From Chaplin to Sherlock to Iron Man, these are Robert Downey Jr movies that we all love.
Robert Downey Jr is one of today’s most recognizable movie performers, but how do his films rate from worst to best? His filmography is filled with ups and downs, from his origins in the Brat Pack to his Academy Award-nominated performance in Chaplin to his elevation to cinematic royalty as the Godfather of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The actor began his career while he was young but sprang into the limelight with 1997’s Less Than Zero, launching a career that peaked early with his critically applauded performance as Charlie Chaplin in 1992. Soon later, he struck rock bottom after battling heroin addiction for most of his life, ending himself in state jail. Downey vowed to rehabilitate himself and turn his life around. He quickly took up right where he left off, turning forth a string of outstanding performances in fascinating films before blasting into the stratosphere as the MCU’s Iron Man.
Robert Downey Jr has established himself as one of the biggest cinema stars of all time, thanks partly to his lucrative tenure as Tony Stark/Iron Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with a lengthy heritage of appearances in less commercially successful movies by great filmmakers.
Fans can surely name a slew of films starring the actor that they regard as favorites, but which of his films are regarded as the finest by critics?
His journey is its own superhero origin narrative, one of triumph over adversity and aiming for the skies. While he will always be known for his role as Iron Man, he has over 50 more roles that are worth a look.
Here is a list of the Robert Downey Jr movies that we all love him 3000 for.
Iron Man Trilogy
Downey was back; after years of battles with a substance addiction that had brought him to rock bottom, he was recovered and ready to regain his spot as one of the most fascinating and startling performers working today. Director Jon Favreau expected the actor to add gravity and levity to the picture. Still, the effect has proved even more famous and long-lasting than that outstanding turn. This is a full-throttle, no-holds-barred movie-star performance that successfully combines the actor’s characteristic mixture of humanity, humor, and bad-boy appeal.
Before this, Robert Downey Jr had a successful career, but when he stated, “I am Iron Man,” for the first time in 2008, viewers instantly believed him, and they haven’t stopped believing him since.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is now a well-oiled machine. Still, the franchise’s growing pains were on full show in 2010 with Iron Man 2, which tripped over the momentum of its predecessor and nearly faceplants. Downey is in good shape, but he’s continuously overshadowed by a screenplay that would rather spend its time inelegantly building up a slew of other films.
Even Mickey Rourke, fresh off his career-best performance in The Wrestler, appears to be phoning it in, handing the position of scene-stealer to Sam Rockwell, whose performance as Justin Hammer is the main reason to rewatch this mediocre entry.
Perhaps the most underappreciated chapter in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, this Shane Black-directed entry picks up the torch left by mega-hit The Avengers and quickly tosses it over its shoulder, deciding to do its own thing.
Iron Man 3 makes the wise decision to focus on the character that got everyone invested in the first place, Tony Stark himself, as he wrestles with the idea of scaling back his role as Iron Man and focusing more on his personal life, free of the burden of playing housekeeping on the myriad other properties in the MCU. It is also a Christmas movie for people who practice.
This, the first Avengers film, has a charmingly old-fashioned feel about it. This wonderful crowd-pleaser strikes all the right notes. It takes its audience on a rollercoaster journey of pure geek delight, a Dirty Dozen-Esque, “let’s get the group together” style blockbuster. Perhaps it’s because there’s a human element at work, with Nick Fury doing everything he can to make this super-team work; perhaps it’s because Joss Whedon draws each of these characters so clearly and specifically, or perhaps it’s because the formula wasn’t set yet. There was just so much joy in seeing all these actors interact with each other.
Here we found out who Actually Tony Stark is without the suit, A Genius, Billionaire, Playboy, Philanthropist!
Following the high-flying joy of the first Avengers picture, the franchise sputters with a far less imaginative second installment. By this stage, Downey was far enough removed from the inspiration of his debut as Iron Man and the renewal that would come with his character’s climax moments in Endgame that he could do it in his sleep. It also doesn’t help that Ultron is one of the MCU’s most underwhelming villains (and that’s saying a lot) or that Joss Whedon appears to struggle to balance the film’s large cast as effectively as he did in its predecessor.
Infinity War, directed by the Russo Brothers, takes the numerous superhero approach of the first Avengers and ups the ante by tossing practically every Marvel Cinematic Universe character into the mix and letting them bounce off each other for over three hours. The end result is entertaining for fans and painfully brief; with so many characters, there isn’t enough time with any of them to properly focus or care about them. Of course, it all boils down to the Thanos snap, a dramatic climax that decimates half the cast and triumphs the wicked Thanos. Even though the spectator knows everyone will return in the following part, Downey portrays the pain of losing his pals masterfully.
No amount of criticism could keep the MCU’s ardent supporters from enjoying every minute of this pivotal episode, which is as much a warm hug from Kevin Feige and the team as it is a conclusion to this cycle of the series. The opening two hours are crammed with fan service and hand-wavey time travel hijinks, but the return of the missing Avengers via the portals, led by the late Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther, is the kind of stirring blockbuster moment for which people flock to the movies.
Of course, Downey’s final moment as Iron Man is the cherry on top, a fitting send-off for a figure that gave birth to a franchise and revitalized a career.
This was the pinnacle of this remarkable actor’s career before Tony Stark, an Oscar-nominated performance that not only resembled the renowned actor and director but also manages to embody Chaplin’s ineffable fun, puckish sense of humor, and melancholy. The accompanying film, directed by Richard Attenborough, doesn’t always soar beyond the conventional biographical tropes. Still, Downey’s portrayal is tough to resist, a turn that would’ve been the actor’s career highpoint if it hadn’t been for what would happen more than a decade later…
Robert Downey Jr is recognized for doing his parts well, and Chaplin is one such example. The film is a biography of Charlie Chaplin, detailing his climb from poverty to money and humorous success and his troubled personal life and run-ins with the FBI. Robert Downey Jr plays Charlie Chaplin with remarkable realism.
Downey’s controversial performance in Tropic Thunder as method actor Kirk Lazarus, who never breaks character until he’s recorded a film’s DVD commentary and then decides to surgically don blackface to play an African-American Vietnam sergeant, has recently been reevaluated as to whether or not it’s offensive. However, filmmaker Ben Stiller and Downey are adamant about not promoting racist acts but rather skewering the method craziness of performers whose ignorance goes hand in hand with their desire for Oscar success.
The character of Lazarus is one of the most ruthlessly satiric components in this amazing picture, which is generally one of the more experimental and daring studio comedies of the twenty-first century. Downey received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor, unusual for such an over-the-top humorous performance.
One of David Fincher’s most underappreciated masterpieces, this film investigates the unsolved Zodiac murders of the 1960s and 1970s through two intertwining stories: the first about a reporter and a cartoonist obsessed with the case, and the second about two cops on the hunt for the killer.
Downey, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Mark Ruffalo all offer outstanding performances in their pre-MCU roles, notably Downey, whose disintegrating alcoholic is a devastating depiction of the tiredness that comes with obsession. The actual star, of course, is Fincher, whose rigorous filmmaking creates a work of focus and intent that is so full of dread that it is indelible.
Downey Jr appeared as real-life journalist Paul Avery in this sweeping historical mystery thriller set in the late 1960s and early 1970s and centered on the activities of the Zodiac killer. He’s part of a diverse and talented cast that also includes fellow MCU stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Mark Ruffalo in key roles.
Natural Born Killers
Natural Born Killers, directed by Oliver Stone and based on a narrative and screenplay by Quentin Tarantino, was released like a bomb in 1994 and is filled to the brim with brutal, cartoonish violence and over-the-top flair. As a television journalist obsessed with the path of destruction left by Mickey and Mallory Knox, Robert Downey Jr eats the landscape to an eerie and mesmerizing effect (Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis). It’s an acquired taste, to be sure, but its savage satire of a violent civilization is clear.
Robert Downey Jr portrays an unethical journalist who sensationalizes the killing spree of two key characters in this highly stylized–and extremely controversial–crime film from Oliver Stone that satirizes media preoccupation with murderers.
Good Night, and Good Luck
The absorbing picture of CBS newscaster Edward R. Murrow’s struggle against Senator Joe McCarthy and the Communist blacklist is the greatest film in George Clooney’s filmmaking oeuvre. Downey Jr completes an all-star cast with a pathos-filled performance as a CBS employee whose career is jeopardized as he fights to conceal his marriage to one of his coworkers.
In this portrayal of Edward R. Murrow’s 1950s confrontation with Senator Joseph McCarthy, Robert Downey Jr plays real-life journalist Joseph Wershba.
Good Night and Good Luck is a stylishly bold film that received several Oscar nominations for its look, including Art Direction and Cinematography, as well as a drama about brave ideas that received other major nominations that year for Clooney, including Best Actor, Best Picture, and both Best Director and Best Original Screenplay.
Sherlock Holmes 1 and 2
Sherlock Holmes is Sir Arthur Conan Doyle by way of Guy Ritchie, which means that subtlety and deductive reasoning are out the window and CGI-filled action sequences are in. That yet, there’s plenty of fun to be had here. Downey, the freshly resurrected actor, demonstrates that he’s more than capable of carrying down two major franchises in a performance that earned him a Golden Globe.
Guy Ritchie’s second Sherlock Holmes adventure follows in the footsteps of the first, discarding the basic beauty of Sherlock’s logical reasoning in favor of blockbuster action and cranking it up to a fever pitch of button-mashing video game-style histrionics.
Downey is still having a good time here. Still, the film’s frenetic “everything but the kitchen sink” mentality rapidly devolves into tedium.
In 2009, Robert Downey Jr played the great investigator Sherlock Holmes, and he reprised the role in the sequel in 2011. Sherlock Holmes 3 will be released in theaters ten years later, following a series of scheduling difficulties.
Little is known about the plot other than the fact that the movie will continue the fascinating adventures of Sherlock Holmes and his trusty companion, Watson, but Downey Jr promises big things. “We want it to be the greatest in the series, which is a hefty order.”
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
Iron Man is frequently considered the film that heralded the triumphant resurgence of this always-stellar actor’s career, following decades in and out of treatment and time served in state prison. Shane Black’s twisty-turns directorial debut, on the other hand, clearly established the tone. Downey is fantastic as a robber acting as an actor auditioning for a job. His chemistry with Val Kilmer as gay cop Gay Perry literally explodes off the screen. Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang sees Downey Jr return to the big screen, dripping with sarcasm as it joyfully dances through its confusing story.
The plot centers around a minor criminal who passes himself off as an actress. He is taken to Los Angeles for an improbable audition. He finds himself in the thick of a murder case alongside his high school dream girl and a detective.