Robert Downey Jr. returns to the big screen in Dolittle (2020), a fantasy-adventure film directed by Stephen Gaghan and based on the character Doctor Dolittle, created by the English writer Hugh Lofting.
The film tells the story of Dolittle, a 19th century English doctor with the ability to talk to animals. When Queen Victoria falls victim to a deadly disease, Dolittle and his fellow animals will embark on an adventure in search of the cure. The film features performances by Antonio Banderas, Michael Sheen and Jim Broadbent, and a cast of voices made up of John Cena, Marion Cotillard, Carmen Ejogo, Ralph Fiennes, Selena Gomez, Tom Holland and Rami Malek, among many others.
Although it has an attractive premise, Dolittle fails to tell a cohesive story and rather looks like a sequence of scenes without a goal, sacrificing the story and the development of its characters in search of humor that doesn’t achieve either. The failures of the film could be due to the extensive and expensive reshoots to which the film returned after concluding the first version, which delayed its release from May 2019 to January 2020.
Dolittle is the first film since 2014 in which Robert Downey Jr. does not play the Tony Stark / Iron Man character and, although it’s earnings of $217 million worldwide made it the third highest-grossing film of 2020 to date, it is considered a box office failure against its $175 million budget.