MCU godfather Robert Downey Jr. once again called to weigh in on the cinema debate

Robert Downey Jr. once again responds to Marvel criticism
Robert Downey Jr. once again responds to Marvel criticism

Robert Downey Jr.

Tony Stark may be dead in the ground, but that doesn’t mean Robert Downey Jr. can retire from being a Marvel Cinematic Universe spokesperson. The actor takes full credit for kickstarting the MCU and, therefore, an era of cinema in which “IP has taken precedence over principle and personality,” as he admits in a new interview with Deadline. Still, he disagrees (to an extent) with Quentin Tarantino’s recent comment that Marvel stars aren’t movie stars.

In Downey Jr.’s view, “A piece of IP is only as good as the human talent you get to represent it, and you can have some great IP even if it’s coming from an auteur or a national treasure of a writer-director, and if you don’t have the right kind of artist playing that role, you’ll never know how good it could have been.”

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“I think that creatively it is a waste of time to be at war with ourselves. I think this is a time when everything is so much more fragmented now that I think you have this kind of bifurcation,” he adds. “I go, ‘You know what? Let’s just get over it. We’re all a community. There’s enough room for everything,’ and thank God for Top Gun: Maverick and Avatar: The Way of Water. That’s all I have to say. We need the big stuff to make room for films like Armageddon Time.”

This is not, Downey Jr. explains, “trickle-down entertainment,” but rather his own personal experience having had Marvel reinvigorate his career. His Iron Man journey led to “transformational” experiences like working on Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer, collaborating with Park Chan-wook on The Sympathizer series, and most recently debuting Sr., the documentary about his father (who, by the way, “wasn’t always such a huge fan of these big genre films I was doing”).

“So, I would just say, before we cast aspersions on each other—undergo your own renaissance and see if it doesn’t change your mind a little bit,” Downey Jr. says. “Reinvent yourself before you decide that somebody else doesn’t know what they’re doing or that something is keeping you from doing your best, or that something is better than something else.”

“You know, we’re in this age now where [Jon] Favreau said it best: We used to try to make waves in a lake, and now we’re just trying to catch people’s attention as things are moving by quickly in a stream. I think that’ll change again, but this is just where we’re at. And to accept it and be grateful that you get to participate is the right place to start.”

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