With Top Gun: Maverick having taken the world by storm last year and now gearing up to win all of the Oscars next weekend, we at Marvelous Movies thought it was the perfect time to revisit the classic franchise! An early and often overlooked Marvel movie, Top Gun stars Tom Cruise as Ghost Rider (Johnny Blaze), Val Kilmer as Iceman (Bobby Drake), and Anthony Edwards as Captain Marvel’s sidekick, Goose the cat.
The story begins when Ghost Rider temporarily joins the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning–in this film codenamed “Top Gun” to appear inconspicuous to the public. Ghost Rider teams up with Iceman of the X-Men to investigate a threat coming from the skies. In space they meet up with Goose the Flerken, and the unlikely trio become close allies!
The film focuses especially on the characters’ flight abilities. Iceman is already adept at flying the Blackbird, the X-Men’s jet, while Ghost Rider–normally accustomed to a motorcycle–learns to handle a military fighter plane instead! At first he just has to Wing it and figure things out on the Fly, but soon he’s able to Cruise, and it becomes Plane to see that he’s a natural pilot!
(And also scary as hell. Can you imagine a flying fighter plane with a flaming demon skull?!?)
Eventually, the heroes’ foe is revealed: the Negative Ghost Rider, an evil variant from the Negative Zone! This foe is most remembered from the famous line “That’s a negative Ghost Rider,” spoken twice throughout the movie.
(The Negative Zone is one of many Zones within the Marvel multiverse–right up there with the Danger Zone, which inspired Kenny Loggins’ hit single!)
Through teamwork, ingenuity, and the sheer awesomeness of demon/mutant/alien superheroes flying fighter planes, the heroes work together to defeat the Negative Ghost Rider. (Spoilers: Goose swallows up the villain with his alien tentacles–and dies a heroic death in the process.)
Despite its thrilling action scenes and revered status in today’s popular culture, Top Gun did not go on to spawn a consistent franchise. Ghost Rider was rebooted with Nicolas Cage instead of Cruise over 20 years after this film. Goose’s story was continued (you really think anyone stays dead in the MCU?) in Captain Marvel in 1995. And X-Men in 2000 recast the younger Shawn Ashmore as Iceman instead of Kilmer. It’s said that being recast made Kilmer go Batty!
What do YOU think of Top Gun and its place in the Marvel universe?