20 Greatest Non-MCU Robert Downey Jr. Films, According To Rotten Tomatoes

While Robert Downey Jr.'s time as Tony Stark might be over (unless the rumors of him appearing in next year's Black Widow are to be believed), his career carries on. Besides starring in Dolittle, Downey is also slated to appear in a third Sherlock Holmes film, Jamie Foxx's directorial debut All-Star Weekend, and a biopic on fraudulent doctor John Brinkley.

This is all probably a relief to Downey, who has spent the last 11 years of his life playing the billionaire superhero over the span of 10 films and has likely been looking for a change of pace. However, most of his die-hard Marvel fans tend to forget that, despite his past issues with drug addiction, Downey has maintained a great acting streak through the years.

So, in honor of the man who's made us laugh out loud, nasty cry, and feel some in-between emotions, we'd like to take a look back at some of his best films that aren't connected to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Why? Because he's so much more than a great Tony Stark. He's a great actor, period.

20 Charlie Bartlett - 57

Via slantmagazine.com

An uneven tone of mature subject matter and teen comedy may have kept this 2007 film from earning awards (and a decent box-office return), but it still provided some great performances courtesy of the late Anton Yelchin and, of course, RDJ.

With Yelchin portraying a new high school student selling drugs at his new public school and RDJ as his alcoholic principal, Charlie Bartlett is a mixed bag that might just surprise you.

19 The Soloist - 57

Via microsoft.com

Nathaniel Ayers was an aspiring musician before his schizophrenia resulted in his institutionalization and eventual homelessness. However, after Los Angeles Times  columnist Steve Lopez began writing about him and his music, a lifetime friendship  blossomed.

This is the true story of The Soloist, with RDJ as Lopez and Jamie Foxx as Ayers. And, while it may not hit all the right notes, it does feature "two of the year's best performances" (according to Rolling Stone).

18 The Gingerbread Man - 58

Via bombreport.com

No, this movie doesn't feature RDJ as a walking, talking cookie (though, that would make for an interesting film), but instead features him as an investigator for divorced attorney Rick Magruder (Kenneth Branagh), who has just become romantically involved with the daughter of a deranged man (Robert Duvall).

However, this wouldn't be a legal thriller without there being more to the case than meets the eye...Don't worry, though. RDJ's not a bad guy.

17 Game 6 - 60

Via imdb.com

RDJ has had his share of critics, so it only makes sense he would play one at least once...specifically, a theater critic. Unfortunately for him, however, his newest subject, playwright Nicky Rogan (Michael Keaton), is so worried that he won't like his newest play that he's determined to assassinate him.

Plus, the Boston Red Sox might lose the World Series (it makes more sense when watching the film).

16 Chaplin - 60

Via haphazardstuff.com

Imagine: if RDJ had never suited up as Iron Man, this is likely the role his career would've been defined by in terms of critical acclaim.

For the 1992 biographical comedy-drama Chaplin, Downey practically transformed into silent film legend Charlie Chaplin, which earned him Oscar and Golden Globe nominations (and a BAFTA win).

15 Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows - 60

Via villagevoice.com

Though RDJ had already proven himself as the definitive Iron Man, in 2011, he was also being seen by many as their definitive Sherlock Holmes. In this action-filled period piece overseen once again by Guy Ritchie, RDJ's Holmes re-teams with Jude Law's Dr. Watson to take on classic villain Moriarty (Mad Men's Jared Harris).

Though the sequel isn't as strong as its predecessor (more on that later), Downey still shines as history's greatest detective.

14 Home for the Holidays - 63

Via imdb.com

Jodie Foster's second film as director has a fairly simple premise: a young woman (Holly Hunter) who isn't having the best Thanksgiving decides to spend the holiday with her family.

However, since her family includes Anne Bancroft as her mother, Steve Guttenberg as her brother-in-law, and RDJ as her brother, viewers can tell they aren't in for a normal holiday movie. In fact, Common Sense Media labeled it a "funny, adult look at a dysfunctional holiday."

13 Chances Are - 66

Via syfy.com

Some films have begun to show their age, particularly when they ventured into territory that, when seen through a modern audience's perspective, makes viewers uncomfortable, such as 1989's Chances Are.

The follow-up to Emile Ardolino's Dirty Dancing doesn't see lead RDJ hitting the dance floor, but instead hitting on his daughter (due to him being reincarnated as a different guy). If released today, it likely wouldn't have scored as high on Rotten Tomatoes as before.

12 A Scanner Darkly - 67

Via inverse.com

In one of the most uniquely-animated movies ever made, Keanu Reeves portrays an undercover cop researching the effects of Substance D, a widely-available drug that causes people to hallucinate and develop split personalities. Unfortunately, his work has caused him to become addicted to the drug, during which he encounters fellow drug user James Barris (RDJ).

Based on the acclaimed novel, A Scanner Darkly proves a faithful adaptation and shines with its gorgeous rotoscope animation.

11 Soapdish - 69

Via brightestyoungthings.com

From Game 6 director Michael Hoffman comes one of RDJ's best comedies.

Despite sharing the screen with the likes of Kevin Kline, Sally Field, and Whoopi Goldberg, Downey isn't left behind in this soap opera spoof. Labeled "sidesplitting" by New York Times, 1991's Soapdish may not be the cleanest comedy (ironic, isn't it?), but it's certainly an under-appreciated one.

10 Sherlock Holmes - 69

Via imdb.com

Many scoffed at the announcement of RDJ taking on British icon Sherlock Holmes, believing his popularity gained from Marvel had been taken too far. However, he not only proved critics wrong, but also put his own spin on yet another legendary character.

Despite a supporting cast of Jude Law as John Watson, Rachel McAdams as Irene Adler, and Mark Strong as antagonist Henry Blackwood, Downey shined the brightest, nabbing a Golden Globe for his efforts.

9 Restoration - 70

Via imdb.com

Michael Hoffman strikes yet again with this 17th-century drama starring RDJ as a medical student living a carnal life under King Charles II of England when he enters a fake marriage with one of his mistresses. After falling in love with her, he is banished from his royal privileges, where his journey of self-discovery begins.

Co-starring Meg Ryan, Ian McKellen and Hugh Grant, Rolling Stone called it a "lively, lavish and grandly acted pageant."

8 A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints - 76

Via fanpop.com

In 2006, writer and musician Dito Montiel got to bring his memoir to the big screen and cast two high-profile actors as himself: Shia LaBeouf for his younger self and RDJ for his older years.

After Dito, now living comfortably as a famous writer in Los Angeles, travels back to his childhood home of Astoria, Queens, to visit his ailing father, he looks back on the fateful summer in 1986 that changed his life forever.

7 Tropic Thunder - 81

Via ew.com

You may have seen RDJ as a billionaire superhero and an animated addict, but you've never seen him like this. Earning both Oscar and Golden Globe nominations, this role sees Downey as a method actor who underwent a skin-darkening surgery to play a black character in an upcoming movie.

Parodying the lengths some actors go for roles, Downey's character be controversial, but there's no denying his scene-stealing presence in this acclaimed comedy.

6 Wonder Boys - 82

Via moviesteve.com

Though RDJ isn't the star of this dramatic comedy, he is one of the components that makes it so memorable.

Featuring Michael Douglas as a writer and professor, Frances McDormand as the university chancellor cheating on her husband with Douglas, Tobey Maguire as a strange student who steals a piece of Marilyn Monroe memorabilia, and Downey as Douglas' editor (who takes a romantic liking to Maguire), there's no shortage of reasons to check it out.

5 Kiss Kiss Bang Bang - 85

Via screenrant.com

Eight years before directing him in Iron Man 3, Shane Black teamed RDJ with former Dark Knight Val Kilmer in a darkly comic crime drama about a thief (Downey) masquerading as an actor who, after getting cast as a private investigator, winds up getting mentored by a real investigator (Kilmer).

Wall Street Journal called Downey "the quickest, sharpest, slyest and wryest comic actor on the screen," and we couldn't agree more.

4 Zodiac - 89

Via theverge.com

Starring alongside future MCU actors Mark Ruffalo and Jake Gyllenhaal, RDJ portrays California crime reporter Paul Avery, who worked with political cartoonist Robert Graysmith (Gyllenhaal) to try and solve the famed Zodiac case.

Ranked as one of the 100 greatest films of the 21st century, it's criminal (no pun intended) that this David Fincher thriller didn't get any Oscar nominations.

3 Good Night, and Good Luck - 93

Via fanpop.com

Fortunately, this 2005 George Clooney-directed political drama received several Oscar nominations, including Best Picture. And, while RDJ didn't get nominated, he put in a memorable performance as CBS journalist and future Emmy-winning 60 Minutes  producer Joseph Wershba.

He may have gone on to fight Thanos in the MCU, but helping Edward Murrow take on U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy remains one of RDJ's greatest cinematic battles.

2 Richard III - 94

Via popsugar.com

A Shakespeare classic retold in the 1930s, 1995's Richard III brought audiences a stellar leading performance from Ian McKellen, but also some some solid supporting performances from Annette Bening, Maggie Smith, and Robert Downey Jr. (surprising, right?).

The fact that RDJ was able to fit right in onscreen with theatre legends like McKellen and Maggie Smith proves the strength of his acting (like there was ever any doubt).

1 True Believer - 95

Via telegraph.co.uk

Some fans may want more Iron Man movies, but what we really need are more RDJ courtroom dramas. Need proof? Look no further True Believer, which paired Downey with James Woods to investigate the seemingly wrongful imprisonment of a Korean man.

The film proved so popular that a spin-off series aired on ABC two years later (though neither Woods or Downey reprised their roles).

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