Nananananananana… Birdman? But wait, that’s Batman in a bird costume. For the first time in 25 years, Michael Keaton dons the suit of a superhero once more.
Also titled The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance, this “superhero film” (directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu) revolves around Riggan Thomson (Keaton), a has-been actor famous for playing a vigilante, the titular Birdman. However, the times of saving the world—on camera—have long since passed, and Riggan belongs to the “Whatever happened to…?” category of celebrities. Rather than saving citizens, Keaton’s character tries to rescue his own life by attempting to make a career comeback onstage that will not only bring light to his acting persona, but also to his estranged daughter (Emma Stone), and, most importantly, to his inner psyche. True, you can find glimpses of these moments in superhero films like Iron Man 2 or Man of Steel, but nothing gets as gritty and true as Birdman.
Of course, Birdman is as much a comic book film as A Cinderella Story is a film about an actual princess. But however you categorize this film, it will most definitely stick out in your collection because it’s so different. Wildly acted and profound, Michael Keaton and Emma Stone’s performances fly high, just like the titular character of the movie does.
It’s not The Avengers with epic explosions and a plethora of special effects, nor is it The Amazing Spider-Man with a cheesy love story subplot. Rather, Birdman tells a very realistic story situated in a world very much like our own. As a viewer, you will be placed in a war not between two parties, but between a man and himself. This is a film with a moral element to it that enlightens our own lives where the villains we encounter aren’t (always) cape-wearing, evil-laughing, world-dominating maniacs, but the little voices inside our heads that tell us to do what we know is wrong. MMMM ½