War Machine can never catch a break. First, the initial actor who was supposed to play him all throughout the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Terrence Howard, gets pushed out of the series. Then, when doing what he thought was right in the Team Cap/Team Iron Man fight, he is critically injured after getting caught in friendly fire. Is it any wonder he’s mad?
Actually, that doesn’t really explain why he was mad at Steve Rogers in Captain America: Civil War, but such an explanation is not hard to find. Marvel fans have been revisiting the movies, and they have thoughts about the fight that tore the Avengers asunder.
What happened in ‘Civil War?’
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To understand why Rhodey was mad, it’s important to set the context. Captain America: Civil War is largely about the fallout from Avengers: Age of Ultron, when the heroes went to the fictional country of Sokovia to fight Ultron. They won the day, but caused a lot of collateral damage, and many innocent bystanders died.
Tony Stark was taking this especially hard, after a grieving mother whose son died in Sokovia blames Tony for her son’s death. Tony comes to believe the Avengers “need to be put in check” and promotes accords that would give government oversight to the team.
Steve, still smarting from the revelation that the trusted SHIELD was infested by Hydra, does not trust this move, saying “the safest hands are still our own.”
Complicating matters is the fact that Steve is still trying to protect Bucky, who is recovering from his brainwashing as the Winter Soldier, and who has been wrongly accused of killing Black Panther’s father.
The Avengers divide into factions: Team Captain America, with Sam, Bucky, Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye, and Ant-Man; and Team Iron Man with War Machine, Vision, Black Widow, Black Panther and new recruit Spider-Man.
What do fans say about War Machine and Captain America?
When Steve Rogers initially tries to take custody of Bucky, it’s War Machine who goes after him, and when he apprehends him, he tells Steve sternly, “Congratulations, Cap. You’re a criminal.” Harsh words from a supposed friend, so on Reddit, a topic-starter asks “Was Rhodey disappointed by Cap’s actions or simply doing what the Accords demanded?”
One fan said:
“I mean look at it this way. Another country’s military goes after a wanted criminal and captain America interferes and stops them. That is how it looked to the world. Even if Bucky is truly innocent, what Capt did was stupid and one of the worst things at the time. Just caused more trouble for The Avengers, which they literally had the world already wanting them to be in check…and Capt just kinda proved them right in a way.”
Another fan got to the heart of the matter, pointing out that Rhodey is a colonel in the military, and that puts him in the frame of mind of siding with authority.
“The key difference between Rhodey and the other heroes is that Rhodey is a commissioned colonel in the US military who is in active duty doing his job — he doesn’t get to act on his philosophies and ponder right from wrong like the others.He’s a classic Lawful Good to contrast Tony’s Chaotic Good; he just wants peace and order and to do his duty.”
What finally happened to War Machine?
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Of course, things got even worse for Rhodey in the battle at the airport in Germany. War Machine is in the air and Falcon is after him. Tony tells vision to target Falcon’s jetpack and turn him into a glider. But Falcon dodges Vision’s blast which hits War Machine instead, knocking out his flight capabilities. He plummets to the ground, and the crash leaves him paralyzed.
Of course, he lives on to fight another day against Thanos and his forces, being one of the heroes not taken by the snap.
One could argue that War Machine’s injury was the “end” of his story — some fans consider that unjust, which is part of why they push for a War Machine movie and/or Disney+ series. Rhodey might well be back in some way or other in a future MCU project, even if it’s not his own
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