Not really. I’d argue Cruise and DiCaprio function as professional adversaries, two apex predators competing for parts under increasingly converging niches. And frankly, they seem to know it. Just last year, DiCaprio got to relish in the acclaim for his performance in Once Upon A Time in Hollywood. A role once offered to Tom Cruise. Once titans amongst a diverse field of box office superstars like Matt Damon, Denzel Washington and Tom Hanks, Leo and Tom now sit atop a lonely Hollywood landscape in a class all their own but deprived of the rich scripts that made them household names.
In short, Hollywood doesn’t make ‘em like they used to. DiCaprio and Cruise enjoy the bygone privilege of selecting their own original roles and working with elite Hollywood filmmakers they deem desirable, a privilege no longer afforded to modern performers regardless off their success. It doesn’t matter how many box office records End Game smashed or how many Oscar nominations Bohemian Rhapsody got, Chris Hemsworth and Rami Malek will never attain the same level of control over their careers as Tom and Leo have. This is because Tom and Leo attained their success at a time before mega franchises and superheroes.
But this is exactly why Cruise and DiCaprio are not starring in the next blockbuster together. While they may have at once stuck to wildly different niches (with Leo typecast as a pretty boy and Cruise cornered into cocky, Maverick-esque roles) their affinity for original, innovative content has forced them to compete for the same small pool of competent roles. In response, Cruise has attempted to expand on his previous titles (notably Jack Reacher and Edge of Tomorrow) with limited success. And DiCaprio has focused on taking fewer roles but with a larger investment in their success, playing a bigger role in their financing (using some questionable means).
Despite their aging/waning popularity it’s worth noting why audiences still care about Cruise and DiCaprio. It’s because their names are synonymous with quality and freshness. Despite their propensity for the canned, impersonal entertainment Marvel has to offer, audiences still know when they are watching something truly cinematic and worthwhile. And it takes people like Tom and Leo to make that happen, if Hollywood truly wants to satisfy audiences perhaps original content is the way to go. It would make the odds of seeing Tom and Leo in a movie together a bit more likely.
The movie makes this more explicit and treats it as a real thing. The book states that Tom blamed himself for Sonny’s death. For what it’s worth though Vito tells Tom that he never thought Tom was a bad consigliere although he thought Santino was a bad Don, RIP. Per Michael though Vito said that Tom would see through the temporary removal of Tom as Consigliere and figure out the real plans of Michael and Vito.
An older more experienced more savage consigliere might have sniffed out Barzini’s trap or even eliminated Carlo via some form of “accident” after Sonny assaulted him. And it would have been something that no one ever talked about or admitted. Tom needed more time to mature in his position. Although he never points it out, Tom was right about needing to take the drug deal. Vito was wrong.