Air Review

Who knew a story about shoes could be so dramatic?

Score: 4.5 / 5

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect from a movie about getting the exclusive shoe rights to the legendary Michael Jordan before he was that mega-star. It’s kind of like many of the characters in the movie itself outside of Matt Damon’s Sonny Vaccaro. Sure, it’ll probably be good, but you know how good? Knowing that Ben Affleck was directing and it had stars like Matt Damon, Jason Bateman, Viola Davis, and Chris Tucker, I knew that no matter what it was going to be an excellently acted story. What I got was a drama that had me feeling for everything at stake for those at Nike, and just another appreciation for how important a figure Michael Jordan was and still is.

The movie explores the immense challenge it was to convince Jordan to sign with Nike who at the time was a joke when it came to basketball shoes. It would take Sonny’s realization of how huge Jordan was going to be and selling it to everyone around him to make it happen. Yet all the way to the end there was always the very real possibility that the Jordans would go with Adidas because of how much Michael was a fan of their shoes. I really felt the passion behind Damon’s performance of seeing how great a pairing between Nike and Jordan could be. His speech toward the end of the movie was masterful and could easily be used for an awards win clip. All the while the movie explored how dangerous and risky that passion could be when it involved the rest of the basketball division if things did not work out. It made me feel for the grunts in a major corporation.

One thing I didn’t expect was a good deal of humor thrown into the movie. Around the drama and fear of getting or not, Michael Jordan were many great little jokes. There was one scene, in particular, involving Damon’s Sonny and Chris Messina’s David Falk playing Jordan’s agent, that was hilarious. It was straight laughter for a good minute or two. That’s what really helped elevate this movie from being something that could have felt a bit too dry and dark about what really is just a shoe.

This movie may be forgotten come awards season, but Air definitely feels like it belongs in that conversation. I had a great time with the movie, and it gave me a different appreciation for the Air Jordan line. I’m not kidding either that after leaving the theater it was impossible not to notice that branding everywhere I looked. So for those even loosely interested, this is a movie I would highly recommend checking out whenever you can.

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