Don Cheadle: 5 Awesome Performances & 5 That Sucked

Miles Ahead or lagging behind...?

Don Cheadle Miles Ahead 2.jpg
Sony Pictures Classic

Don Cheadle is a strangely difficult talent to define. While he's starred in the lead of some great films and caught awards attention for his finest work, he never seems to be talked about in truly A grade terms. He's an intriguing character actor whose CV is a broad, many-headed beast that speaks of range and bravery and sadly not enough chances to lead his own projects.

As he ages, Cheadle has expressed his growing comfort behind the camera rather than in front of it, and while he clearly has stories to tell and a well-crafted phrasebook of experience to draw from, he is still a hugely watchable talent. To have him leave acting behind altogether to concentrate on more directing gigs like Miles Ahead would be a travesty.

Over the years he's played superheroes and human heroes; offered balance, brilliance and surrealism and run the full gamut from porn star to jazz musician and dentist and everything in between. And in most cases he's done so charitably and without stealing scenes, which says a lot about his commitment to the craft of acting.

With Cheadle's Miles Davis passion project - which he also directed - hitting cinemas in the UK today, now is the perfect time to evaluate where it sits on the actor's personal Awful to Awesome scale...

5 Awesome Performances

5. James Rhodes - Iron Man 3 (2013)

Don Cheadle Iron Man 2.jpg
Marvel Studios

Despite the well-publicised failings of Iron Man 2 (they're all comparative really, but they're still pertinent), the addition of Shane Black to the follow-up was a genius move. Not only did it re-establish the right tone (without compromising the central premise of Tony Stark suffering PTSD and guilt), it also refocused the bromance between Iron Man and Rhodey.

Rather than being a glorified sidekick, War Machine is promoted thanks to Black's penchant for buddy cop movies. He's an anchor and offers balance to Stark's wilder side, and while he's not in it as much as his partner, Rhodey is a far more rounded character and a better written presence than he was in either of the previous films. The smarter role also gives Cheadle something to actually do, rather than hiding behind the metal face mask fighting an army of impostor robots as he did in the second.

it's just a shame that come the Avengers movies, Rhodey is relegated back to being the slightly douchey best friend freeloader who looks like walking cannon fodder.


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