" makes you feel the effect Goose's death still has on Maverick. It makes you feel the complicated, heavy emotions he feels about Rooster, especially considering how much Rooster's attitude and demeanor reminds him of Goose. Even if you hadn't watched the original film, this storyline has a weight to it that you don't often see in most blockbuster movies. (You can read our review of it here.)

The holy grail

"The audience has to feel it," Hamilton continued. "You don't want them observing it. You want them to be on an emotional journey which is completely seamless from beginning to end, which is almost the holy grail of a movie." 

By all accounts, it looks like they've succeeded. "Top Gun: Maverick" is a straightforward movie where, if you're looking at it from a distance, you can probably guess exactly where things are going from the first few scenes. There are a lot of things here that would probably bother you in any other movie, like the fact that the movie's incredibly vague about where the big mission at the end takes place, but none of that really matter here. When it comes to the core relationships between Maverick and Goose — as well as Maverick and Penny (Jennifer Connelly) — the movie nails every emotional beat. 

Hamilton is also excited about the impact this movie might have on young kids who, thanks to the pandemic, likely hadn't been to theaters in years before their parents took them to see it. "One of their earliest memories of moviegoing will be seeing this incredible film and it might start their love affair with movies," he said. "There might be a whole generation of kids out there who talk about 'Top Gun: Maverick' as being something that lit the fire of creativity in them." We can only hope.