How Long Top Gun: Maverick’s Final Mission Actually Took in the Movie

Warning: the following contains SPOILERS for Top Gun: Maverick.,Almost the entire plot of 
Top Gun: Maverick focused on Captain Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise) training the Navy’s top pilots to fly the mission under 2 minutes and 30 seconds, but how much time did it actually take in the movie? The 
Top Gun sequel sees plenty of impressive aerial action in the F-18 Super Hornet fighter jet, but nothing in the movie compares to the adrenaline-pumping final act.,Maverick is one of the most impressive pilots to ever come out of the TOPGUN academy, but after over 30 years in the Navy, he hasn’t been promoted beyond Captain due to his penchant for operating outside the bounds of his mission as he constantly flexes or outright disobeys the rules. In fact, it turns out the only reason he hasn’t been ejected from the military is because of the respect of his longtime friend, Admiral Tom “Iceman” Kazansky (Val Kilmer), who keeps bailing him out of trouble; however, Maverick’s luck is finally running out as he’s sent to what’s supposed to be his final post back at TOPGUN academy to train younger pilots for a highly sensitive mission.,Related: Is Maverick Better Than The Original Top Gun?,The mission’s seemingly-impossible design requires the pilots to fly their F-18s through a canyon to stay out of radar detection to destroy a secret nuclear facility, and while they only have two-and-a-half minutes to deliver their payload after entering the canyon, in the movie’s runtime, it actually takes closer to four minutes. Since it’s not clear how long many of the cutaway scenes during the finale showing 
Top Gun 2‘s nameless villain’s base or the command center on the aircraft carrier take, it’s hard to get an exact time for how long the canyon run takes, but from the moment the fighters enter the canyon to the moment the underground nuclear enrichment site is destroyed, more than four minutes of movie runtime have expired.,Of course, by that point in the movie, there’s been enough death-defying, physics bending aerial stunts performed that a little suspension of disbelief is a must, and the padded timeline of the attack run is still plenty intense for the audience, but any time a movie mentions some sort of time requirement, there’s plenty of keen observers looking to see how true-to-real-time action sequences of that nature run. 
Top Gun 2 not reflecting its actual runtime is not uncommon for countdowns of this nature in movies, such as when a film milks the final seconds of a bomb’s countdown timer for extra drama, or sometimes the reverse, such as the Battle of Yavin in 
Star Wars: A New Hope (which bears a striking similarity to 
Top Gun: Maverick’s attack plan featuring a trench-run ending in a microscopic target), where it’s said the Death Star will take 30-minutes to get in range of the Rebel base, but it actually gets into range in half the time according to the movie’s timestamps.,There may be sticklers complaining over the movie flexing of the mission runtime, but 
Top Gun: Maverick‘s dramatic character arcs take a front seat during this time, so that the mild chronological inaccuracy can be forgiven as those extra seconds are spent showing Maverick and Rooster “talking” to Goose and building tension with the incoming fighters. Besides, considering Maverick already flew the course a full fifteen seconds faster (according to the mission clock) to earn his participation in the attack, the actual mission runtime is just a formality at that point.,Want more Top Gun: Maverick articles? Check out our essential content below…,Next: Maverick vs. Iceman: Who Is Really The Better Top Gun Pilot