Robert Downey Jr. Blames Superhero Bias For Going 'Unnoticed'

Robert Downey Jr. Blames Superhero Bias For Going 'Unnoticed'
Image credit: Universal Pictures, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

The actor believes that his performance in the MCU was overlooked because of its relation to the superhero genre.


  • Robert Downey Jr. has been an integral part of the MCU for over a decade, thanks to his portrayal of Tony Stark
  • The actor mentioned that many of these performances went unnoticed because they were associated with the superhero genre
  • Leaving the franchise wasn't easy for Downey, but it taught him a valuable lesson

The superhero genre has come a long way over the past few decades, from comic books that were once associated with geeks and laughed at, to a mainstream medium that has led to even more popular high-budget movies that attract huge audiences.

Although in recent years it has become apparent that superhero flicks have passed their prime and are beginning to lose popularity, even when the genre was at its peak, it was often looked down upon by some.

You have probably come across various articles or statements from well-known filmmakers and critics claiming that such films are inferior to most other forms of cinema and are nothing more than soulless products made to make money.

While this may be true for many installments in the genre, not all of them fall into the same category, and sometimes the stars of superhero films deliver performances worthy of some fancy "high art" movie.

Still, given the aforementioned bias, it is no wonder that skeptics often prefer to overlook the quality of acting in such films just because they belong to a "lesser" mainstream genre.

Robert Downey Jr. Is Proud Of His Portrayal Of Tony Stark

Robert Downey Jr. Blames Superhero Bias For Going 'Unnoticed' - image 1

Robert Downey Jr., who has been the face of the MCU for over a decade after his debut as Tony Stark in the first Iron Man film in 2008, has experienced this firsthand, as the actor recently revealed during his appearance on the Literally! podcast.

The actor opened up about leaving the franchise after his character's death in 2019's Avengers: Endgame, saying that he felt "exposed" after being involved in it for so many years.

However, Downey also pointed out that despite giving some of the best performances of his entire career as Tony Stark, most of it "went unnoticed" because they were superhero movies.

Leaving MCU Taught RDJ A Valuable Lesson

Robert Downey Jr. Blames Superhero Bias For Going 'Unnoticed' - image 2

So when, after a long hiatus, the actor found himself out of the familiar MCU environment and trying to do something different with 2020's Dolittle, it was like the rug was pulled out from under him.

The movie's failure proved to be a valuable lesson for him, so he took it humbly, and his next big screen appearance in 2023's Oppenheimer received a much warmer reception.

Robert Downey Jr. Blames Superhero Bias For Going 'Unnoticed' - image 3

While his portrayal of Tony Stark was indeed unique, with Downey delivering an outstanding performance every time, especially in Endgame, leaving the MCU was a great move for the actor, fans say.

He could have stayed there for many more movies, but his streak wouldn't have lasted forever, leading to the actor getting tired of his role and eventually starting to phone in his performance.

Considering all this, Tony Stark's journey ended exactly when it had to, and we should be glad that the actor didn't choose to drag it out for who knows how long, even if, looking at the current state of the MCU, many fans are wishing for Robert Downey Jr.'s return.

With his role in Oppenheimer, Downey proved to everyone that his acting abilities are not limited to portraying only the genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist that we have grown to love over the years, making fans eager to see him play more interesting and diverse characters in the future.

Source: Literally! With Rob Lowe, Reddit

Would you like to see Robert Downey Jr. return to the MCU?