Robert Downey Jr. Believes His Best Work in Marvel Films Went ‘Unnoticed’ Because of the Genre

The 58-year-old actor believes that the quality of his acting in the MCU may have been overlooked because of the superhero genre.

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Robert Downey Jr. thinks some of his “best work” went unnoticed because of the superhero genre.

The actor appeared on an episode of the podcast Literally! With Rob Lowe published on Thursday and told the host that he was feeling at the top of his game in 2019 after he concluded his 11-year run as Tony Stark in Iron Man for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, he wasn’t sure if audiences really appreciated the quality of work he was bringing to the MCU films at the time.

“I felt so exposed after being in the cocoon of Marvel, where I think I did some of the best work I will ever do, but it went a little bit unnoticed because of the genre,” said the 58-year-old, per Deadline

Downey Jr. hung up his Iron Man suit for good in 2019 with Avengers: Endgame. The first film in his post-MCU career was 2020’s Dolittle, an adaption of Hugh Lofting’s children’s books about a doctor’s ability to speak to animals, did not fare well with the critics with Vanity Fair’s Richard Lawson calling it an “unfunny misfire.”

“In a way, I did myself a favor, because the rug was pulled so definitively out from underneath me and all the things that I was leaning on as opposed to what my understanding of confidence and security was, boy did they evaporate. And it rendered me teachable. And the crazy thing is they say, ‘When the student is ready, the [Christopher] Nolan will come.’ I mean, ‘the teacher will come.’ And that’s what happened,” said Downey Jr. on the podcast. 

Despite the blemish on the actor’s otherwise impressive multi-decade career, Downey Jr. proved to be victorious at the 2024 Golden Globes where he took home the award for Best Performance in a Supporting Role for his work in Oppenheimer.

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