Factual error: The radar guided SAMs are consistently evaded/triggered by the pilots' flares, which in reality only work against heat seeking missiles. Radar guided missiles would be defended against using chaff, basically clouds of aluminium foil strips. It was mentioned in some interviews they didn't want use chaff as it wouldn't really be visible for the audience - hence why they only deploy flares.
Top Gun: Maverick (2022)
Directed by: Joseph Kosinski
Starring: Tom Cruise, Jennifer Connelly, Miles Teller
Rear Admiral: The end is inevitable, Maverick. Your kind is headed for extinction.
Maverick: Maybe so, sir. But not today.
Trivia: Despite long being one of Hollywood's most bankable stars, this was the first Tom Cruise film to earn more than $100 million at the domestic box office on its opening weekend. It also went on to become his highest grossing film, as well as his first film to gross $1 billion worldwide.
Question: If these were the best of the best, going on a mission crucial to world peace, why were they in aircraft that were outdated and outgunned? It mentioned several times they would never stand a chance against the dreaded "5th generation" enemy fighters. Why not use the F-35?
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Answer: The real-world answer is that F-35s only come in single-seat configuration, so there was no way to put the actors in one seat for filming while pilots flew the plane. It would also make for less of an "underdog" feel of going up against overwhelming odds. The in-universe answer is that F-18s are better suited for the kind of mission it is.