“It almost laughs in the face of what I grew up in”: Robert Downey Jr Reveals How Oppenheimer is Superior to All Marvel Movies

Robert Downey Jr. talks about Oppenheimer's box-office success.

"It almost laughs in the face of what I grew up in": Robert Downey Jr Reveals How Oppenheimer is Superior to All Marvel Movies


  • Oppenheimer was a massive box-office success earning $957.47 million worldwide with a production cost of $100 million.
  • Reflecting on its box-office achievement, Robert Downey Jr. called it a "Fiscally responsible event cinema."
  • He added how it "almost laughs in the face of" big-budget movies who spend mammoth for the same results.
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Oppenheimer turns out to be a great cinematic spectacle that follows the life story of American physicist, J. Robert Oppenheimer, who played a significant role in creating the atomic bomb. Through the efforts of director, Christopher Nolan, an ensemble cast including Cillian Murphy and Robert Downey Jr., and crew, the movie surpassed expectations earning $957.47 million at the worldwide box office. 

Cillian Murphy in Oppenheimer
Cillian Murphy as Robert J. Oppenheimer in Oppenheimer (2023)

Given that it has achieved an incredible feat, Downey Jr. reflected on how this movie is a new ray of hope in cinema. 

Robert Downey Jr. Reflected on Oppenheimer‘s Success

Robert Downey Jr. as Lewis Strauss in Oppenheimer
Robert Downey Jr. as Lewis Strauss in Oppenheimer (2023)

Robert Downey Jr., who is worldwide famous for his role as Iron Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe films, portrayed the role of Lewis Strauss, a high-ranking member of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission in Oppenheimer. While talking about his movie in a recent New York Times interview, he reflected on the unexpected success that the movie attained with the Barbenheimer phenomenon being one of the greater reasons. 


As director Christopher Nolan commented on how the movie genre was a risky move in the summer, it left many surprised. 

“Oh yeah. They were saying that to me until the night it opened. So that opening weekend was thrilling. The numbers coming in were defying all of our greatest hopes. We always have done well putting challenging material out there, but it was a complete shock for Emma [Thomas, the producer who’s also his wife] and me the level at which it worked. Because we’d made the film very efficiently.”

The Sherlock Holmes actor called it a “Fiscally responsible event cinema.” He continued, 

“It almost laughs in the face of what I grew up in the ’80s, bloated, big-budget behemoth that you go, ‘It doesn’t matter, because they’re still going to double their money.’”

While the actor didn’t mention MCU movies, he seemingly implied that the movie attained a massive success without spending a mammoth of money on its production cost, which in this case, was $100 million. Whereas, Marvel movies have been disappointing fans, leading to box-office failures despite spending a fortune on their production. Unlike them, the Cillian Murphy-led movie’s success is reciprocal to the immense efforts that the cast and crew went through. Nolan in a different interview talked about the practical challenges that he had to face while making this project.


Christopher Nolan Faced ‘Huge Practical Challenges’ While Making Oppenheimer

Admiral Lewis Strauss and Robert J. Oppenheimer in Oppenheimer
Admiral Lewis Strauss and Robert J. Oppenheimer in Oppenheimer [2023]
Since Nolan is renowned for practical filmmaking, he decided to follow the same strategy while making this project. In Total Film’s 2023 Preview issue via Games Radar, he talked about how challenging it was to recreate the Trinity Test without relying on CGI. 

“I think recreating the Trinity test [the first nuclear weapon detonation, in New Mexico] without the use of computer graphics, was a huge challenge to take on.”

He explained that he brought on visual effects supervisor, Andrew Jackson “early on” to look at “how we could do a lot of the visual elements of the film practically, from representing quantum dynamics and quantum physics to the Trinity test itself, to recreating, with my team, Los Alamos up on a mesa in New Mexico in extraordinary weather, a lot of which was needed for the film.”

He further commented, “In terms of the very harsh conditions out there – there were huge practical challenges.”


He added, 

“It’s a story of immense scope and scale. And one of the most challenging projects I’ve ever taken on in terms of the scale of it, and in terms of encountering the breadth of Oppenheimer’s story.”

The movie ended up becoming a visual masterpiece, gaining widespread acclaim from critics and moviegoers. It has also earned a leading 13 nominations at the 96th Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Directing for Nolan, Best Actor for Cillian Murphy, and Best Supporting Actor for Downey Jr. 


Written by Priya Sharma

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Priya Sharma, Senior Content Writer and Social Media Manager at FandomWire and Animated Times. Having graduated in Journalism and Mass Communication, she possesses extensive expertise in crafting engaging and informative content. She has written over 2000 articles across Animated Times and FandomWire on pop culture, showing her dedication to delivering diverse and trending content to readers across the world. Apart from pop culture, she is quite enthusiastic about the Hallyu culture and is exploring the world of anime, expanding the horizons of her knowledge.