TOP GUN: MAVERICK*CUT TO THE CHASE*
NOTE: This spoiler was submitted by Jeremy
The opening text mentions how in 1969, the U.S. Navy established a school for fighter pilots. It is officially referred to as Fighter Weapons School, but the recruits call it “Top Gun”. We see several recruits and Navy men on the ships where the pilots take off or make their returns.
Captain Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise) rides his motorcycle to a base where he is set for a scramjet flight demonstration, but he is told that Rear Admiral Chester “Hammer” Cain (Ed Harris) is on his way to shut the program down to redirect funds elsewhere. Not feeling deterred, Maverick takes the jet just as Cain arrives, and he flies it into the sky, taking it past its original Mach 9 projection and hitting Mach 10, to the delight of the crew. However, Maverick tries to take it faster and ends up wrecking the jet, but he manages to eject in time.
Cain chews Maverick out for his actions, but while he wants to have Maverick grounded, Cain instead informs him that he has been called back to NAS North Island by his former rival/colleague, Admiral Tom “Iceman” Kazansky (Val Kilmer). Maverick heads to the base to meet Vice Admiral Beau “Cyclone” Simpson (Jon Hamm) and Rear Admiral Solomon “Warlock” Bates (Charles Parnell). Cyclone makes it clear that he doesn’t see in Maverick whatever Ice sees in him, but he informs Maverick of the task at hand. A rogue nation is operation a uranium facility, and Maverick must teach a new group of recruits to find a way to make it to the base and bomb it.
Maverick goes to a bar where he reunites with Penny Benjamin (Jennifer Connelly), an ex-girlfriend that he left a while ago, which pissed off her admiral father. She bears no ill will toward Maverick, but she ends up making him pay a round for everyone at the bar. At the same bar, the new class of pilots are there to drink. Among them is hotshot Jake “Hangman” Seresin (Glen Powell), who sees himself as the most likely to lead the new class. There is also Natasha “Phoenix” Trace (Monica Barbaro), Robert “Bob” Floyd (Lewis Pullman), Reuben “Payback” Fitch (Jay Ellis), and Mickey “Fanboy” Garcia (Danny Ramirez). Entering moments later is Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw (Miles Teller), son of Maverick’s late best friend Goose. After Maverick’s card declines, Penny has Hangman and Payback playfully throw Maverick out. Outside, Maverick watches Rooster playing the piano and is reminded of Goose, but Maverick still feels guilt over Goose’s death.
Maverick later meets with the pilots to introduce himself and go over the mission. Since the facility is located deep at the bottom of a canyon, Maverick’s plan to take it out involves having two jets destroy the entrance to the facility before hitting the base itself. Some of the pilots aren’t onboard, like Hangman. Rooster resents Maverick because he pulled Rooster’s application and set his career back by four years. Maverick then goes on with the dogfight exercises with the pilots, showing off his skills to mess with the younger crew. The pilots that fail their exercises are forced to do push-ups. Later on, Hangman discovers Rooster’s connection to Maverick.
Maverick goes back to the bar to pay Penny back what he owes her. He then spends the afternoon on her boat with her, and there is clearly still a spark between them.
In the next round of exercises, Maverick explains to the pilots about how they may lose oxygen and consciousness if they fly too high, reminded them of how high and low they will need to go when they carry out their mission. During the exercise, Rooster is shown to utilize a more cautious approach in his flying. Hangman brings up Maverick’s friendship with Goose, which provokes Rooster into nearly attacking Hangman, but the other pilots split them up.
Ice requests Maverick go visit him. He is suffering from throat cancer and can mainly communicate through a computer. Maverick expresses his concern over working with Rooster, fearing that something will happen to him like with Goose. Ice tells him he must work closely with Rooster, and he manages to speak to Maverick and tell him that the young pilots need him more than he realizes.
Cyclone steps out onto the runway to find that nobody is there. He finds that Maverick brought the pilots over to the beach to play football as a bonding exercise, which appears to work since they are all having fun. Maverick later goes out with Penny and tells her that he pulled Rooster’s application because his mother asked Maverick to look after him before she passed away.
The pilots then undergo a training exercise to strike the target at a certain altitude and in a certain amount of time. Everyone fails to complete the task as needed, with Phoenix needing to eject before her jet crashes. Maverick chastises Rooster for how he handles his exercise, leading to them arguing over Maverick hindering Rooster’s flying career. They are interrupted when Warlock comes in to inform them that Ice has died. A funeral is held for him days later, with Maverick, Penny, and the other pilots in attendance.
Cyclone decides to take over instructional duties from Maverick. When he proposes an alternative plan, the other pilots seem to question him. Outside, the radars detect Maverick flying his jet to complete the exercise, where he is able to fire at the target on the ground with seconds to spare, impressing all the pilots, including Hangman.
The mission is carried out, with Maverick picking Rooster as his wingman, and being joined by Hangman, Phoenix, Fanboy, Payback, and Bob. They fly toward the facility, with their nearby aircraft carrier firing Tomahawk missiles at the base to destroy the runway, causing enemy jets to scramble back toward the target. They manage to launch a missile and destroy the facility, but the enemy sends more pilots after them. The pilots start to fly back, but Maverick’s jet is shot at, causing him to crash.
Rooster turns around and goes to save Maverick. A chopper begins firing at Maverick while he is on foot, but Rooster shoots it down, just before his own jet is shot down, but he manages to eject himself in time. Maverick and Rooster reunite and devise a plan to get out of there. They spot an F-14 Tomcat and take control of it. They start to fly away and are pursued by enemy jets, leading to a dogfight. Although Maverick manages to take two of them out with bullets and flares, they run out of weaponry just as a third jet comes their way. Rooster is also unable to eject himself, so the two accept that they are about to die until Hangman comes through and destroys the last jet.
Maverick and Rooster make it back to the carrier, where their crew congratulates them. Rooster and Hangman have a newfound respect for one another, while Rooster looks at Maverick the same way his father looked at him.
Rooster helps Maverick work on a P-51 Mustang in Maverick’s hangar. Penny shows up, and Maverick takes her for a flight in his plane. Rooster sets down a photo of himself and Maverick right next to an older photo of Maverick and Goose.
Captain Pete "Maverick" Mitchell is called back to his old flight school to train a younger group of pilots to take on a mission to destroy a uranium facility. Making things challenging for Maverick is that one of the pilots is Bradley "Rooster" Bradshaw, son of Maverick's late best friend Goose, who was killed during a flight exercise.
Despite conflicts between the pilots, including Rooster and a cocky pilot called Hangman, Maverick is able to create a bond between them. After his former rival/colleague Iceman dies, the team is ready to carry out the mission after their extensive exercises. They succeed in destroying the facility, but Maverick is shot down by the enemy. Rooster goes back for him but gets shot down after saving Maverick. They find an F-14 Tomcat and fly it out. They get into a dogfight with other enemy pilots and are ultimately saved by Hangman when they run out of ammo.
Rooster and Hangman develop a newfound respect for each other, and Rooster has a better relationship with Maverick. Maverick also reconnects with an old girlfriend, Penny.