Robert Downey Jr. Doesn’t Think His Marvel Movies Are His Most Important Films

By Douglas Helm | Updated

Robert Downey Jr Marvel fatigue
The Avengers

Robert Downey Jr’s biggest films over the past 15 years have definitely been his Marvel movies, but he recently told The New York Times that they aren’t necessarily the most important. While Downey Jr. clearly has an appreciation for the film franchise that helped relaunch his Hollywood career, he cited 2006’s The Shaggy Dog and 2020’s Doolittle as essential milestones (via Variety). While those may seem like some strange choices, he gave some really good reasons behind them.

The Shaggy Dog and Doolittle‘s release dates essentially sandwich Robert Downey Jr’s Marvel career, so it makes sense that these two films would provide him the most insight. As Downey puts it, The Shaggy Dog “was the film that got Disney saying they would insure me.

Robert Downey Jr. says The Shaggy Dog and Doolittle were more important than his Marvel films.

In 2006, Downey Jr. was still not really being hired by major studios due to his 1996 arrest for possession of heroin, cocaine, and an unloaded gun. Disney hiring him was the first step for him to getting back into big Hollywood productions, and he would be hired for Iron Man shortly after.

While The Shaggy Dog was mostly just a fluff kid’s film starring Tim Allen as an attorney who gets turned into a dog, it’s easy to see why the film holds a special place in Robert Downey Jr’s mind.

As for Doolittle, Downey has very different reasons for why he considers it important. The film was a massive flop, and Downey describes it as “a two-and-a-half-year wound of squandered opportunity.”

robert downey jr
Doolittle

Doolittle was the first major film for Robert Downey Jr’s, following his final bow as Tony Stark/Iron Man in Avengers: Endgame. Downey both starred in the film and produced it with his wife, Susan Downey, under their Team Downey Productions banner. 

The movie was a massive critical failure and bombed at the box office, which obviously wasn’t the best thing for Downey’s post-Marvel career.

As Downey puts it, The Shaggy Dog “was the film that got Disney saying they would insure me.

Robert Downey Jr didn’t let the failure come without benefits, though, as he said, “we had this reset of priorities and made some changes in who our closest business advisers were.” Downey would then begin his next project, Sr, which was a documentary following his indie filmmaker father Robert Downey Sr. The documentary would then release on Netflix to widespread critical acclaim.

As for Robert Downey Jr’s next big project, it seems like it will be a pretty safe bet that it will be both a commercial and critical success. Downey has a supporting role in Christopher Nolan’s upcoming film Oppenheimer, which follows the titular American scientist who helped to build the atomic bomb.

The film will actually be Downey’s first acting role since he made Doolittle in 2020.

The Cast of Oppenheimer

Along with Robert Downey, Oppenheimer stars Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Josh Hartnett, Florence Pugh, Jack Quaid, Gary Oldman, Gustaf Skarsgard, Kenneth Branagh, Olivia Thirlby, Alden Ehrenreich, David Dastmalchian, David Krumholtz, Casey Affleck, Dane DeHaan, Alex Wolff, and Rami Malek. The film hits theaters on July 21. Make sure to check it out on IMAX to get the true Nolan experience.

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