Robert Downey Jr in 'Kiss Kiss Bang Bang'

Not all movie comebacks are created equal. There are the comebacks that don't take, such as Marlon Brando and Burt Reynolds (as our own Jeffrey M. Anderson explained), there are the comebacks that haven't happened yet, because the actors need to get back to their roots (as Monika Bartyzel observed), and there are the comebacks on TV shows, the latest example of which is Chevy Chase, who is rehabilitating his career on Community.

And then there are the actors whose talents appear to have laid dormant for far too long, either through inactivity or because of a paucity of opportunities to show what they can do. Case in point: Mel Gibson, whose return to the screen in Edge of Darkness comes out on DVD and Blu-ray today. As I wrote in my review: "It's a star vehicle that makes clear he's still a commanding presence, able to summon up frightening emotions from the depth of his soul." What are some other notable comebacks? Here are seven of my personal favorites.

1. Robert Downey Jr., Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
While Iron Man proved he could invest a superhero with the personality of an ordinary human being, it was Shane Black's directorial debut that demonstrated Downey's joie de vivre was still intact. (Cinematical's Scott Weinberg is another big fan of this flick.) With Black's great, quip-happy script establishing the territory, Downey was free to play, sighing, complaining, romancing, and, finally, beating all the odds to make one forget all the overblown junk and malnourished cameos he'd been reduced to playing.
categories Cinematical