Robert Downey Jr. responds to Quentin Tarantino’s Marvel gripes

Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark in Iron Man 2
Image via Marvel Studios

Very famous movie director Quentin Tarantino, responsible for classics like Pulp Fiction and Django Unchained, set off a firestorm of sorts when he exclaimed that Marvel characters are “not movie stars.” Now Iron Man himself has responded.

Robert Downey Jr. is widely credited with kicking off the current superhero age of cinema with the 2008 original Iron Man film. In a recent Deadline interview, Downey was asked about Tarantino’s position, which happens to mirror the views of other directors as well (more on that in a second).

Downey seemed to walk the line with his response. He said movies are in a “time and place that I unwittingly contributed to” where the character’s intellectual property (IP) takes “precedence over principle and personality.”

“A piece of IP is only as good as the human talent you get to represent it, and you can have some great IP even if it’s coming from an auteur or a national treasure of a writer-director, and if you don’t have the right kind of artist playing that role, you’ll never know how good it could have been.”

Things are more “fragmented” than they used to be, he said, and people love to throw stones “one way or the other.” He has a more egalitarian view of the whole thing, though.

“You know what? Let’s just get over it. We’re all a community. There’s enough room for everything,” and thank God for Top Gun: Maverick and Avatar: The Way of Water. That’s all I have to say. We need the big stuff to make room for films like Armageddon Time.”

He shared his acceptance of the idea that this is the way things are now. Which, let’s be honest, is pretty easy for someone as famous and talented as he is.

“You know, we’re in this age now where Favreau said it best: We used to try to make waves in a lake, and now we’re just trying to catch people’s attention as things are moving by quickly in a stream. I think that’ll change again, but this is just where we’re at. And to accept it and be grateful that you get to participate is the right place to start.”

In addition to Tarantino’s comments, The Wolf of Wall Street director Martin Scorsese also recently shared some disparaging comments about Marvel movies, saying they “are not cinema.” And director of the aforementioned Way of Water, James Cameron, said Marvel movies “don’t feel epic to me.” Downey obviously disagrees.

Downey’s latest project is as the executive producer of the movie Sr., about his father. It’s streaming now on Netflix.