Top Gun Vs Top Gun Maverick

Top Gun vs Top Gun Maverick: Which is Better? (2024)

It was almost 37 years ago when the Tom Cruise movie Top Gun premiered.

In the last year 2022, Top Gun: Maverick became the highest-grossing film of the year 2022 and hauled over $719 million worth of ticket sales.

Even with that record-breaking profit, some Top Gun fans are still not convinced that the 2022 sequel is better than the original.

We researched, watched the films, and created an in-depth comparison between Top Gun vs Top Gun: Maverick to help you determine which is better.

Top Gun Original vs Top Gun: Maverick Face Off

Top Gun Original and Top Gun Logo

We hate to burst the bubbles of the "original" fans, but Top Gun: Maverick sweeps out the big screen and most of the awards when compared to the first film.

We've laid out which is better when the storyline, characters, and production value, up to Tom Cruise's performance, is considered.

Head-To-Head Battle


When the first film was made, the cold war was still ongoing. The original Top Gun used this momentum to establish the character of Tom Cruise.

On the other hand, Top Gun: Maverick's plot is centered on the end of Maverick's era as drones are starting to replace many humans.

Maverick, not pleased with the new changes, was able to use his frustrations and help Iceman guide the new generation of fighter pilots and execute a deadly mission.

In Top Gun: Maverick, Iceman finally gets his due respect after Maverick helps him train the ace recruits.

Read: Our Favorite Top Gun Movie Quotes

Characters & Pilots

Photo of Young Tom Cruise

Pete "Maverick" Mitchell is the lead for both films. However, not all characters from the original film were with Maverick in the 2022 sequel.

Characters like Tom "Iceman" Kazansky (Val Kilmer), his friend who has throat cancer, and Penny Benjamin (Jennifer Connelly) are still part of the new movie.

Bradley "Rooster" Bradshaw, played by Miles Teller, Goose's son, acted as the counterpart of Anthony Edwards from the first film.

However, director Joseph Kosinski decided to cut off Tim Robbins and Michael Ironside; and Rooster's mother, Carole (Meg Ryan).

The new cast includes Top Gun recruits like Glen Powell, Jon Hamm, Ed Harris, and Charles Parnell.

Element Of Comedy

Anyone who watched the original Top Gun movie and the sequel Top Gun: Maverick will agree that both movies are not made to make us laugh.

However, the newer movie tried to add a slight flavor of humor by incorporating funny clips like the scene with the kid in the bar after Tom Cruise achieved Mach 10.

Love Story

Photo of Jennifer Connelly

Jennifer Connelly replaced Kelly Mcgillis as Tom Cruise's love interest in Top Gun: Maverick.

Penny is not a pilot and is not in the original film, but was mentioned as a friend. In the new film, Maverick's romance with her became the movie's love story element.

Both movies did a great job of putting a flavor of romance into the franchise.

Read: Our Favorite Top Gun Party Ideas

Mission/Flight Plan Clarity

In Top Gun: Maverick, Maverick learns that he is not always the best and is about to retire when he is asked to train a new set of recruits for a deadly mission.

Critics said that the sequel explained the nuances of the missions and flight plan better than the original Top Gun film.

Budget & Production Values

The Original Top Gun only has a $15 million production budget. Comparing it to the $170 production budget of Top Gun: Maverick, it is clear that the 2022 movie wins this category.

Action & Flying Scenes

Fighter Jet

The seasoned actor, Tom Cruise, could execute the action and flight scenes (with more screen time) better than in the first film when he was still at the beginning of his career.

For the technical side, no scenes in both movie have absurd effects like great balls of fire coming out from the jets.

Due to the huge budget for the sequel, the writer and directors could go the extra mile on the big screen with their high-technology props and effects.


Audiences are in for a treat with the soundtrack of the 2022 movie.

Top Gun: Maverick used the "Danger Zone" track by Kenny Loggins, the same as the intro track of the original Top Gun.

The 2022 movie also added new songs to their track, including those from the Pop singer Lady Gaga and the group OneRepublic.

Female Characters Representation

A female fighter pilot, Phoenix is depicted as competitive and skillful as her contemporary male jetfighters.

While the original film also did this by showing that the female lead is also part of the Top Gun crew, the 2022 movie depicted men to be more composed and not jerk-like.

The Top Gun: Maverick wins this category as it gives better female character representation throughout the storyline.

Tom Cruise's Performance

Tom Cruise Flying Fighter Jet

A Tom Cruise movie will always have the thrill of action and a sense of adventure, and both movies were able to portray this in Maverick's world.

However, the seasoned actor played his role better in the sequel as his old age and experience compliments the rest of the cast and the storyline.

Seasoned stars like Tom Skerritt and Val Kilmer also did justice to their characters.


What bar is featured in Top Gun: Maverick?

The Top Gun world has its Hard Deck bar made from scratch, deriving inspiration from the Officer's Bar at the Top Gun School in Fallon, Nevada.

Why is Top Gun: Maverick so controversial?

One of the clipboard-related topics is the controversy with the film's production, where the Russian billionaire Rybolovlev's role in funding the movie was questioned [1].

Another issue was allegedly the missing Taiwanese flag from Tom Cruise's jacket (which he wore in the prequel) to reportedly "avoid alienating" Chinese fans [2].

Which is more successful, Top Gun or Top Gun: Maverick?

The Top Gun: Maverick is more successful, with a box office hit of $719 profit from tickets compared to the prequel's $357.3 million.

Final Verdict

The Top Gun: Maverick is better than the original when considering various factors. It has a better storyline, cast, execution, revenue, and technology.

However, this doesn't mean that the original is bad. Start watching the prequel first if you want to understand the 2022 Maverick better.

Get your hands on a fantastic Top Gun suit and jacket and beat your opponent (Maverick style) by checking Toynk out.

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