Tomorrow Robert Downey Jr. suits up once again as Marvel’s keystone in Shane Black’s “Iron Man 3.” It’s expected to be the end of a trilogy, though we’ll surely see Tony Stark again (as the film’s closing credits promise). It’s also a bit of a door closed on the actor’s rebirth which began, in no uncertain terms, with his return to insurability in the 2008 original. What better time, then, than to look back on his finest work over the last three decades?
Downey is obviously one of the most versatile (perhaps the best) actors of his generation and his story off the screen has been as captivating as those he’s helped bring to the screen. A rise-fall-redemption narrative is always intriguing in Hollywood, whether it’s behind the scenes or in the multiplex, and Downey has come out the other end not just relevant again, but a bankable, blockbuster superstar that he wasn’t just six years ago.
We’ve put our heads together to come up with what we think are his 10 greatest performances. Great work brief and expansive in films like “Black and White,” “Good Night, and Good Luck.” and “Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus” had to make way for the rest, though at this rate, we’re likely to have enough for another list before long; the next phase in Downey’s career could be a new golden age.
Click through the gallery below to see our picks and feel free to rate them as you go. And tell us your favorite Downey performance in the comments section below.