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Why War Machine's Armor Makes No Sense

The "Iron Man" movies wouldn't be the same with Lieutenant Colonel James Rhodes, a.k.a. Rhodey. The U.S. Air Force pilot is Tony Stark's (Robert Downey Jr.) best friend and often acts as the voice of reason to balance out the hero's chaotic, spontaneous behavior. Although he's first played by Terrence Howard in 2008's "Iron Man," Don Cheadle is the one to step into the War Machine suit for the 2010 sequel. While there are several complicated reasons behind Howard's departure, fans are happy with Cheadle's addition to the superhero franchise.

Cheadle has helped push Rhodey to new places within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and his character's unwavering friendship with Tony makes for some excellent scenes between the two. Rhodey obviously takes Tony's side in "Captain America: Civil War," accidentally getting shot down by Vision (Paul Bettany) during the battle at the airport in Germany, but that doesn't stop him from donning several War Machine suits for "Avengers: Infinity War" and "Avengers: Endgame." However, in looking at Rhodey's various superhero uniforms over the years, there's one thing about War Machine's armor which makes no sense.

Tony Stark is a hypocrite

One of the main plots in "Iron Man 2" revolves around Tony Stark keeping his suits out of the government's hands, which ultimately backfires when Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke) builds a fleet of drones based on Tony's technology for Hammer Industries. In the film, Rhodey takes one of the Iron Man suits for himself when Tony is in drunken self-destruct mode, but the titular hero doesn't seem to really care. Sure, they have a fun beatdown in Tony's Malibu mansion, but that's more because Rhodey wants to knock some sense into his friend.

Tony also doesn't kick up a fuss when Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell) starts making his own changes to the War Machine suit, outfitting Rhodey with an impressive array of new weaponry. Although, it's worth remembering that Tony is going through an existential crisis at this point in the film thanks to finding old tapes of his dad, Howard Stark (John Slattery), so the War Machine suit might not be high up on his list of priorities. Sure, this lack of concern over the control of his technology can also be put down to personal growth, but it's truly strange that this never bothers Tony at all in the future. 

Remember, in the opening few minutes of "Iron Man 2," Tony rebelliously tells a U.S. committee, "You want my property, you can't have it. But I did you a big favor. I've successfully privatized world peace." So how is he so unconcerned when the government gets control of War Machine? Fast-forward to "Iron Man 3," and the army has given the War Machine suit a red, white, and blue rebrand, calling Rhodey the "Iron Patriot." Overall, Tony is a bit hypocritical when it comes to sharing his brilliant technology, and this questionable detail about War Machine's story remains.