Robert Downey Jr. takes a break from the super-heroics, as well as crime-solving, in the upcoming The Judge, a legal drama that will arrive in theaters this fall. The movie features RDJ in the role of Hank Palmer, a big city lawyer whose success can be attributed to his willingness to use his highly-refined knowledge of the law to protect his well-paying clients… regardless of how guilty they might be. However, when his judge father (Robert Duvall) is accused of a serious crime, Hank is forced to return to his roots (literally) – and defend a man that he’s been alienated from for years.

The first U.S. trailer for The Judge offered a mix of comedy (RDJ snakiness) and drama (Hank’s troubled relationship with his father, who is suspected of murder), but the latest green-band preview – which you can watch above – is more evenly serious in its tone and content. In addition, we also get to learn more about Oscar-nominee Vera Farmiga’s (Bates Motel) character in the film – Hank’s old sweetheart, as it were.

Unfortunately, Farmiga looks to be stuck playing a basic love interest archetype, whose job is to cheer Hank on – as he wrestles with his emotional demons and gets his act together – and… not much else. Sadly, early reviews for The Judge likewise suggest that the movie is the sort of formulaic courtroom melodrama that tends to come off more as being mawkish and outdated, nowadays. (That Hank apparently hasn’t spoken to his father for years because he didn’t love Hank enough during Hank’s childhood… well, it doesn’t help this movie’s case, pardon the pun.)

the judge trailer robert downey jr The Judge Trailer #2: Robert Downey Jr. Upholds the Law

Now, on the plus side, The Judge does “look” pretty good, visually-speaking, and the film’s trailers have featured some handsome cinematography by Oscar-winner Janusz Kaminski (Steven Spielberg’s trusted collaborator for the past twenty years). Similarly, Judge‘s primary cast – which includes award-winners Billy Bob Thornton and Vincent D’Onofrio – is rock solid, and director David Dobkin (Shanghai Knights, Wedding Crashers), who also wrote the film’s story, seems to have his heart in the right place.

That is to say, The Judge might be a bit on the hokey side, thematically-speaking, but that doesn’t mean the film’s without its merits. Feel free to let us know if you’re planning to check this one out in theaters or if you’ll be skipping it (at least until it’s available to watch in the comfort of your home).

The Judge opens in U.S. theaters on October 10th, 2014.

Source: Warner Bros.

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