From award-winning director Ben Affleck, AIR reveals the unbelievable game-changing partnership between a then-rookie Michael Jordan and Nike’s fledgling basketball division which revolutionized the world of sports and contemporary culture with the Air Jordan brand. This moving story follows the career-defining gamble of an unconventional team with everything on the line, the uncompromising vision of a mother who knows the worth of her son’s immense talent, and the basketball phenom who would become the greatest of all time.
What We Thought:
Despite knowing the film’s outcome, AIR is an entertaining film that crowds will eat up. Unless you live under a rock, you already knew that Michael Jordan and Nike joined forces and changed the sneaker industry forever, but how they got to that point is the basis of the film and it’s a pretty wild story.
AIR reminds me of films like The Social Network and Moneyball. On paper you thought they were about Facebook and baseball and you expect AIR to be about Michael Jordan and sneakers. That’s all kind of true, but like those other two movies, there is much more to Ben Affleck’s latest. Michael Jordan (as a character and archival footage) is technically in the flick, but it’s not about MJ. It’s about the lengths Nike took to get Jordan to sign with them instead of Adidas who he preferred.
Matt Damon plays a basketball guru who knows Jordan is the next big thing and will make Nike basketball the #1 brand on and off the court. He can feel it in his bones and convinces Phil Knight (Affleck) to do whatever is possible to sign Jordan. This includes going around Jordan’s agent and talking to his parents. Of course Viola Davis kills it as MJ’s mother. Jason Bateman is Damon’s boss and there are a slew of side characters from Chris Tucker, Chris Messina, Marlon Wayans and more who bring big laughs to the film.
It’s all these characters and the craziness around signing Jordan that makes the film entertaining. Add in the clothing and music of the 1980s and Affleck is back to form as a top-notch filmmaker. I understand why it’s not being released around awards time, but just because it’s not going to be nominated for anything doesn’t mean it won’t be a crowd pleaser. Affleck and Damon still have tremendous chemistry, but every scene with Damon and Bateman is great as well. Davis brings power to her character and everyone serves their part perfectly. It probably wouldn’t work without this ensemble cast.
AIR is more about sports marketing than it is sports. It’s a lot funnier than I expected because of it. Damon put on weight to play a typical middle aged business type. Affleck’s Knight is 100% what you expect of him wanting to risk the gamble, but also knows he has to appease the board and stock owners. The film never tries to be anything it’s not and never wanders or gets lost along the way. If you want an entertaining film which is extremely well made and well acted then AIR is…
Opening Date: Exclusively In Theaters Globally April 5, 2023
Running Time: 112 minutes
Directed by Ben Affleck
Written by Alex Convery
Produced by David Ellison, Jesse Sisgold, Jon Weinbach, Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Madison Ainley, Jeff Robinov, Peter Guber, and Jason Michael Berman
Starring Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Jason Bateman, Chris Messina, Matthew Maher, Marlon Wayans, Jay Mohr, Julius Tennon, with Chris Tucker and Viola Davis