5 Robert Downey Jr Movies That Aren’t Iron Man: Tropic Thunder, Sherlock Holmes, and More

Photo: Daily News

Photo: Daily News

By Jove Moya

April 05, 2021

Believe it or not, Robert Downey Jr is not only known for his role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

For many fans, seeing award-winning Robert Downey Jr. under Iron Man’s armour is a reward of a lifetime. But the actor is not only known for scenes that conquer exploding cars and diabolical villains; through the years, Downey has performed iconic roles in different movies.

One of the funniest satirical action films that came out in 2008 was Tropic Thunder where Downey played the role of Kirk Lazarus, an Australian method actor who decides to augment his pigmentation through surgery in order to play a black character in a Vietnam war movie.

Despite the offensive gags, Tropic Thunder earned Downey his second Oscar nomination in 2009. “I think that it’s never an excuse to do something [blackface] that’s out of place and out of its time,” Downey said. “But to me, it blasted the cap on [the issue]. I think having moral psychology is job one. In my defence, ‘Tropic Thunder’ is about how wrong blackface is, so I take exception”.

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Before Henry Cavill’s Sherlock Holmes portrayal saw the light of the day, Downey had already given the infamous detective life in 2009. Directed by Guy Ritchie, the movie re-imagines the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

In Downey’s version of the movie, Holmes was portrayed as a detective bludgeoned by his own vices; this is far from Cavill’s seemingly fit and healthy version of the role.

Sherlock Holmes (2019) holds an approval rating of 69 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes. Although the site’s critical consensus said Ritchie could do better as a director, Downey’s portrayal of the legendary detective was strong and appealing.

Read also: Tatler Review: Why The Whole Family Needs To Watch Enola Holmes (2020)

The identity of the Zodiac, one of America’s most notorious serial murderer, remains unknown up to this day. But the killer has already been given a face in several documentaries and big-screen movies.

In Zodiac (2007), David Fincher tells the story of  Robert Graysmith, a San Francisco cartoonist who becomes a detective obsessed with tracking down the Zodiac Killer. In this film, Downey portrayed Paul Avery, a journalist reluctant of the clues Graysmith picked up.

Few years before Downey officially took part in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he was known as Harry Lockhart from Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang starts off with a narration from Lockhart, a thief from New York who breaks into a casting call in an attempt to escape the cops. In a surprising turn of events, Lockhart ends up being invited to Los Angeles as the “next big discovery” of a hot-shot producer.

The film, which premiered in 2005, is also the directorial debut of Lethal Weapon screenwriter Shane Black.

The life of British comedian Charlie Chaplin was perfectly pictured on screen through the portrayal of Downey in Chaplin (1992). Downey’s persuasive performance garnered critical acclaim and even earned him the British Academy Film Award for Best Actor.

Downey also received nominations for the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture Actor and Academy Award for Best Actor. 

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