I had high hopes for this picture. I saw Batman Returns as a youngster in the theater (that’s right kiddies, I’m an old man) and I didn’t think I would need to research this film before it came out. Michael Keaton as “Birdman?” I guess it’s not too far of a stretch from Ant Man. OK, I can deal, if it’s his return to a superhero role I’d plunk down my $12.00, buy some popcorn, and fill a seat, and gladly.
First of all, I had trouble finding a theater that was showing this film. Since it came out, in fact, the only one showing it was in Philadelphia, about a 50 minute drive for me. For what I had HOPED and THOUGHT would be a hundred million dollar budgeted blockbuster this was confusing.
I was certainly willing to travel to see it, but it required more scheduling and putting off seeing it until I could make the trip. Thank God, though, it soon started showing closer to me…and at my local IMAX theater, no less! I was pumped.
When I got to there I was disappointed that Birdman was, not, in fact, showing in IMAX format but just at the theater that has it. …OK? I would have thought that Keaton’s triumphant resurgence as a superhero would be shown in 3-D, at the very least, but no. The first doubts of the evening took hold.
I was a little disturbed by the small amount of people in the theater. I was even the youngest one there. Usually the PG-13 rating attracts a lot of families. For a superhero flick a scant audience is NOT a good sign.
Enough about the atmosphere surrounding the film, let’s delve INTO the film. WTF? There was no epic opening scene, just a scrawny looking Michael Keaton. Later in the film he says something about his body looking like a turkey’s, and I got to admit he was right. He should have gotten some implants or a body double or worked out or something. He did not have a superhero physique. The fighting was boring and not a choreography, and the Transformer CGI was really lacking.
Which, as it turns out, fit the movie well, because this is NOT a superhero film. They could have told us that from the get-go. The movie is all one long shot, nausea inducing to say the least, and the soundtrack made my head hurt after about two minutes. Worst of all, worst of ALL there was hardly any CGI, and the plot was too dramatic and hard to follow. Where was the epic struggle between a villain and a hero? How about the hero suffering a temporary setback and rising above to defeat evil? Instead it was about some poor scrawny guy I didn’t care about and his stupid play.
I didn’t get why so many people are praising this movie. It wasn’t Batman, it certainly wasn’t a Transformers or Iron Man or the Avengers. Like I said it wasn’t even a superhero movie…and yet it’s called “Birdman.” Birdman would never use a gun!
I really hesitate to make suggestions to try to change any movie, but here’s what I would have done to make Birdman a better movie:
1. Michael Keaton should be in the Birdman costume. Why did we only catch a few glimpses of him in it?
2. Michael Keaton should be Birdman instead of Riggan Thompson. I guess Thompson can be his alter-ego, like Bruce Wayne. He could even be involved in the theater community as his day job, why not? But he should be a superhero first and foremost.
3. Stop talking so much. There was nothing in this film but depressing, boring, philosophical dialogue between characters whose motives were too hard to guess. The Avengers did an excellent job of fleshing out characters that weren’t very hard to understand and yet had complex motives.
4. ACTION! Where was the action?! There was ONE SCENE with Birdman kicking tail-feathers and it was really awesome, but they made it come across as crass and sarcastic with the rest of the movie. WHAT HAPPENED WITH THAT GIANT ONE EYED CYCLOPS BIRD?!
Now before you say that this wasn’t a superhero movie or a summer blockbuster, DUH. I got that part about five vomit inducing shot-less minutes in. But why was the poster a superhero and why is it called “Birdman”?
Go back to the drawing board, Mr. Keaton. Punch up a computer, a bigger budget, less wordiness and come back to us, because after this farce Hollywood needs as many heroes as it can get.