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YMMV / Birdman

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The Cartoon Series

The Film

  • Alternative 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?
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    • 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.
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  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: Considering nearly everyone in this movie is a melodramatic, self-centred jerk, it can be really hard to care about what happens.
  • Genius Bonus: Of course, Borges'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 Iñarritu'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 (2015).
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    • So much regarding Michael Keaton, which makes the metatextual aspects of the movie all the more relevant and hilarious.
      • 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 cast in Spider-Man: Homecoming makes his character's reluctance to return to superhero movies that much more ironic. Even better, Robert Downey Jr. appears in the film when Riggan disparaged him and Iron Man.
      • Keaton being confirmed to play Vulture in that 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.
      • During the famous naked Broadway walk scene, a person dressed in Spider-Man costume appears in the crowd, making for some pretty amusing comments.
      • Finally, Keaton's casting in a Spider-Man movie 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.
      • Not only that, but in Homecoming, he's also the father of a different Spider-Man love interest, specifically Liz Allen.
      • The way the "Birdman" persona manifests — a Guttural Growler voice in Riggan's head that tries to make him do stuff — now brings to mind Venom (2018), another Marvel film; Venom manifests in Eddie's mind pretty much identically as Birdman does here.
    • At one point, Sam delivers a "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Riggan, claiming he doesn't care about the rest of the world, using, among other examples, the fact that he doesn't have a Facebook page as evidence. It's basically a more effective version of a speech Sally Floyd tried on Captain America, which is doubly hilarious when you remember Iñárritu's less than welcoming opinions of superheros (at least on film).
  • 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.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Sam's not very nice, but when you consider that Riggan is her father, it's hard to blame her — while it's clear he loves her, he's often too self-involved and unbalanced to be a good parent. She has to put up with his (and everyone else's) bullshit constantly, and is often viewed as a nuisance at best by the others.
  • 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 extreme method acting is the icing on the cake.


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