Travis’s Top 5 Robert Downey Jr. Movies

Written by Travis Pulchinski March 26, 2013

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Robert Downey’s Jr.’s road to stardom has been a rather rocky one.  Between his days as a ostentatious young member of Saturday Night Live and the brat pack to his recent emergence as one of the most dynamic leading men in Hollywood is a long and winding journey with a couple rest stops in rehab.  Along the whole ride, Downey Jr. has dazzled, sharing the screen with legendary actors and proving himself constantly to be better than expected.  Here are my personal top 5 favorite Robert Downey Jr. vehicles.

#5. A Scanner Darkly (2006)

Downey Jr. brings on the bizarre in this psychedelic sci-fi flick adapted from the acclaimed novel by Phillip K. Dick, in which he plays James Barris, a drug-addled paranoid sociopath who, along with Woody Harrelson, completely steals the movie from the predictably stoic Keanu Reeves.

#4. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)


Regularly hailed as “one of the best movies you’ve never seen”, “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” didn’t quite live up to the hype for me, but the highlights definitely derived from the pairing of Downey Jr. with Val Kilmer.  The off-kilter pair combine for some great moments and absolutely hysterical lines as Downey gets to put his signature wry wittiness on full display opposite “Gay Perry”, Kilmer’s indignant detective.

#3. Chaplin (1992)

This was a tough movie to place in this list, as it holds the dual qualities of possibly being Downey Jr.’s best individual performance while also being perhaps the worst movie on this list.  Downey Jr. embodies the iconic image of Chaplin, mastering his mannerisms, his elegant demeanour and his famous routines.  His spectacular portrayal earned him an academy award nomination, single-handedly warranting the watching of an otherwise bland and unremarkable film.

#2. Tropic Thunder (2008)

While the reception for “Tropic Thunder” was undeniably mixed, even the haters found themselves compulsively quoting some of Robert Downey Jr.’s unforgettable lines.  Downey Jr. flies in from left-field and  commits mass theft of the show from the star-studded cast with his black-face portrayal of Kirk Lazarus, a dude playing a dude disguised as another dude.  So universally loved was Downey Jr.’s character that it earned him his second academy award nomination, a near-unprecedented occurrence for an actor in a blockbuster comedy.  Unfortunately, while he didn’t make the mistake of going full retard, he still went home empty handed.

#1. Iron Man (2008)


This was a no-brainer to me.  Although it’s not his most critically acclaimed film, “Iron Man” symbolized Robert Downey Jr’s resurrection and emergence as an A-list leading man.  Quite simply, he IS Tony Stark, and his performance has made him the undisputed and irreplaceable embodiment of his comic book counterpart.  “Iron Man” not only signaled a new era for Downey Jr, but it also kicked off the now-dominant Marvel dynasty of superhero movies, in which Downey Jr. has reprised his role in just about every single one.  He is the face of the superhero film franchise, the magnetic membrane melding everything that is making Marvel the biggest name in modern movies.  With “Iron Man 3” set to hit theatres in a few weeks and future reprisals of Tony Stark undoubtedly in the works, Robert Downey Jr.’s career appears set to skyrocket to even greater heights.  

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