ByKit Simpson Browne, writer at Creators.co
Writer-at-large. Bad jokes aplenty. Can be gently prodded on Twitter at @kitsb1
Kit Simpson Browne

There are few figures in Hollywood who command as much instant attention as Robert Downey Jr.

Partly this is because RDJ is so widely respected, and so consistently beloved - he is, after all, Iron Man. It's also, however, the result of the actor's willingness to speak his mind about any number of different subjects - whether it's friendship, addiction, Iron Man 4 or, most recently, the state of the industry that has made him a megastar.

Speaking to The Telegraph, Downey Jr. was asked whether he felt jealous when another, non-Marvel movie, did well. His response was...surprising:

“Honestly, the whole thing is just showing the beginning signs of fraying around the edges...It’s a little bit old. Last summer there were five or seven different ones out.”

Which, on the face of it, sounds as though Robert Downey Jr. just called out Marvel, DC, and the whole superhero film-making fraternity.

Presumably while doing this.
Presumably while doing this.

Except, of course, this is RDJ - and a response that simplistic isn't his style.

Instead, he followed it up with this:

"I feel that they are critiqued by a different metric to any other movie...they are more forgiven because they operate on a different frequency. It’s like a bunch of really good dancers and you’re looking for the one who keeps changing her leg warmers.”

Which, in one sense, is a continuation of the earlier criticism - but it's also a subtle suggestion of just what the problem is, at least in Robert Downey Jr's eyes.

After all, if every superhero movie going - X-Men: Days of Future Past, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Lucy - is that good dancer RDJ was talking about, then what need is there for there to be so many similar movies every year? As he seems to be asking, why do we need so many superhero movies?

Other than this obvious awesomeness.
Other than this obvious awesomeness.

Well, from what RDJ is saying, it's not that there's something inherently wrong with superhero movies - just that for there to be a reason to make so many of them, superhero movies need to do something slightly different every time.

Which is where the leg warmers come in.

Not pictured.
Not pictured.

Marvel Studios has, after all, defined itself by taking the established Marvel brand - with its iconic centerpiece, Iron Man - and constantly pushing the boundaries of what a superhero movie can do.

1970's style conspiracy thriller? Check.

Actual Norse mythology? Check.

1940's war movie? Check.

Science fiction-infused epic space adventure? Check, check and check.

Effectively, they're changing their leg warmers every time they make a movie. Sure, everyone else is a good dancer, but they're the only ones doing something different every single time.

That line about dancers and leg warmers? That's basically RDJ highlighting exactly what his issue with superhero movies is - but also excluding Marvel Studios from the implied criticism in the process.

So, when Robert Downey Jr. is saying that "the whole [superhero] thing is...a little bit old", it doesn't mean he's calling for everyone to make fewer superhero movies, or suggesting that they're not as good as other films.

Because, y'know, c'mon...
Because, y'know, c'mon...

Instead, it sounds an awful lot like a call to action - a rallying cry - to the other studios making superhero movies. One that is basically this:

'Marvel is going to keep making interesting, different superhero movies. Your move, everyone else.'

And y'know what? That sounds pretty good to me. Especially if it means [The Avengers: Age Of Ultron](movie:293035) is going to continue the awesome work past Marvel movies have started.

More importantly, though - what do you guys think?

Poll

Are superhero movies 'getting a little bit old'?

via The Telegraph