Ever since he emerged from a cave in the desert in a ramshackle suit of armour, it was clear Robert Downey Jr.’s iteration of Iron Man was a force to be reckoned with.
Now, 11 years later, Downey Jr. has been honoured with the award for Best Hero at this year’s MTV Movie and TV Awards, taking home the ‘golden popcorn’ award for his impressive efforts in the Marvel Cinematic Universe playing Tony Stark.
Stark has long been the backbone of the MCU, kicking off the franchise as we know it today in 2008 with the first Iron Man film. And while the character has had his ups and downs, his ultimate redemption and sacrifice in the recent Avengers: Endgame cemented his status as Marvel legend.
Speaking about his time playing the character, Downey Jr. told ComicBook:
What has it meant to sit in this character for so long? I can make a couple of comparisons. Not to compare myself to Charlie Chaplin, but people wanted to see him play the tramp. He did Monsieur Verdoux, he did Limelight – he had successful forays into not just being his most beloved character.
But ultimately, in his autumn years he surrendered to the will of the people and re-found his joy and his acceptance in the fact that he’d been fortunate enough to have channeled and created that character to begin with.
Tony was out there for me to begin with. But you don’t think of the two separately. I think if you’d done as many of these films as I have and the first one was so definitive and game-changing – not because I’m so great, but because everybody did their job so well – what [director, Jon] Favreau did and what Gwyneth [Paltrow] did and everybody… It’s just like having a great football team, a great group of folks.
— MTV (@MTV) June 18, 2019
Downey Jr. was up against John David Washington as Ron Stallworth from BlacKkKlansman, Maisie Williams as Arya Stark in Game of Thrones, Brie Larson as Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel in Captain Marvel, and Zachary Levi as Shazam in Shazam! for the award of Best Hero.
Speaking after his win, he said:
Kind of unexpected, to be honest with you. That said, it has been an absolute joy, honor, privilege, etc. to portray Tony Stark all these years so I want to say thank you Marvel, thank you Disney, thank you MTV and mostly thank y’all.
Maybe it’s true that you love me 3000, but I just checked, this is, what are the new numbers? I love you 3247, so that’s a fact, Jack.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.