Who is Birdman? Incurious? This figure of undermined glory, waiting for the stardom to over take him. The ruthlessly passionate, the vain narcissist, the hero of a hero-less world, a long dreamer and fast doer. Ready for the reevaluation of glory back onto him. By taking the stage, by flying too close to the sun, by writing, directing, and staring in your own Raymond Carver adaptation. Letting go of what is loved to chase what seems destined. But as Amy Ryan’s character tells Riggan and every other artist “you confuse love with admiration.”(– Sylvia 43) If admiration is what the artist is striving for then love will be lost and a destiny blown,. When something real is on the line like love or other vital human emotions the will can be tested. Many even heroes live with delusions of grandeur, but maybe if you can flush those notions away then you could truly soar in the perfect median of radiant success and failure.
Birdman has delusions of grandeur, which is a constant driving force for him throughout the movie. For him to be relevant for him to be seen as important as an Artist, this pursuit went above all, the daughter, the girlfriend, and the ex-wife. This chase for glory keeps him on quite the emotional roller-coaster ride through out the film. One moment being energetic and vibrant like a star shooting across the sky only to quickly switch to incapable and self-loathing like dead jelly fish on a beach, with life left in the water. “You threw a kitchen knife at me… and one hour later you were telling me how much you loved me.” (- Sylvia 43) This emotional spiking nature seems to have been with birdman for some time, it is apart of his character. Riggan doesn’t want to be the birdman, but that is what he is known for. It seems if he cut away birdman from himself it would be like a bird cutting away it’s wings in mid flight. Birds are known and respected for their wings like Riggan Thompson is known and despised for his earlier birdman persona.
Birdman loses his delusions of grandeur in the moment he decide to kill him self on stage, that very move would, in most cases, make it impossible for someone who shot themselves in the face on stage to ever receive the glory of those actions. But by the fate of a bad shot, he survives, and he is able to flush away the Birdman persona that he held on to feel purpose and to feel important. But he is no longer defined as birdman, because he threw away his hopes of grandeur, when he threw away his life. He will never be defined as birdman, because he is Riggan Thompson that actor who shot himself on stage now. That is how the world in turns work; even the stars that shine the brightest will in it’s turn too fall from it’s graces, burn itself away until it is nothing but ashes, and through the ashes the phoenix can arise, the new man, new empire, or new hope can emerge.
Birdman has fantastic lessons for any artist, but better living lessons to anyone that life interests. Us humans only have so many years to live and experience what life has to offer. With that dreary remainder of life that can capture many in webs of stress of being known for one thing. Why would we allow ourselves to live in a rut, unable to make the distinction between the bad times and our current times? Life is a stage just as much as the stage where Brando bled is a stage. Only in life’s stage everyone can be Riggan Thompson, writing, directing, and the lead of their own life. With this freedom why do we live in the same roles for a lifetime? We can drop the birdman of our lives and live into a new skin, new character, and new life mindset. I believe this change of self can be done without shooting yourself in the face, just as Riggan can still swore in the sky once birdman has been flushed away.