Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
Remember when Robert Downey, Jr. was a radioactive drug addict? His career came in phases, much like his Marvel movies, one marked by his Oscar-nominated breakout performance as Charlie Chaplin in 1992’s Chaplin, and the other marked by his big return in 2008’s Iron Man as billionaire-turned-hero Tony Stark.
However, Iron Man was not the first attempt to bring the now-beloved RDJ back into the limelight. In 2005, Shane Black (coincidentally, the writer of Lethal Weapon) attempted to bring back not one, but two actors with Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, one of the funniest and most quotable films of the twenty-first century.
Going against his current type, RDJ plays a dimwitted thief named Harry Lockhart, who, through sheer coincidence (which I won’t spoil), becomes an actor and moves to Hollywood. Opposite RDJ is Val Kilmer, who plays Perry White, a private investigator who brings Harry along on a typical eavesdropping gig where they end up witnessing a murder and become involved in an increasingly complex web of deception, corruption, and murder. You may remember Kilmer as the guy who played Batman that one time. You probably don’t. He’s great here, and RDJ works very well with him as they bounce off of each other some of the cleverest dialogue penned in years. The highly-underrated Michelle Monaghan is here too and she wears a cute little Santa dress when waitressing a Christmas party, which officially makes Kiss Kiss Bang Bang a Christmas flick!
Sadly, Shane Black’s attempt at crafting a Raymond Chandler-esque story with modern wit and sensibilities didn’t exactly pan out box office-wise; RDJ would have to wait another three years for his big comeback, and Val Kilmer, well, the lines he typically reads nowadays are “Welcome to Olive Garden” and “May I take your order?” as he valiantly serves his customers the Batman Forever of Italian food.