Top Gun Sequel Too Patriotic for Some — Including China

The Tom Cruise blockbuster “Top Gun: Maverick” roared through the Memorial Day box office weekend to crowded and cheering theaters. That did not, however, stop the woke brigade — and China — from rolling their eyes at its throwback patriotism.

With a domestic take of an estimated $150 million over the long holiday weekend, the film leaves no doubt of America’s hunger for good old-fashioned entertainment. Pre-woke entertainment.

China’s communists are not swept away by the Reagan-era glory. Moviegoers in the world’s largest market will have to resort to streaming and pirated copies to enjoy the testosterone-fueled tribute to the U.S. Navy.

Anticipating trouble, Chinese multimedia giant Tencent Holdings yanked their 12.5% investment stake in “Top Gun: Maverick to avoid offending communist sensibilities.

And there’s plenty to offend. Good old American nostalgia is out in full force, enough to put off homegrown defeatists more accustomed to the Afghanistan pullout and presidents making apology tours around the globe.

While the Rotten Tomatoes crowd loves the new spectacle, some leftists hold grudges from the 80s when Hollywood cranked out classics like “Red Dawn” and “Iron Eagle.” One current Debbie Downer refers to “Maverick’s” predecessor as a “callously war-mongering celluloid hell beast.”

Funny, but the original led to an enlistment spike in the U.S. Navy. And savvy recruiters even set up tables in theaters where the film was shown.

“Fetishization of military hardware” is a typical refrain, and some comment that the blockbuster carries none of the “scars and bruises” of real life in 2022. There is wonder if younger audiences — below 35 — will even recognize the “hopeless nostalgia and go-for-it kineticism.”

They may feel something strangely amiss, as in the absence of lectures on this or that injustice. Or scenes that are only there to make a point. So, what’s the point of paying high ticket prices only to be dragged into the culture wars by so-called “entertainers?”

On behalf of the moviegoers everywhere, isn’t escapism what draws people to the cinema? The only reason audiences aren’t rising up together and walking out on Hollywood’s uber-woke entries of recent years is that no one is in the theater to walk out.