One of the most defining aspects of any art is that it is open to interpretation, and two people can indeed perceive the same piece of art in entirely different ways.
But, what no one–the creator or the audience–can deny is that there has never been, and likely, never will be, a casting choice as perfect as Robert Downey Jr. for Iron Man.
Fans of Marvel may say that Ryan Reynolds nailed the portrayal of the anti-hero, Deadpool.
Fans of mutants would perhaps pick Hugh Jackman for his picture-perfect portrayal of Wolverine.
Fans of magic and fantasies could choose Daniel-Emma-Rupert trio from the Harry Potter series.
And while these are great choices, what everyone would agree on, is that only Robert Downey Jr. appears to have been born to play Iron Man.
I mean, you don’t just walk around life with that kind of charisma and style, while making even arrogance look appealing, for no reason.
Though there are numerous instances that prove Tony Stark and RDJ are indeed one and the same, it’s not just about how similar the character and the actor are.
It’s also about all that Robert Downey Jr. had brought to the character, seemingly with so much ease, that for millions of young fans (and a few older ones too) across the world, Robert Downey Jr. is indeed the Iron Man.
From gaining weight for the role, to pretending he was Iron Man even before the audition, Robert Downey jr. definitely ‘methodeded’ for the part.
Additionally, whenever a movie has a novel or comic as source material, the director and actor are competing with the audience’s preconceived notion of how a character should look like. Jared Leto, Jamie Dornan, Ben Affleck could probably tell a thing or two about this comparison.
Competing with readers’ imaginations is not a fair comparison by any means, and yet, Robert Downey Jr. won at it and how.
If I was the kind to believe in magic and destinies, I’d say Iron Man was Robert Downey Jr.’s destiny, much like it was Tony Stark’s in the original comic.
Just as Tony Stark’s darkest days led to the birth of Iron Man, Robert Downey Jr. also signed the first film at a point in his life when he could really do with a win.
After suffering personal losses, and dealing with a drug problem, Robert made a comeback in 2001 and starred in movies like Gothika, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, etc.
While he earned critical acclaim with his movies, it was the 2008 Iron Man that won him a blockbuster hit and the kind of adoration his talent truly deserved.
Despite the fact that Robert wasn’t Marvel’s, or at that point anyone’s, first choice for Iron Man, Robert Downey Jr. landed the role.
As director Jon Favreau put it in an interview with the Texas radio station 100.3 Jack FM,
By studying the Iron Man role and developing that script I realized that the character seemed to line-up with Robert in all the good and bad ways. And the story of Iron Man was really the story of Robert’s career.”
On the screen, he has been a billionaire, genius, playboy and philanthropist. And of course, a man in a suit of armor.
Off the screen, he has been an equally great philanthropist, a mentor to co-actors, a witty AF interviewee and an icon for kids and adults alike.
Happy birthday to the man, the myth, the incomparable, the indomitable, @RobertDowneyJr— Chris Evans (@ChrisEvans) April 4, 2019
You’re a true original. Thank you for carrying us these last 10 years!!!! 💙
Selfie game on point! Aaron and I are devising ways we can #gomadforrohhad…Donate just $10 bux (https://t.co/ywpvrsvUm3) to win a trip to #hollywood for the #avengersinfinitywar world premiere. Proceeds benefit @Rohhad_Global and #brianortegafoundation. See you there! pic.twitter.com/wouSDCwWHG— Robert Downey Jr (@RobertDowneyJr) March 24, 2018
And in all our hearts, he is the one and only Iron Man. No actor, no matter how talented, good-looking, or amazing, will ever be able to pull off the gold-and-red suit, and the persona that comes with it, as he did.
Love you 3000, Mr. Stark aka RDJ.