'Top Gun: Maverick' Gets That Sweat Is an Essential 'Top Gun' Ingredient

The original 'Top Gun' was a famously sweaty movie, and 'Maverick' knows when to bring it out.

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Miles Teller looking like a well-basted boy in 'Top Gun: Maverick.' | Paramount Pictures
Miles Teller looking like a well-basted boy in 'Top Gun: Maverick.' | Paramount Pictures

Top Gun: Maverick has already more than proved itself a worthy sequel and, just as Tom Cruise hoped, a boon for seeing movies on the big screen. It earned $160.5 million in its opening weekend and is estimated to top out at around $300 million by the end of its domestic run, according to The Hollywood Reporter. It handed Lady Gaga the chance to revive the big movie ballad. It had grown men crying and hugging in the theaters. It made Polygon (and former Thrillist) editor Matt Patches eat a shoe. Made with the meticulousness of guys who didn't even really want to do another Top Gun movie for years, it's maybe the platonic ideal of a sequel, and plenty have hailed it better than the original. But is it sweaty enough?

If you didn't rewatch the original Top Gun before seeing Maverick, here's a reminder that it is one of the sweatiest movies ever made. In almost every scene, pretty much everyone is just dripping sweat beads so visible you could collect them with medicine droppers and would have buckets of celebrity secretions by the end of it. (Not Kelly McGillis, though, who looks like a linen-clad goddess the whole movie.) It didn't matter if they were dogfighting in their little planes, playing volleyball shirtless, or getting lectured in an office—those guys were gonna be sweat hogs, the result of living on a Navy boat in the Indian Ocean or in San Diego with HVAC systems (or lack thereof) from the '80s cranking out Freon and a studio wanting director Tony Scott to show off the hot, buff boys.

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Tom Cruise just dripping in the original 'Top Gun.' | Paramount Pictures

By comparison, Maverick, by and large, is merely dewy. For example: When Miles Teller's son of Goose Bradley Bradshaw, call sign Rooster, saunters into Jennifer Connelley's bar with an open Hawaiian shirt and white tank, he has the complexion of a guy who knows about niacinamide and vitamin C serums who's late to the team hang because he had his monthly Glowbar facial. When the new crop of TOPGUN recruits have to do a zillion pushups because Cruise's Maverick shot them all down in a training exercise, hardly anyone sweats more than two beads on their brow. Even in the shirtless dogfight football scene—a perfect opportunity to replicate the wet, baby-oil spraydown of the original's volleyball match—everyone is healthily glistening under the hot San Diego sun. No drippage in sight!

The movie's final mission, however, pulls out the handy spritzer, as if director Joseph Kosinski was holding back the whole time just to make the biggest scene its most impactful. Sending Maverick and his young fleet out back onto a ship in the open ocean instantly gives every character that signature Top Gun slickness. The handpicked flight crew, flying fast and dangerously with intense levels of g-force squishing their bodies, finally break a sweat in carrying out their high-stress maneuvers, snaking through a craggy ravine in low air, careening over and down a mountaintop to drop missiles on an unnamed country's underground uranium enrichment site, and zooming away fast enough to not get caught by manned enemy planes or movement-sensing turrets. Even the below-deck crew—including Jon Hamm's hilarious Admiral Beau 'Cyclone' Simpson who wants nothing more than to can Maverick's ass for wasting so much money—is sweat-sploshed, watching the radar and waiting for the job to be done. Plus, it's probably hot as shit down there.

The last third of Maverick is so very much "now THAT's the stuff" kind of sweaty that you almost forget how dry the rest of the movie was. It's the kind of detail that makes the film so great: Maverick calls back to the first movie when it's expected to, with jags like a rollicking bar singalong of "Great Balls of Fire," but doesn't stick around long enough to turn into naval gazing. And yeah, we've collectively aged out of the time when it was alluring to watch Olivia Newton John dance in aerobics wear or see close-ups of sweaty, sweaty movie stars. The '80s were a sweaty decade (also see: Body Heat, Flashdance), and the 2020s are all about a natural glow, having debates about whether aluminum in deodorant is safe or not, and barely tolerating overly air-conditioned office buildings because sweating profusely, frankly, sucks. But sometimes, after a weirdly apolitical life-or-death mission that requires stealing an ancient enemy plane to get back home, there's nothing like holding your bros in a big, sweaty embrace.

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Leanne Butkovic is a senior entertainment editor at Thrillist, on Twitter @leanbutk.