Michael Keaton Strikes Back

birdman-posterIt’s been long time since I was excited about seeing a Michael Keaton movie. Probably since Batman Returns, which came out 22 years ago. (At some point, I remember wanting to see Multiplicity, but I don’t think I ever did; I was excited to see Out of Sight and Jackie Brown, but those are merely movies with a small bit of Michael Keaton.)

On the other hand, I usually get excited by a new film by Alejandro González Iñárritu, even if the results don’t always meet my expectations. There’s a lot I’ve liked about 21 GramsBabel, and Biutiful, but Inarritu often piles the drama on too heavy on top of scrawny plots & characters.

All that said, I never expected to see Inarritu and Keaton in a movie together, but that’s what we get with Birdman, and it looks fascinating. Michael Keaton’s been middle-of-the-road for so long, it’s easy to forget he made some great dark comedies in the 80s – Night Shift and Beetlejuice in particular – and also did some solid dramatic work in Pacific Heights and Much Ado About Nothing. 

Birdman obviously acknowledges the conceit that, yes, Keaton used to play Batman, then appears to take that in a crazy Black Swan kind of direction.