Max Read (there may be spoilers in this article if you are one of the nine people who wants to see “Top Gun: Maverick” but has not yet):
If anything, Top Gun: Maverick takes this wonderfully American indifference even further than the original. While the bad guys in the original Top Gun displayed some recognizable geographical and visual markers — aviators fly Russian planes (fictional MiG-28s) with Chinese markings in the Indian Ocean — the “rogue state” targeted by the naval aviators in Top Gun: Maverick is almost fully generic. We don’t know where in the world it’s located; its jets are never identified by model; and we can’t see or make out any markings. It’s only ever called “The Enemy” by the Navy officers.
This felt to me like the biggest fourth wall breaker in the movie, but I also appreciated how generic “the enemy” was. This is not a real conflict and there is no need to build the plot around today’s geopolitics. Even in the world created by the film, there is only exactly enough depth created to maintain the story. But, notable, and weird. Great piece by Read.