Movie Review: Birdman

Birdman is, on first viewing, a solid movie with two pretty major tongue in cheek references to the two main characters. Ed Norton playing his (deserved) reputation and Micheal Keaton playing, well, he’s more playing Adam West, but he could also fit into that role 80% as well, depending on your feelings on Mr Mom.

Upon further viewings, you actually see some of the imagery and can actually read into some of the background things on parts of the movie. I’ll get into a few of them, and I have a – for the first time- a guest writer who wrote a peice on this for IMDB and was kind enough to let me re-post it here after the spoilers. He  has a fascinating take on the movie that I could not do justice in summarizing and to be honest, changed the way I viewed the movie again.

Birdman costumeAs my regular readers know, I watch the movie twice, once for enjoyment, once for review purposes (unless its a new release)

I’ve watched Birdman more than that, trying to catch everything, I must have seen this a half-dozen times. .

So lets get into a plot.

Michael Keaton plays Adam West, an over the hill actor from the 1960s who was typecast in the role of a lifetime as Birdman, a beloved super hero, Keaton, sadly has not been taken seriously as an actor since then, and he cannot get out from under the shadow of Batman, er Birdman. Going broke, and old, divorced and estranged from his child, Keaton has started a Broadway play from one of his favorite authors, and we kick off with him having issues with one of his co-stars. A light fixture (accidentally) falls on his, and he has to be replaced. Keaton name drops a few people, rejecting them for one reason or another, another one of his co-stars suggests bringing in a known Broadway draw, Ed Norton, (who is playing Ed Norton,) and he agrees to come in, and of course, being Ed Norton, he tries to change the production, and even some of the scenes, and being a method actor, is actually drinking on stage, blowing up when keaton/West swaps out his gin with Water during one rehearsal. The movie continues through rehearsals, and Norton and Keaton have a few heart to hearts and Keaton puts everything into the play.

During these conflicts, Keaton is being talked to by his Birdman persona, encouraging him to take flight and show the world who he is. We do have one scene where Keaton is walking down the street and Birdman actually becomes a physical manifestation talking to Keaton. Added to this pressure is Keaton’s girlfriend, ex-wife, and his daughter trying to talk to him.

Birdman BirdThe fun part about the movie is trying to figure out if Keaton actually does have Super Powers. (At least on first viewing) He might, He might not, depending on how you look at certain scenes. An argument could legitimately be made, and I’m putting this here before the spoilers because if you watch the movie after reading this , and you should, try and figure out if he has powers or just an imagination. It does ask a question or two as we go along.

Edward Norton and Michael Keaton are 1 and 1A in this movie, and they are both ready and able to carry this film. This might be the first time that Norton doesn’t blow everyone else off the screen, and while this is the supporting role, Norton still brings it, but Keaton is able to hold his own. Norton even makes Emma Stone worth watching during their screens. It’s pretty amazing to see how she acts around Norton and how she does around Keaton. Its almost like she’s two different people. Zach Galifianakis is fun in what is basically an extended cameo, but he’s fun too. I almost wish they would have dropped the ex-wife for more Galifianakis, since I care more about that relationship.

So how is Birdman?

The acting is stunning. The story almost changes the next time you see it. There is a ton of watch-ability here. It leaves you with questions after you watch it, and there is an argument you can actually make for both sides- hard to argue against yourself, but this movie will make you do that. I can’t think of a better way to describe a 10 movie more than that.

I’m not doing spoilers, since I can’t really improve over what I’m going to post in the spoiler section. I didn’t write it, but I have permission from the author and this was originally on IMDB. Enjoy.

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