YMMV / Birdman

The Cartoon Series

The Film

  • Alternate Character Interpretation:
    • Riggan's Birdman persona. Is he a malevolent presence that wants to torment Riggan? Or a gruff voice of reason meant to help Riggan by telling him the truth and boosting his ego? Or is he somewhere in between? A figure providing a mental crutch that simultaneously traps Riggan in his nostalgia and helps him get through the stress of his Troubled Production?
    • There are a lot of viewers who think Mike was actually attempting to rape Leslie on the stage in the bed due to her reaction, and those who think he was simply faking her out to give her that reaction.
  • Award Snub: Although the film was nominated for nine, tying The Grand Budapest Hotel for the most nominations, it received no nomination for Film Editing, which is strange considering how it's one of the most distinctive aspects of the film's style. Some also felt that Michael Keaton should've won for Best Actor at the Oscars over Eddie Redmayne for The Theory of Everything.
  • Big Lipped Alligator Moment:
    • Lesley and Laura's lesbian kiss scene, which doesn't have any impact on the plot and is never mentioned again afterwards, and Laura doesn't even get called out for cheating on Riggan.
    • There's also a quick background shot of two naked people walking around backstage, who may or may not be the above mentioned.
  • Easily Forgiven: Mike attempts to rape Lesley during a preview in clear view of the cast, crew, and audience. Only Lesley and Sam call him out and all is forgiven by the next day.
  • Genius Bonus: Of course, Borge's Labyrinths is the book Mike is reading while in the tanning booth. It's blatantly symbolic of him, Riggan, and the film's high art obsession along with the film's Magical Realism elements.
  • He Really Can Act: Despite losing the Oscar for Best Actor to Eddie Redmayne, there's no denying that Michael Keaton delivers a stunning performance after over a decade of mediocre and secondary roles.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • After this film reflecting Innaritu's real life distaste for superhero movies with a special focus on the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the actor playing the show's costumer went on to a prominent role in Jessica Jones.
    • So much regarding Michael Keaton, which makes the metatextual aspects of the movie all the more relevant.
      • The story is about a former superhero actor, who has fallen out of the public eye for a while, trying to reinvent himself as a prestige actor. This movie marked the beginning of a Career Resurrection for Keaton.
      • On the subject of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (which this movie alludes to in a pretty disparaging way), Michael Keaton being courted for a role in Spider-Man: Homecoming makes his character's reluctance to return to superhero movies that much more ironic.
      • Keaton being confirmed to play Vulture in that very movie is a pretty obvious Actor Allusion to this movie, making the concept of the Birdman persona in its relation to promoting Riggan's Career Resurrection amusing. That in-movie, it says that they need to go back to doing another Birdman movie now that Riggan is in the limelight again, makes Keaton's decision to play Vulture outright hysterical.
      • Finally, Keaton's casting in a Spider-Man puts his estranged relationship with his daughter—whose actress, Emma Stone, played Gwen Stacy in the now-defunct The Amazing Spider-Man Series—in an amusing new light, considering that both thespians are now separated by different incarnations of Spider-Man adaptations.
  • Hype Backlash: Following its Oscar win for Best Picture, there was a slew of criticism that the movie's victory was more politically motivated due to its numerous Take Thats at the Superhero genre and the director's own quite negative remarks about the genre.
  • Sci Fi Ghetto: While the film stands as an aversion considering it was a best picture winner, arguably some of it is believed to come from Iñárritu's own distaste for superhero films bleeding over to the film.
  • Signature Scene: The scene where Riggan walks through Times Square in nothing but his underwear.
  • True Art Is Angsty: The movie depicts how the world of Broadway is embracing this trope. Riggan's suicide attempt is the icing on the cake.