Parents' guide: Is 'Top Gun: Maverick' OK for the kids to see?

This image released by Paramount Pictures shows Tom Cruise portraying Capt. Pete "Maverick" Mitchell in a scene from "Top Gun: Maverick."

This image released by Paramount Pictures shows Tom Cruise portraying Capt. Pete "Maverick" Mitchell in a scene from "Top Gun: Maverick." (Paramount Pictures via AP)



Estimated read time: 4-5 minutes

FIGHTERTOWN, USA — It's been 36 years since Pete "Maverick" Mitchell last hopped into the cockpit and flew across cinema screens around the world, but now he's back and it's better than ever.

"Top Gun: Maverick" is an insanely entertaining and satisfying movie that's perfect for the summer movie season. For more details on why "Maverick" is such a good time, check out Dave Clyde's review.

But what is in the movie? It's rated PG-13, but why? What kind of language and violence is in there? Do we have another "Take My Breath Away" montage with flowing curtains and awkward silhouettes?

I'm here to fill you in on what you can expect to see from a content perspective in the latest "Top Gun" movie so you can make the decision if it's right for you and your family.

I am not here to tell you that you should or should not take your kids to this movie or if you, yourself, should check it out. Only you can make that call. I'm here to tell you what is in the film — without spoilers — so you can make your own decisions.

Sex

I recently rewatched the original "Top Gun" and realized I had forgotten how uncomfortable that intimate scene was. It wasn't necessarily graphic, but I personally did not like the way it made me feel. I'm happy to say there are no swaying drapes or songs by Berlin in this movie. When it comes to sex, the movie is really tame.

There is a shirtless football scene on the beach, done in an effort to pay homage to the first film's volleyball scene. This moment includes a lot of shirtless men slathered in baby oil and at least one woman in a sports bra. The scene is meant to show off the impressive physiques of the actors, but it's more comical than anything.

There is one scene that alludes to sex, but nothing is shown other than two characters kissing and then later in bed — but they're fully clothed, except for the man who has his shirt off. That's about it for this category. There aren't many sexual jokes or terms I can remember, either.

Language

I would say 99% of the film is closer to a PG rating when it comes to profanity, other than a sequence toward the end when I think a majority of the curse words in the film are used.

There are some words you usually hear on broadcast television sprinkled throughout the two hours and 11 minutes of run time, but it's fairly tame. Toward the finale, there is an intense sequence when several S-words are used and there is one utterance of the F-word. This moment is probably where "Top Gun: Maverick" actually earned its PG-13 rating.

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Violence

There really isn't a lot of violence in the film. Much like the original, most of the action scenes are in a training function and not actual combat. With that said, once combat does start, there are plenty of explosions and a few deaths. Still, there's nothing graphic and we never see any bodies. We just see the carnage of a fighter jet exploding in mid-air. For a movie about Navy fighter pilots, it is very low on actual violence.

Intensity

This is where "Top Gun: Maverick" earns its stripes. From the opening scene, the intensity of the film starts hitting Mach speeds and refuses to let go. There are plenty of white-knuckle moments that keep you on the edge of your seat. It's the exact thing you want in a fun, summer popcorn flick, but it may be too much for some audiences.

The stakes are often high and lives are constantly on the line, which makes for a fair amount of stress. The fact that real fighter jets were used for the aerial footage adds to the overall intensity. Your mind knows it's real as you watch it, and that makes it feel even more intense as you see these jets fly at insane speeds.

Will kids be bored?

After rewatching the first film, I'm surprised I watched it so much as a kid because it's fairly slow. I do remember, as a child, hating certain scenes and just desperately waiting for them to get back into the air. "Maverick" is not that kind of movie.

There is so much action going on that you barely have time to take a breath before you're in the air again flying all over the western United States. I wouldn't worry about kids losing attention during the movie.

What ages is it appropriate for?

This is a tough one. If not for that one moment of language, I would say "Top Gun: Maverick" could be close to a PG. It's a tamer PG-13 than much of what we see these days. I think kids of all ages will be entertained by the spectacular aerial sequences, but the content may be a little much for younger kids.

Editor's note: "Top Gun: Maverick" is rated PG-13 for sequences of intense action and some strong language.

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John has grown up around movies and annoys friends and family with his movie facts and knowledge. He also has a passion for sports and pretty much anything awesome, and it just so happens, that these are the three things he writes about.

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