From a fatherly social worker in “Hotel for Dogs” to enduring the Rwandan genocide in “Hotel Rwanda” and plenty of movies that have nothing to do with hotels, Cheadle has consistently proven his versatility since he first started working in the ’80s. But when it comes to his role as James Rhodes, aka War Machine, in the MCU, Cheadle’s performances have mostly been limited to his interactions with Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark. That said, over the 13 years Cheadle has been a part of Marvel’s shared universe, he has had his moments. “Captain America: Civil War” provided the actor with a lot more to do in terms of, y’know acting, as did “Iron Man 3.”
But Kevin Feige and his directors have always seemingly overlooked just how talented a star they have on their hands with Cheadle, which is why it’s nice to see him being given a little more to do with “Secret Invasion.” While there’s not much of Rhodey in the first episode of “Secret Invasion,” there’s enough in episode 2 to suggest we’re going to see a whole new side of the character in the near future, with one tense scene in particular showcasing both Cheadle and Samuel L. Jackson’s acting skills.
After Jackson’s Nick Fury fails to thwart a bomb plot in Moscow, leading to the death of Cobie Smulders’ agent Maria Hill, global leaders are looking for someone to blame. And with Fury being spotted at the scene, he very quickly becomes the target of their ire. Thankfully, James Rhodes defends him at a hearing before meeting with the former S.H.I.E.L.D director in an empty upscale restaurant to chastise him for his recklessness. The meeting ends with Fury being unceremoniously fired, something Rhodes actually volunteered to execute himself. But it’s the interaction between the two, prior to Fury’s dismissal, that’s the best part of the whole thing.