‘Air’ Movie Review: The Flawlessly Told Story of Michael Jordan and Nike’s Partnership

Air Movie Review

I have followed the development of Air since its pitch hit the news in 2021. It’s the first title from Matt Damon and Ben Affleck’s new production company Artists Equity.

And while I was excited to see both Damon and Affleck back on the big screen in the same flick, I was even more excited to see the story behind one of the most brilliant marketing moves in the history of branding, that of Nike’s partnership with Michael Jordan.

The Ben Affleck-directed Air tells the story of Nike and how the brand landed the great athlete in the history of basketball, Michael Jordan. The movie rewinds us to 1984, when Nike’s basketball division was slowly falling apart, and Jordan was just a rookie.

Nike, more specifically Sonny Vaccaro (Jason Bateman), took a big gamble on Jordan – putting everything online for the company. But with the uncompromising vision of Jordan’s mother (Viola Davis), who knew her son’s talent, one of the greatest brand partnerships ever was born, as was the immensely successful shoe line, Air Jordan.

Air Movie Trailer

Air Movie Review: What I Did and Didn’t Like

With a 1-hour and 52-minute run time, Air honestly felt like a quick breeze. While the film covers a considerable amount of history, the script does a good job of deciding what to include and what to spend time on. As a result, the pacing is consistent, and the story never felt like it was dragging.

Matt Damon and Viola Davis in Air
Matt Damon and Viola Davis in ‘Air’ / Photo Credit: Amazon Studios


Matt Damon delivers a solid performance, as does Jason Bateman. They both managed to create depth and relatable nuances to their characters, which makes them even more enjoyable to watch.

Affleck, who appears briefly in the film, also turns in a great and effortlessly comical performance as Nike’s CEO Phil Knight. But where he really shines here is as the film’s director. He does a fantastic job of capturing the hustle and bustle of the 1980s business world and the nostalgia of the time without it ever feeling too dated.

Though, the best performance here goes to Viola Davis, who does a remarkable job of conveying the strength and determination of Jordan’s mother. It’s her performance that really drives home the heart and soul of this story.


The script is not only well written – it’s also a powerful story about not giving up and knowing one’s worth. Additionally, it offers a unique look at the world of branding, sports marketing, and basketball. I suspect that anyone who works in any of these industries will appreciate what this film brings to the table. It’s incredibly enjoyable and interesting to watch.

Also worth noting, I really admired how the movie showed both sides to Jordan’s story – his successes as well as the personal price he had to pay for it.

Ben Affleck in Air
Ben Affleck in ‘Air’ / Photo Credit: Amazon Studios

Overall Thoughts

Overall, Air is an enjoyable and inspiring story about a brand that sealed its legacy with one of the greatest partnerships in sports history. It’s a fantastic script paired with exceptional performances.

And while it may be a bit early in the year to start talking award season contenders, I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see Air nominated for a number of those awards as we near the end of 2023.

Be sure to check out Air, exclusively in theaters on April 5, 2023!

Air Movie Review Movie Review

Grade: A

Air 60-Second Movie Review

Note: FanBolt’s Featured Image is fan art created by FanBolt purely for the love of design and fan culture. (We’re movie and design nerds). The property and fandom inspire the artwork, and no infringement is/was intended. Air is the property of Amazon.


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