Miracles can happen with outstanding revelations. They can also happen with monumental moments. Both outstanding revelations and monumental moments are present in Air.
Directed by Ben Affleck, Air is a slam dunk hit that audiences will rave about. The era of sports marketing takes its nostalgia and 80s vibe seriously in Air. The sports talks and statistics are spot on, the game clock ticks, and Air is a winner.
Air is the true story of shoe salesman Sonny Vaccaro, played by Matt Damon. In 1984 Vaccaro managed to get Michael Jordan to sign with Nike. With Phil Knight, played by Ben Affleck, as the CEO of Nike, Vaccaro has to overcome many constraints for the deal to go through. Vaccaro finds himself competing with other shoe companies like Adidas and Converse. Nike executive Rob Strasser (played by Jason Bateman) does what he can to help expand the Nike brand, but getting Jordan to sign was key. There is also the jerk and egotistical sports agent David Falk (played by Chris Messina). He made sure that nobody with Nike gear got near Jordan, unless they were willing to pay big fees. Vaccaro can find a way around Falk though, because he is resourceful and determined for Nike to have a form of innovation and excellence.
There are so many characters with big roles in Air, including some who were enemies of Nike. Air is structured like the good vs. bad in a faithful and compelling way. Vaccaro says that he is “willing to bet my career on Michael Jordan.”
It was amazing to see how many steps Vaccaro had to take to get Jordan to sign. The copyrights and licensing were complex and difficult to execute. And just to see how Nike grew with not just sneakers, but in terms of basketball and other athletes endorsements. It is epic and audacious.
With Affleck as the director and one of the leads, he creates Air to be almost an encouraging Good Will Hunting (1997) reunion. More encouraging because Affleck and Damon are together again in starring roles, and here they’re playing roles in a true era over a fictional era. Good Will Hunting is, to this day, still a masterpiece, and Air is on the same masterpiece level as Good Will Hunting. This true story in a key sports era is truly the right fit for the Good Will hunting alumni. They have not stopped making fascinating and joyful films.
But everyone in the film contributes to the success of Air. Each performance delivers a sense of acceptance and growth for fans. Air will certainly make Michael Jordan fans soar with love and appreciation. And everyone will be captivated by the representation of Nike in the film. The dynamics of the sports marketing business truly invigorates Air. There is trial and error, and there are frustrations, but there are ways to overcome the obstacles and attain the impossible for Nike. It all comes together in Air, which soars as a champion. Four stars.
Now in theaters.