‘Birdman’ Trailer: Michael Keaton is a Former Superhero Star

Published 11 months ago by

Today’s kids may know Christian Bale as their definitive take on the Dark Knight, but to an entire generation growing up in the late 1980s/early 1990s, Michael Keaton was their Batman. The actor – who donned the cowl and cape in the 1989 Batman and its 1992 sequel – has largely avoided the superhero genre since leaving his most iconic role behind, spending the last decade or so focusing on supporting turns (Robocop, The Other Guys) and voice work (his Ken was widely considered a highlight in Toy Story 3). However, that’s all about to change with Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s Birdman – well, sort of.

In the film, Keaton plays a washed-up actor – best known for playing the titular superhero – who aims to make a comeback on the Broadway stage. Other than some set photos of Keaton and the aforementioned costumed hero, fans have been left to speculate on what to expect form the final film. Now, thanks to Fox Searchlight, we have the first trailer for Birdman (see above).

From its haunting use of Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy” to the tracking shot of a weathered, tired Keaton, Birdman looks like it could very well be to superheroes what Black Swan is to ballerinas, in that it follows the behind-the-scenes psychological turmoil that befalls a performer in the pursuit of greatness. Furthermore, the leaked set photos indicate that the eponymous hero is shadowing Keaton’s character as he tries to shed his superhero image, which may mean that his character is even more damaged than the footage suggests.

Michael Keaton Birdman Birdman Trailer: Michael Keaton is a Former Superhero Star

This premise alone has promise, but with the pitch-perfect casting of Keaton in the lead role, Birdman boasts an art-imitating-life approach that should lend even more strength to the material onscreen. The film reportedly plays a dark comedy, but considering that Inarritu is best known for somber Oscar-nominated dramas like Babel and 21 Grams, Birdman could (as the trailer suggests) be more of a compelling character piece than a comic romp.

Of course, it’s far too soon to tell how Birdman will turn out or if the film will lead to something of a comeback for Keaton. For all we know, the film could very well prove to be a contender for Oscar gold next year. In any case, the stunning ensemble cast – which also includes Emma Stone, Naomi Watts, Zach Galifianakis, Amy Ryan and Edward Norton – makes Birdman one to watch.

What do you think of the trailer and Keaton’s pseudo-return to the superhero world? Sound off in the comments with your thoughts.


Birdman hits theaters this fall. Stay tuned to Screen Rant for further details.

Source: Fox Searchlight

Follow Robert Yaniz Jr. on Twitter @crookedtable
TAGS: Birdman
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  1. Looks weird in a good way. Those close up/wide angle in-your-face shots certainly give the movie a unique style. Not much else to say at this point.

    • My thoughts exactly…”looks weird in a good way”.

      A dark comedy with psychological overtones probably.

      It has me interested.

  2. Actually looks really good!

  3. Not what I was expecting.

    Also, what was Lazerbeak (sorry, Bayzerbeak) doing in there?!

  4. Looks interesting. Still pretty vivid, looks funny, interesting style of directing as well. Is it true that this film is up for Oscar bait though? Or did I just fabricate that rumor on my own?

  5. Just judging from this trailer it does seem like a possible oscar contender.It has a great cast,great Director,good premise i am probably getting ahead of my self but it looks really good.

    • WHO CARES? There’s wonderful wonderful films every year that get snubbed because they don’t appeal to the taste of those who vote. An Oscar Contender doesn’t particularly mean a movie is “good” either, I can think of a few film last year that we’re nominated for BP, and we’re just ok at best.

      • *were

  6. If they replace Norton with Christian Bale, many fans will get the joke.

    • Or replace Michael Keaton with Bill Bixby. THERE’S YOUR PUNCHLINE. But nah… in all honesty… this movie looks great.

  7. I’ve had my eye on this for awhile now, and now that there’s a teaser trailer — I’M F***ING PUMPED! Plus this is shot by Emmanuel Lubezski, from the trailer alone you can tell his presence will be known with that wonderful opening tracking shot; I’ll be heavily anticipating this one this fall. I get somewhat of a Spike Jonze vibe from it?

    • Now that you’ve mentioned it, the premise does sound more Jonze than Inarritu. I wonder how the mexican director will fare out of his usual comfort zone but I’m fairly confident in his talent and the stellar cast. Definitely intriguing.

  8. I wonder if there’s any relationship between this movie and the Adult Swim series “Harvey Bridman, Attorney at Law”, following the adventures of a retired superhero, ‘Birdman’, who became a lawyer, or is the “Birdman” just a coincidence?

    • Probably the latter since Keaton plays an actor, not a lawyer.

  9. What? Even if we are talking about my man Michael Keaton…

  10. This looks realllly good.

  11. If anyone is suited for this kind of set-up, it’s Michael Keaton. He obviously did this for a reason. And it’s cool to see a Batman fictionalize how he handled the aftermath of his superhero run. IMO, he is the best live-action Batman. Bruce Wayne? No, Bale nailed that. But definitely Batman.

    • Yeah I can never make up my mind on which is the better Batman but Bale is a way better Bruce Wayne.

      • I thought Bale was brilliant as both in Begins. That film itself is one of my favorites.

        After that? I can’t stand that Batman at all. It’s not just the voice; EVERYTHING about him became unbearable.

        • Why do people hate the growl so much? It suits the character and it helps hiding his identity.

          • Because the growl makes you laugh at him

            • It’s not Bale’s fault if you’re that shallow. Any real reason?

              • It actually is Bales fault though, that voice is what got him the part in the first place hahah

                • Yes, but again, it suits the character and Bale doesn’t deserve the hate.

  12. The public will likely give this one the bird. They are holding out for big tent-poles like X-men, Spiderman, Avengers, and Justice League.


  13. Looks good!

    Interesting. Very interesting. Maybe even one of my favourite films of the year?
    Obviously that’s a pretty tall order, but not out of the realm of possibilities.

    Sadly Lego Movie wins that prize thus far. Can be overthrown though. Absolutely.

  14. I’m in. It’s classic Keaton.

  15. Looks great! I can’t wait to see this movie! Micheal Keaton rocks!

  16. The real question when can we get a Batman Beyond movie? Mike K is at the perfect age to play the older Bruce Wayne. Throw in a Tron esque Bat suit. Boom easy money.

  17. It looks great, finally a film were Michael Keaton can let rip a bit like he used to back in the day…

  18. The slow dawning of the Superhero art film.

    MoS had shades of it up until the last 45 minutes when it morphed into my favorite straight up superhero film.

    But this is a very different bird altogether. It could well kill two birds with one stone for Keaton; being in arguably (from the trailer) his most substantive & significant film in 15 years (the one to beat is “Live from Baghdad”-’02,IMO) & joyously kicking Norton’s ass for bailing out of The Avengers (don’t care whose fault it was..it was Norton’s lol).

    But as the crow flies straight, so does a little birdie tell us that this movie may be at once life imitating art on the outside, as well as the mundane turned inside out into a depiction of the superhero we all need to wake up the next morning, not the one we whine about needing so bad. The latter’s for the birds; we all whine plenty here, from chirps to big beaked KAWWS!

    I’ll eat crow if this doesn’t become a milestone event for the more serious minded film subculture. He’ll end up meeting The Owls of Gahoole & all save the world, proving 2 birdbrains are better than one.

    I’m hopping this great ensemble cast shows that birds of a feather flock together, soaring not quite as high as Icarus, who’ll be introduced in the sequel;

    Birdman vs. Icarus: Dawn of Fire!

    Kaw! Kaw! Kaw!

    Joking aside, I am majorly pumped for this film. Can’t wait for October. Both Keaton & Norton grace my list of Top 10 actors.

  19. This looks amazing, and now I know what Luke Skywalker feels like!

  20. Those birD men has anything to do with hulk girl?

    • Does birdmen have any relation with hawk girl? Or they are two different characters?

  21. I wear women’s clothing