The actor reaffirmed his place in the Hollywood A-list playing inventor-turned-superhero Tony Star in the 2008 film following a career slump due to years lost in drug addiction.
Downey, Jr. is convinced the success of Iron Man turned his fortunes around, but he was less than impressed with its 2010 sequel, which opened to mixed reviews from critics.
He tells the Los Angeles Times, “The first one changed everything for me. And with the second Iron Man there were certain aspects that were dissatisfying and disappointing to me but at least they lit me right.
“(The first one) was a meditation on responsibility and an exploration of how a small group of people can take a two-dimensional idea and, if the winds are right, create something that makes people say, ‘That was my favourite movie of the year’…
“I love a good action movie – a Steve McQueen or Tom Cruise or Clint Eastwood, Bruce Willis or Mel Gibson in the right spot, and you smile and say, ‘That’s what this kind of movie is all about.'”
Downey, Jr. also admits he was surprised to land an Oscar nomination for his controversial ‘blacked-up’ role in 2008’s Tropic Thunder, because he feared the part would undo all the hard work he put into Iron Man.
He adds, “I signed up to do it and then I did Iron Man and I thought, ‘You know, I think I just buried myself. I did a movie that is going to re-establish me here in a little way and now I’m going to squander any good will I have’… This movie ended up being the most cathartic thing I had done in ages and one of the happiest times in my life.”