‘Air’ Review

Ben Affleck is back in the directors’ chair, crafting the story behind how Nike risked it all to sign Michael Jordan to a shoe deal that would change the course of history for all parties involved.

Ben Affleck's 'Air' Is the New Feel-Good Movie We Didn't Know We Needed – Welcome to Hollywood First Look

Follows the history of shoe salesman Sonny Vaccaro, and how he led Nike in its pursuit of the greatest athlete in the history of basketball, Michael Jordan

Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, are two names that will forever be linked in Hollywood’s history. Best friends, Oscar winners and two people who have had polar opposite Hollywood careers. Growing up watching movies was different, no streaming services, and heck the internet was a new thing. So either you saw movies in the theatres, rented it at Blockbuster, perhaps caught it on cable years later or completely missed it altogether. Well, Good Will Hunting was one of those movies, a movie I missed until I was away at university. I will always remember sitting on my bed, clicking play and watching this movie that kind of changed my perspective on movies as a whole. I believe it was that experience on my bed, that made me fall in love with movies. So ever since then, those two dudes have had a special place in my heart, and it wasn’t until recently did they finally re-team for The Last Duel, but I felt like this movie was the real getting back together for the duo. Remember Good Will Hunting was in 1997, it took them close to 30 years for that to happen, and both of them have come so far in their respective careers and it just felt like this was once again, lightning in a bottle.

From the very opening of this movie, I was hooked. An epic 80s montage that probably cost a fortune to make.Synced to the legendary track by Dire Straights, “Money For Nothing.” It took this movie a whole 3 mins for me to realize I was about to watch something special. When it comes to athletes, you’d be hard-pressed in finding someone who doesn’t recognize the name Michael Jordan. That’s why hes’ Michael Jordan. But what about before he becomes the man, the myth and the legend? We all know the tale, but seeing it from the beginning was pretty neat to watch unfold. One of the greatest competitors to ever lace em’ up, we witness the chase to signing him to the most luxurious shoe deal in history. Sonny Vaccaro (Matt Damon) knew just how special he was going to be, and with the help of his friends over at Nike, they devised the greatest basketball shoe pitch anyone had ever seen at this point and decided to build an entire empire around the soon to be greatest basketball player this world has ever seen.

Ben Affleck has directed some of my favourite movies, and he’s on top of his game here. Probably his best all-around work, he’s almost perfected his craft. Starring alongside Damon as eccentric CEO Phil Knight, it was just so great to see these two act together once again. Both Damon and Affleck give outstanding performances, while Damon does some of his very best work. I will say that Damon gives one of the most powerful and emotional speeches in recent movie history, I legit had goosebumps. It works so well when you know the context and hell, everyone knows the story of Michael Jordan. Jason Bateman and Chris Tucker are a part of the Nike team that helps get Micahel and they are both tremendous here, especially Tucker who was a lively presence on the screen.

Affleck decided to do something really smart, Michael Jordan isn’t really in the movie. Sure he says a few lines and he’s in a few scenes, but we never see a face. Having someone portray him could have taken us out of the movie and we didn’t need to actually see him for this to be successful. At that point in his life,, he wasn’t an unknown, but his future was and not having a big on-screen persona in the film works beautifully. Because at one point early on in the movie, Chris Tucker’s character says that in order to get through with certain athletes, it’s all about the mothers. In comes, Deloris Jordan played by none other than Viola Davis herself. She’s a scene stealer and so damn good. According to both Ben and Matt, when they talked to Michael to get his blessing about the movie, he told them that they could only do it if Viola Davis played his mother. When MJ asks for something, well MJ is going to get that request. It worked out well for everyone because she turns in a powerful and emotional performance.

This movie was just designed for me, the 80’s, Damon and Affleck, basketball, and even the soundtrack, all meshed together so well. There was simply no way I wasn’t going to like this movie, but I ended up loving it. It’s a blend of Moneyball and Jerry Maguire. The writing is slick, tight and really clever. With Affleck directing the hell out of it. I know we just had the Oscars, but don’t be surprised if this does well in the theatres, gets watched by everyone you know when it hits streaming and finds its way into every single Oscar conversation next season. I’m not saying it can win best picture, but as of right now, it stands as the very best of 2023. Crazier things have happened, but this is just such a well-put-together film that I can’t help to think it will be nominated for several awards.

Affleck is all the way back and I can’t wait to see what he directs next.

Air = 93/100

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