‘Air’ reaches new heights with all-star cast 

4.5 out of 5 stars  

*Spoilers*  

“Air” makes basketball fans, sneakerheads and pure cinephiles want “to be like Mike” with its enthralling take on building a shoe empire with the help of, dare I say, the GOAT Michael Jordan.  

Starring legendary actors like Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Viola Davis, Jason Bateman, Chris Tucker and Marlon Wayans, “Air” makes for an epic tale of how Michael Jordan’s historic rise to fame and his partnership with the burgeoning Nike shoe company in the creation of the Air Jordan shoe shaped the shoe industry, as well as our popular culture.   

Sonny Vaccaro (Damon) works with Rob Strasser (Bateman) to revive the floundering basketball division at Nike where plastic basketballs and their hoops are preferred over the actual game.  

In order to save the division, Vaccaro sets out to use the entirety of the basketball sneaker contract on one player, recent University of North Carolina grad Michael Jordan. At the age of 21, Jordan signed the record-breaking deal at Nike with a starting price of 250,000 dollars and a cut of the profits made off each sale, resulting in the popularity of the now infamous tailor-made Air Jordan designed by Nike shoe creator Peter Moore (Matthew Maher).  

Despite lackluster predictions of sales over three years, the Air Jordan made 126 million dollars in its first year, according to Sports Illustrated and the film’s credits.  

Apparently, more people than predicted really wanted to be like Mike.  

Beyond the fantastic ensemble cast and the astounding story behind the Air Jordan, the film has a lighthearted mood with comedic undertones that make it hard not to fall in love with this sneaker-filled film. With Ben Affleck at the helm as an actor and director, the relationships between each actor feel genuine, as if the team got together and decided to film the movie one afternoon for fun.  

Although the 80’s aesthetic is as tired as the day is long (I’m looking at you, “Stranger Things,”), “Air” does an excellent job balancing the set design with the actual story, making the act look effortless. The film does the story justice without relying on the likeness of the infamous athlete, as Michael Jordan himself did not appear in the film and the actor portraying him was left anonymous.  

“Air” is a great viewing experience for all walks of life because it helps wider audiences to understand how shoes have shaped our culture. While Nike is just one shoe company in a sea of hundreds, their trailblazing efforts in the world of shoe culture should not be ignored. As “Air” expertly depicts this pop culture phenomenon, it can only be called – I’m going to say it – it’s a slam dunk.  

Photo from www.3ba.com.au.