Have you occasionally thought, "There may be a few too many superhero movies these days"? Do you ever wonder how this Hollywood madness all started? Well Birman's gonna sort of cover that... While also being a really good movie with just a wonderful cast of characters and a very intricate chip on its shoulder.
Certainly it helps that at least three of the leads have ties back to major superhero franchises but are no longer a part of that world. But that fact only informs the already meta nature of Birdman that existed in the first place. Michael Keaton (Batman) is Birdman... or rather he used to be. But now he's gone on his own path. He knows that he has ability, but everyone keeps pigeonholing him back into the Birdman corner. His life feels like a mess, but he's really not a bad guy. When all the chips are on the table, he's only ever wanted to do the right thing... he's just painfully ignorant as to what that could be. Enter his daughter played by Emma Stone (of recent Spider-Man lore). She's got her own troubles which are only excellerated by her father's lack of focus and the appearance of Edward Norton (the one time Incredible Hulk)... though neither of their characters have ties to superheroes in this flick...
Am I confusing you? Well I shouldn't be. Actually, I don't wanna break the plot down for you any further. I want you to go and experience this movie. Because that's what Birdman is: an experience. Within Alejandro González Iñárritu's expert vision, an amazing world is able to take shape... one that allows for each of its components to thrive and soar. Cinematography is sharp, precise, and at many times alluringly entertaining. The score is an absolutely unabashed love letter to a profoundly misunderstood and frequently underutilized instrument. And between all that, the writing and the acting, there's really not a single bad moment in this film.
Michael Keaton proves exactly what his character wants to... that he is an excellent actor with range. But he also shares the limelight well. You get a sense that every actor in this film is afforded the right to thrive in whatever special way they know how. Emma Stone does a bang up job playing an intentionally less charming character than we've come to expect from her short but very pleasant career so far.
And Edward Norton just seems to blow the doors off every scene he enters. He, much like Keaton, receives a great deal of jokes pertaining meta-specifically to himself... though I don't wanna ruin any of that. Zach Galifianakis fills a very critical hole with his presence, and does so with gusto. And with Naomi Watts, Andrea Riseborough, and Amy Ryan (especially Amy Ryan) all filling out very crucial niche roles I honestly can't imagine a better cast for such an undertaking. Everyone seems to want to bring their best for this project, and in my opinion, they do just that.
Birdman does a hell of a lot right. It talks about something that most films aren't willing to discuss. And it never apologizes. The unrelenting nature of this film is something I don't think I've ever witnessed through the thousands of movies I've seen in my life. And it is absolutely worth your time and money to catch it on a big screen somewhere.