Tom Cruise Steals A Brad Pitt Movie Trick In Top Gun 2 – Screen Rant

Tom Cruise Steals A Brad Pitt Movie Trick In Top Gun 2 – Screen Rant

If Tom Cruise can take a backseat in Top Gun: Maverick, the aging actor could copy Brad Pitt’s successful Once Upon A Time In Hollywood rebrand.
In Top Gun: Maverick, Tom Cruise is moving from playing arrogant heroes to a more wizened type of leading man, and Brad Pitt’s role in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood offers the actor an ideal blueprint for this change. In director Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, Brad Pitt played with audience expectations in the role of Cliff Booth. A stuntman who spent very little of the languidly paced movie performing stunts until the barnstorming climax, Booth was a more over-the-hill sort of hero than Pitt typically played, and the role allowed the actor to laugh at his aging while remaining a matinee idol and an action hero.
Now that Top Gun: Maverick is finally arriving in theaters after myriad delays, Tom Cruise’s performance in the title role could repeat this trick. Top Gun: Maverick’s trailers make it clear that the sequel can laugh at the excesses of Top Gun, and the few lines that Maverick has in the teaser imply that Cruise may be able to do the same. The movie from Joseph Kosinski will follow Cruise’s Maverick training young pilots after intentionally avoiding rank promotions in the decades that followed the events of Top Gun. However, the sequel allows the opportunity for a character rebrand.
Related: Is Val Kilmer In Top Gun: Maverick?
Like Pitt’s turn in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, Cruise’s Top Gun: Maverick role may prove that the actor can age gracefully and maintain a sense of humor while also still playing action heroes. However, this means Cruise can treat Top Gun: Maverick as a chance to hit the brakes for the first time in a while. Since the Mission Impossible movies rely on Cruise’s wild stunts, Top Gun: Maverick is the actor’s first opportunity in a while to leave the heavy lifting to younger actors and play a less indestructible brand of antihero. However, if the ending of Once Upon A Time In Hollywood proved anything, it is that patience pays off when it comes to aging actors playing hands-off lead roles.
The latest trailer for Top Gun: Maverick makes it clear that Cruise’s character will be a teacher to these new recruits, but also that he refuses to view himself in those terms. A maverick in name and nature, Cruise’s character can’t accept that he’s growing old enough to be a teacher and not an eternal rebellious student, providing Top Gun: Maverick with its central conflict. Val Kilmer’s Iceman outranking Maverick is a believable detail that proves Cruise’s antihero couldn’t leave his need for speed aside long enough to focus on his career and transition into a safer, more stable type of work between movies. In this regard, the limited ambitions but endless energy of Cruise’s character calls to mind Once Upon A Time In Hollywood’s Cliff, who was perfectly happy to play second fiddle to Leonardo DiCaprio’s brittle B-lister provided that this allowed him the freedom to do what he wanted with his life.
In 2018, Brad Pitt, like Tom Cruise, was seen as a sex symbol and leading man, but a little too long in the tooth to be competing with the likes of Chris Evans and Channing Tatum. The underperformance of Allied, like the failure of Cruise’s The Mummy remake (and Universal’s Dark Universe more broadly), proved the pair were not the A-list draws they used to be at the box office despite both being acclaimed actors as well as blockbuster names. However, Pitt’s fortunes changed when he starred in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, a movie that made the actor’s aging into part of Pitt’s appeal. Suddenly, Pitt was a self-aware elder statesman, gaining gravitas and a certain self-aware sense of humor about his former fame like Robert Redford and Harrison Ford before him. Roles in The Lost City and Bullet Train took advantage of this grizzled new charisma, something that Cruise could benefit from going forward. This is why Cruise should try to repeat Pitt’s Once Upon A Time In Hollywood success in Top Gun: Maverick, even though it would mean going out of his comfort zone in terms of character.
Cruise’s Top Gun: Maverick character being a mentor is not going to keep the actor from performing the movie’s most impressive high-flying stunts. The little footage that viewers have seen from Top Gun: Maverick so far makes it clear that Maverick will do plenty of impressive flying in the sequel, and it is obvious that time hasn’t blunted his character’s infamous “need for speed” at all. However hard as it might be for Cruise to do, the actor should perform less, not more, stunts in the new Top Gun movie.  What made Pitt’s Once Upon A Time In Hollywood performance so effective was that for most of the movie, he was just playing an old stuntman who was past his prime and at his happiest when shooting the breeze. When he finally lets loose in the finale, it is classic Tarantino, but it’s only effective because of how long Once Upon A Time In Hollywood treats him as a likable old has-been.
Related: Top Gun 2 Is Showing Pirates of the Caribbean 6 Its Best Reboot Approach
Anyone watching Top Gun: Maverick expects Maverick to clash with Kilmer’s Iceman, perform spectacular maneuvers, and save the day. However, to repeat Pitt’s Once Upon A Time In Hollywood rebrand, Cruise shouldn’t impress from the opening scenes of Top Gun: Maverick onwards. Instead, he should seem as old and worn-down as Pitt’s character and surprise audiences by being the old Maverick when it really counts. This is doubly true when the Mission: Impossible franchise, in contrast, still relies on Cruise’s physicality. Those spy thrillers still need Cruise to perform impressive stunts as part of their primary appeal, whereas there are young recruits in Top Gun: Maverick who can pull off the sequel’s early action sequences. If Top Gun: Maverick prioritizes Cruise’s mentor role and leaves its heroism new characters at first, holding off on showing Maverick’s abilities until the finale, the movie could give Cruise a chance to address his aging with humor, grace, and soul. Once that is out of the way, Tom Cruise’s Top Gun: Maverick hero can do just as much unexpected ass-kicking as Once Upon A Time In Hollywood’s Brad Pitt.
More: Top Gun: Maverick’s Plot Must Follow John Carpenter’s Advice
Cathal Gunning has been writing about movies and TV online since 2020. His obsessions include The Simpsons, Stephen King, the Scream series, and the horror genre in general. He has spent more time thinking about Stranger Things than the writers of Stranger Things, and he has never seen a Star War.

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