'Air' review: Damon and Affleck star in origin story of Nike's iconic Air Jordans

BySandy Kenyon OTRC logo
Wednesday, April 5, 2023
'Air' soars as one of year's best films so far
Sandy Kenyon says the new movie 'Air', starring Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, about how Nike recruited Michael Jordan is one of the year's best.

"Air" is the best movie Entertainment Reporter Sandy Kenyon says he has seen so far this year, and plenty of other critics feel the same way.

The movie, about how Nike and Michael Jordan together changed the world of sports, has a score of 97% on the Rotten Tomatoes website.

The story of how Air Jordan sneakers came into being is made remarkably compelling given that it's a story set mainly in corporate offices.

A great script is directed by Ben Affleck, who has a supporting role as Phil Knight, the CEO of Nike. His old friend, Matt Damon, stars as a true believer named Sonny Vaccaro who is willing to bet his career on one guy and build a shoe and a brand around Michael Jordan, who was still in college and about to turn pro at the time.

The drama comes from Nike being so much smaller than the other shoe companies at the time, which made the task of convincing the phenom's parents all the more difficult.

Vaccaro travels to their home in North Carolina because as he puts it: "I don't like to take no for an answer."

Viola Davis and her real-life husband Julius Lennon play Jordan's parents, and her performance is so great, Kenyon says that Davis deserves an Oscar nomination.

"Every once in awhile, someone comes along that's so extraordinary it forces change because they are so very special," her character says.

"A shoe is just a shoe," notes Sonny.

"Until my son steps into it," Mrs. Jordan replies.

In the movie you see the real Michael Jordan in clips; but when earlier events are fictionalized, moviegoers see only the back of a young actor's head.

That's a crucial decision by Affleck that allows the audience to buy the story better, because really, who could compare with the charisma of the real guy.

"Air," featuring excellent works by Jason Bateman as a marketing executive, Marlon Wayans as one of Jordan's coaches, and Chris Messina as his agent is in theaters now.

Kenyon recommends it very highly.