War Machine aka Colonel James Rhodes is an Avenger, who despite all the bets against him, has survived both Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, even when he can't walk properly. That said, despite being a superhero established right from the first Marvel Cinematic Universe movie and had been there till the end of Phase 3, War Machine is still one of the underrated superheroes in movie history. Which is kinda irksome, when he is played by one of the most likeable actors in the world - Don Cheadle. Avengers Endgame Actor Don Cheadle Joins NBA Star LeBron James and Sonequa Martin-Green for Space Jam 2.
If you are an MCU fan, you know that Don Cheadle wasn't the first actor to play Rhodey. Terence Howard played the character in the first Iron Man movie. When Howard demanded more money than Robert Downey Jr (Tony Stark/IronMan) to appear in the sequel, the producers gave him the boot and brought in Cheadle to replace him. Cheadle has already been an established actor having worked in films like Out of Sight, Ocean's Eleven trilogy, Boogie Nights, Crash, Traffic etc. He had also got an Oscar nomination for his incredible performance in the 2004 film Hotel Rwanda. His most popular role was playing the smartass legal counsel in the TV series House of Lies.
And with him in the MCU, Don became a perfect sounding board for RDJ's wisecracks, and also giving it back to him, enhanced by the fact that these two are friends IRL. Now with the plan mapped out for Phase 4 and even five, we are curious to see where War Machine fit in, in a world without his best friend, who sacrificed his life in Avengers: Endgame.
On November 29, 2019, Don Cheadle is turning 55. So let's take this opportunity to note down 10 of our favourite moments of War Machine in MCU.
#1 His (Re) Intro
Don Cheadle's introduction as Rhodes in Iron Man 2 is as meta as it goes. We see him enter the courthouse where Tony's hearing is happening, with his back facing the camera.
Tony, or rather, RDJ, is surprised to see him, saying what's he doing there, and referring to him as 'buddy'. And then we see Cheadle as Rhodes telling Tony, or rather, to let it go. So bye-bye, Terence Howard.
#2 Beating The Heck Out of a Drunk Tony Stark
Tony Stark's drunken rambling at his own party is one of the most embarrassing points of Iron Man 2. So we kind of root for Rhodey when he gets into the War Machine suit and takes down Tony, before the latter destroys his own house, and later flies away with the suit.
Though, later, it is revealed that Tony had actually manipulated the situation to make Rhodey take off with the suit, which kinda takes away the advantage from Rhodey.
#3 Teaming Up With Iron Man to Beat Whiplash
We see them squabble... We see them fight... we see them be annoyed with each other. So it was fun to see both Tony and Rhodey tag-team and take down Whiplash and hs drones.
And even when they are killing murderous drones, both the heroes don't fail to throw more wisecracks at each other.
#4 Saving the President
Iron Man 3 sees an expanded role for Rhodey which means more enjoyable banter with Tony. And when in the climax where both get together to save both the President and Pepper Potts, Cheadle and RDJ's chemistry shines a lot.
The funniest scene is after the House Party Protocol, Tony gets a suit, but Rhodey doesn't, despite getting that right pose.
#5 That Tank Story
For some reason, Rhodey doesn't join the Avengers in the opening fight sequence of Avengers: Age of Ultron. But he sure joins them at the celebration party in the Avengers HQ, where he tries to impress Tony and Thor with his 'tank' story, but fails spectacularly.
Later, when he repeats the story to a bunch of non-superheroes and gets suitable reactions, that smug expression on his face is worth the applause.
#6 Killing Ultron Drones
Again, for some reason, War Machine is not brought in by his Avengers friends to battle Ultron in Sokovia in the climax. That honour goes to Nick 'Craving to Make Surprise Entrance' Fury. And War Machine does his job well by destroying all Ultron clones.
Though the best moment is when he is shocked to see the new Avenger in town - Vision.
#7 Standing Up For What He Believes
Rhodey in Captain America: Civil War gets a rather unfair deal, as he is treated like this nerdy uptight kid no one wants to be friends with. Except for Tony, that is. Though it is his incapacitation that brings the brief 'Civil War' at the German airport to an end.
It is, however, towards the end of the film, where Rhodey, who can't walk without tech support from Tony, still stands by his beliefs, value and his trust in government. And let's not forget him ribbing his friend over 'Tony Stank'!
#8 And Standing Against It When It Mattered
While the Rhodey in Civil War was a pro-government guy, the one we see in Avengers: Infinity War has seen the consequences of being one and is determined to take a stand against General Ross and United Nations.
And he does that by bringing back the rogue Avengers in the HQ, that too right in front of Ross (or rather, his hologram).
#9 Suggesting to Kill Baby Thanos
Avengers: Endgame has Rhodey offer some really funny wisecracks, some at poor Thor's expense. The funniest bit comes when Hulk and Nebula are working on the Time Travel suits, and Rhodey does a Deadpool (watch the extended version of Deadpool 2 to know what I am talking about) and tries suggesting killing baby Thanos, without saying the words 'baby murder' much to the disgust of the others.
It was also fun to see Rhodey and Scott rattle off all the Time Travel movies that they have seen. Avengers Endgame, Infinity War, Black Panther: All 22 MCU Movies Ranked from Worst to Best Based on Box Office Performance.
#10 With Nebula in Morag
Rhodey and Nebula going to Morag to get the Power Stone has some good moments. Like Rhodey, who sees Star-Lord for the first time, is unimpressed with his dance routine. Or him bonding with Nebula over their replacement parts.
EndGame showed us more of the geeky side of Rhodey, as he also gets to refer Raiders of the Lost Ark in this particular scene.