There are plenty of terrific duos in the Marvel Cinematic Universe – Rocket and Groot, Hawkeye and Black Widow, Gamora and Nebula etc. – but the first one (the one whose chemistry told Marvel to keep putting lovable double acts in their movies) was Tony Stark and James Rhodes.
They started off as old friends who bonded over helping the military, one as a soldier and the other as a billionaire supplying them with weapons, but they quickly developed into a pair of super-suited heroes sharing adventures together. So, here are The MCU’s 10 Most Heartwarming Iron Man And War Machine Moments.
10 Rhodey realizing Tony is in the suit the Army is trying to shoot down
When Tony Stark first perfected the Iron Man armor, it wasn’t long before he was jetting off to the Middle East to kill some terrorists. However, as an unidentified flying object in the airspace of an active combat zone, he quickly attracted the attention of the U.S. military and they had a couple of fighter jets on his tail.
Rhodey was in the command center, watching these jets chase down what looked like a man in a metal suit, and then he received a call from Tony and was shocked to realize that he was the man in the suit.
9 “Next time, baby!”
This moment from the first Iron Man movie has become a popular meme, because it was a line uttered by Terrence Howard’s James Rhodes as he gazed upon the War Machine armor and decided his superhero debut should be saved for the sequel.
Between the first and second Iron Man movies, contract negotiations broke down between Howard and Marvel and he was replaced by Don Cheadle, who wore the War Machine armor that Howard never got to wear in Iron Man 2. Still, if we isolate the moment and see it simply as a fun Easter egg at the beginning of the world’s most successful cinematic universe, it’s a delightful wink at comic book fans.
8 Teaming up to take down Whiplash
As far as the MCU’s third-act battles go, the one in Iron Man 2 is quite disappointing. For starters, it was made back when the benchmark for an MCU battle wasn’t very high. But it’s disappointing for more reasons than that.
Whiplash is embarrassingly easy to defeat, and it’s not some bold plant-and-payoff screenwriting technique that makes the movie come full circle – Tony and Rhodey just decide to shoot at each other in the hopes that the collision of blasts will kill Whiplash. And then it does. On the whole, though, Tony and Rhodey teaming up to take down Justin Hammer’s androids and then Ivan Vanko himself is a pretty awesome set piece.
7 “Tony Stank”
Some MCU movies save their Stan Lee cameo for the final scene, like when he shows up in one of Luis’ unwieldy stories at the end of Ant-Man. Another example of this is Captain America: Civil War. Lee played the FedEx guy who delivered Steve’s peace offering to Tony.
He misread Tony’s name as “Tony Stank” on the address and Rhodey quickly took the opportunity to make jokes about it: “Table for one, Mr. Stank. Please, by the bathroom.” It was a heartwarming moment, because it showed us that Rhodey hadn’t let his partial paralysis take away his sense of humor.
6 Rhodey calming down an angry Tony after Captain Marvel brings him home
Tony Stark was heartbroken when the Avengers lost to Thanos. He had to watch Peter Parker, his surrogate son, turn to dust in front of his eyes. His greatest fear had come to fruition: a villain had come along that he couldn’t defeat, and he was left alive in the wake of that villain’s devastating plan.
At the beginning of Avengers: Endgame, he returns from space thanks to Captain Marvel and gets angry at Steve Rogers for not being there to help him defeat Thanos on Titan. Luckily, Rhodey is there to calm down Tony and get him to a bed for some rest.
5 “Boom! You looking for this?”
One of the most underrated scenes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is the party at Avengers Tower in Age of Ultron. There are plenty of funny gags in the scene, like Stan Lee getting drunk on Asgardian liquor and Earth’s mightiest heroes trying to lift Thor’s hammer, but possibly the funniest moment in the whole scene is Rhodey telling Thor and Tony a War Machine story.
He tells them how he went to a war-torn country, carried a tank up the general’s palace, dropped it at his doorstep, and said, “Boom! You looking for this?” Thor and Tony pretended to be impressed by the story, but it wasn’t very convincing.
4 Iron Man flying towards a falling War Machine
Following the awesome airport battle in Captain America: Civil War, Steve and Bucky manage to escape in a plane and head towards the lab where all the Winter Soldiers were brainwashed and trained to kill. In a last-ditch attempt to stop Bucky from getting away and escalating the Sokovia Accords drama even more, Iron Man and War Machine pursue the plane into the sky.
However, the Vision fires a laser beam at the Falcon, the Falcon dodges it, and War Machine gets hit instead. He starts to fall and Tony immediately abandons his pursuit of Steve and focuses his efforts on swooping down to save Rhodey.
3 Tony giving Rhodey cybernetic prosthetic legs
After the Vision missed the Falcon and hit War Machine’s armor during the airport fight in Captain America: Civil War, James Rhodes was left with partial paralysis. He could no long walk on his own, so Tony designed a pair of cybernetic prosthetic legs for him, so that he’d be able to walk again with some intensive physiotherapy.
When it comes to technology, Tony Stark has got his friends covered. He’ll design the Iron Spider costume for Peter Parker or the Rescue armor for Pepper Potts or a pair of legs for his disabled best friend. As Rhodey tested out the legs, Tony asked him for feedback, so he could improve them.
2 “Give me back my Rhodey.”
This line is on par with “Nobody puts Baby in the corner,” from Dirty Dancing. When it becomes clear that Iron Man’s side is winning in Captain America: Civil War’s thrilling airport battle sequence, Scott Lang decides to test out using Hank Pym’s Ant-Man suit to become Giant-Man by reversing the regulator and turning the shrinking function into an enlarging function.
It works and he becomes massive. The first thing he does is grab War Machine out of the sky and Tony tells him, “Give me back my Rhodey.” It’s a classic Tony Stark quip with some added heartwarming sentiment.
1 Rhodey joining Tony at his side as he dies
The Infinity Saga began with Tony Stark telling a press conference, “I am Iron Man,” so it made sense for it to come full circle more than 20 movies later with Tony stealing the Infinity Stones from Thanos, repeating the line, and then snapping his fingers, turning the bad guys to dust, saving the world, and sacrificing his life.
As Tony died, he didn’t say a word – this was Robert Downey, Jr.’s own suggestion, and it easily gave the scene a lot more emotional impact – as he was joined at his side by the people closest to him: Pepper, Peter, and of course, Rhodey.