I don't know many people other than the friend I dragged to the theater, that has seen or will see Birdman. This isn't surprising at all due to it's "experimental" nature. Almost everything about this movie is strange surreal, down to the way it was shot. That said, I really loved Birdman, but I don't think it isn't without it's problems.
Two things about this movie that may steer you away: One, it takes place in one location for about 97% of the film, and the other 3% doesn't take place very much farther than walking distance from that location. Two, it's all shot in one shot, meaning that it only cuts between scenes maybe 2 or 3 times during the entire film. These two unusual aspects of the film are joined by many other quirks, but these are going to be the two that are the most striking.
Michael Keaton plays a washed up actor known for making millions from his character Birdman. (There's a clear parallel to his real-life success with Batman) Now, he's attempting to get back into the mind of viewers by writing, directing, and acting in a Broadway production. The film follows his interactions within the theater while he lives in it, and slightly outside the theater. He ultimately is disgusted with himself and unhappy with where his life went. He is a washed up hack, out of touch with the world, but refuses to sell out to the big budget blockbuster culture that he was once wrapped up in. Keaton can't escape his Birdman identity and is using this play to run away from the deep superhero voice in his head. The movie mainly focuses on this struggle between Keaton and Birdman, and his fight to grow relevant without the use of his Birdman "powers".
The movie rarely takes it's focus off the theater unless leaving it is in service of developing the a character at the bar or walking down the street. His agent, Zach Galifinakis works to fix things that go wrong with a thin guise that he actually cares for Keaton's character as opposed to his own gain. Edward Norton plays the classic actor/artist who must have everything his way and goes to any lengths to be taken seriously and further his craft. There are other characters wandering through this theater, and you learn more about them through the "visual handoff" that the single-shot style is trying to capture. If we are to focus on another character, they will walk by and the camera will take focus of the previous character and begin to follow another. It takes some getting used to, but becomes quite fluid as the movie progresses.
My problems really lie with the ending of the film, which I'm not going to discuss in detail. I'm a stickler for endings, and this one I believe dragged out past its expiration. There's a point in the movie, and I challenge you to find it, where I believe it should have ended as opposed to how it actually ended. This wasn't a deal breaker as far as my enjoyment of the movie, but I feel like it really altered the message of the film that was really unnecessarily confusing. Fortunately, I enjoyed the movie a great deal, and was able to move past that pretty major flaw.
While Birdman isn't a movie that families will go out and see, I believe it's a movie that will be in many film classes in the future. It's such a great look at the theater and the mind of someone who once had success and faded away. No one but Michael Keaton could have played this role. All of the actors were so perfect for the part they played, especially Edward Norton who brought wit and general outlandishness to what is already a pretty outlandish movie. I can safely say that it's unlike anything I've ever seen, and I don't regret the time I gave to it.