After Avengers: Endgame you’ll probably want to check out these Robert Downey Jr. films.
Robert Downey Jr. delivered a stellar performance in Avengers: Endgame and many have declared his screen role the greatest of the entire MCU. The franchise we all love began with Downey Jr. in 2008’s Iron Man, but he also boasts a range of great work outside of superhero cinema.
He really is one of a kind, and now seems the best time to glance back over his filmography and select the very best of his films. Without further delay, let’s dive into it:
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (dir. Shane Black, 2005)
Writer-director Shane Black recently disappointed Predator fans with his 2018 action romp – The Predator – but he had quite the admirable track record prior. He previously helmed The Nice Guys back in 2016, a hilariously entertaining buddy cop flick starring Ryan Gosling and Russel Crowe.
Perhaps buddy cop movies are Black’s calling because Kiss Kiss Bang Bang was also cherished; perhaps more so. His directorial feature debut stars Downey Jr. as Harry Lockhart, a thief who humorously stumbles upon the chance of stardom. When he’s requested to shadow a private eye (Val Kilmer) to prepare for a role, a murder mystery begins to unravel. It’s a fun film, elevated by Downey Jr.’s unwavering ability to chew through Black’s dialogue with ease. If you’re an Iron Man fan, you’ll probably love this.
Natural Born Killers (dir. Oliver Stone, 1994)
Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers was incredibly controversial upon its release in 1994. Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis starred as Mickey and Mallory Knox, two serial killers who gain increasingly problematic media coverage. Some considered it a thought-provoking masterpiece, while others swiftly labelled it trashy.
Today, it’s generally considered one of Stone’s best films thanks to its satirical comment on the media and intense performances. Of these performances, Downey Jr’s Wayne Gale is a surefire highlight; he plays an Australian journalist who helps sensationalise the couple’s crimes. He’s perhaps the most memorable element of the film for fresh audiences, making this subversive Bonnie and Clyde revamp essential viewing.
Sherlock Holmes (dir. Guy Ritchie, 2009)
After 2008’s Iron Man, Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes wonderfully capitalised on audiences desire for more Robert Downey Jr. The actor’s portrayal of the famous fictional detective felt like a spiritual continuation of his work in the aforementioned blockbuster; as if Tony Stark had been transported through time.
His charm and charisma are on full display here, with Ritchie completely pushing the boundaries of what a cinematic Sherlock Holmes adaptation could be. Far into the future, fans of both talented individuals will remember this amongst their very best work.
Short Cuts (dir. Robert Altman, 1993)
Robert Altman was one of the most promising directors of the New Hollywood era and crafted such great films as The Player, Nashville, MASH and of course, Short Cuts. Prefiguring Paul Thomas Anderson’s Magnolia, Altman’s 1993 film chronicled the lives of numerous suburban Los Angeles residents. It’s humorous, it’s heartfelt, it’s horrific, and it’s always marvellously entertaining.
With a cast featuring Tom Waits, Julianne Moore, Tim Robbins, Frances McDormand and many more, it’s admittedly a little hard to stand out. Altman’s ability to balance the lives of so many characters is astonishing, giving every single performer the opportunity to offer audiences a memorable turn. Everyone’s great in it, including Downey Jr. who plays everyman Bill Bush. Although Short Cuts doesn’t exactly boast his very best performance, it’s arguably the best film he’s ever starred in.
Zodiac (dir. David Fincher, 2007)
David Fincher is easily one of the most popular filmmakers working today, and with such efforts as Fight Club, Gone Girl and The Social Network under his belt, it’s hardly difficult to understand why. Zodiac is another of his efforts which has earnt an overwhelming degree of respect, praised by fans as one of the best films of the 2000s.
Downey Jr. is great in it as Paul Avery, and if you loved Avengers: Endgame, you’ll be happy to know that Hulk actor Mark Ruffalo also stars as Inspector David Toschi. It’s an expertly crafted dramatic thriller with an all-star cast directed by Fincher; if you haven’t seen it, you definitely have every reason to.
There are plenty of films starring Robert Downey Jr. that are worth checking out – honourable mention to John Hughes’ Weird Science – but these definitely stand out as the best of the bunch.
In other news, when will Avengers: Endgame be out on Blu-ray?