Above, you can see Tom Cruise’s full appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” His comments about Val Kilmer begin right around the 10-minute mark.
“Top Gun: Maverick” has become the rare blockbuster legacy sequel to score six Academy Award nominations, including ones for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay. The writing nomination, shared by Peter Craig and John Marks, was especially surprising, given how much the film’s third act plays like an uncredited remake of “Star Wars: A New Hope” and its climactic trench run on the Death Star. Editor Eddie Hamilton, who is also up for an Oscar, confirmed to /Film that the filmmakers “were all joking about the thermal exhaust port right below the main port [in ‘Star Wars’] all the time.”
“Top Gun: Maverick” is also deeply indebted to the original “Top Gun,” directed by the late Tony Scott. It starts out the same way, aboard an aircraft carrier with Kenny Loggins music, and hits many of the same beats along the way — right down to the game of “dog fight football” in place of beach volleyball. Notwithstanding its overt similarities to other movies, however, “Top Gun: Maverick” clearly registered with audiences, who helped it rake in almost $1.5 billion at the box office, surpassing “Avengers: Infinity War” (and later, its Marvel-movie cousin, “Black Panther”) to become the fifth-highest-grossing film of all time domestically, according to The Numbers.
As our spoiler review observes, “Top Gun: Maverick” puts you “right back in the ‘Danger Zone,’ or maybe just the audience’s comfort zone.” That’s a good place to be when Kilmer is onscreen. His presence infuses the movie with some real emotion, leaving the viewer, like Iceman himself, thinking but perhaps most importantly feeling, “You can be my wingman anytime.”