Robert Downey Jr.'s film career is like something out of a movie itself. He started out in small roles in the '80s, slowly making a name for himself and then becoming one of the most fascinating young actors around. His career was sidelined by drug addiction and legal issues before he made one of Hollywood's most dramatic comebacks, becoming one of the biggest stars in the business.
From his iconic role as Iron Man in the MCU to his stellar work as a character actor, Downey Jr. has built an amazing filmography. As we wait to see what his post-MCU career will bring, let's have a look back at his greatest work to date. Here are Robert Downey Jr.'s best films according to Rotten Tomatoes.
10 Captain America: Civil War (92%)
By the time Captain America: Civil War came about, Downey Jr. was already more than comfortable in his role as Tony Stark, aka Iron Man. However, this intense yet entertaining adventure allowed him to explore the character in an exciting new way.
After a devastating accident, the government seeks to control the Avengers, which pits Tony and Steve Rogers on opposite sides of the debate, threatening to tear the Avengers apart. Downey Jr. gives a powerful and intense performance as we learn more about his character and how he was shaped.
9 Spider-Man: Homecoming (92%)
Civil War was also responsible for introducing Tom Holland's Spider-Man to the MCU. Holland proved to be perfect for the role and he had amazing chemistry with Downey Jr.. This led to Tony Stark playing a small but pivotal part in Spider-Man's first solo film in the MCU.
The movie explores Peter Parker's quest to become an Avenger and get Tony's respect. The movie was a hilarious and exciting high school adventure with Holland continuing to impress in the lead role. Downey Jr. was ideal in the mentor role and helped create one of the most heart-warming relationships in the MCU.
8 The Avengers (92%)
Iron Man was already a hugely popular character by the time The Avengers rolled around, but it remained to be seen if Downey Jr.'s exceptional performance would allow for other heroes to share the screen with him.
The adventure brought the MCU's first heroes together to save New York from an alien invasion. But the real joy of the movie was seeing these iconic characters interacting with each other on the big screen. Downey Jr. was his usual charming and captivating self, but he also partnered beautifully with the rest of the superhero cast.
7 Iron Man (93%)
The MCU kicked off with this solo film based on one of Marvel's lesser-known heroes. While all of that seems like a risky move, the biggest surprise was casting Downey Jr. in the lead role. Though he was very much on the comeback trail at this point, it was a shock to have him at the head of such a big franchise.
It proved to be one of the best casting decisions of all time. Downey Jr. brought so much to the character, making Tony Stark a funny, energetic and off-the-wall eccentric while providing endless charm and depth within this fun adventure film.
6 Good Night, And Good Luck. (93%)
Though Downey Jr. is obviously a world-class leading man, he is also fantastic as part of an ensemble. In Good Night, and Good Luck., he joined an all-star cast that included George Clooney, David Strathairn, Jeff Daniels and Patricia Clarkson.
The throwback drama told the true story of journalist Edward R. Murrow (Strathairn) and his team taking on the Communist witch-hunt led by Senator Joseph McCarthy. The film is filled with great performances and an intense look at a subject that still feels relevant today.
5 Richard III (94%)
The works of Shakespeare are not always easy to bring to the big screen, but it only takes a few great actors to do the prose justice. This take on the play about a murderous king is transplanted into the 1930s and mirrors the rise of the Nazi regime at that time.
Ian McKellen shines in the titular role, presenting a terrifying, charming and complex villain. Downey Jr. has a memorable supporting role as Rivers, a rival to the throne. The setting gives an exciting energy to the story and the cast handles the difficult material wonderfully, making for a thrilling drama.
4 Baby It's You (94%)
Before he found superstardom, Downey Jr. had to pay his dues like everyone else. He spent a good chunk of the '80s popping up in bit parts in comedies and young adult movies. While the roles weren't always substantial, some of them were luckily quite good.
Baby It's You was a romantic comedy set in the '60s, starring Vincent Spano and Patricia Arquette as two young lovers from different sides of the tracks. The familiar story is held up by strong performances from the leads and some genuine charm.
3 Avengers: Endgame (94%)
It's quite fitting that Downey Jr's highest-rated MCU film is also, most likely, his last. Avengers: Endgame is the incredibly satisfying conclusion not only to Avengers: Infinity War, but also the entire MCU up to this point.
Downey Jr. gives maybe his best performance as Tony Stark, displaying the humor and determination we have come to expect, but also some great new sides of the character. The movie is an exhilarating, funny and heartbreaking adventure that closed one of the biggest cinematic chapters of all time.
2 True Believer (95%)
Courtroom dramas, when done effectively, can be some of the most riveting films. True Believer is a solid yet under-seen entry in the genre which is improved by a pair of excellent leads. Loosely based on a true story, James Woods stars as a cynical defense lawyer who takes on a years-old murder case.
Downey Jr. plays a young legal aid who convinces Woods to take on the case. Both he and Woods make for a compelling pair and turn the somewhat formulaic procedural into a captivating and entertaining thriller.
1 Short Cuts (95%)
It's not surprising that an actor of Downey Jr.'s talents has gotten the opportunity to work with some of the best filmmakers in the world. In Short Cuts, he joined the amazing ensemble of one of Robert Altman's best works.
The movie is a funny and insightful exploration of the lives of several Los Angeles residents as their relationships intercut with one another. The cast is huge and exceptional, helping to bring the wonderful script to life in a unique and brilliant film.