A funny thing happened between Avengers: Age of Ultron and Avengers: Infinity War: Everyone grew a beard. Or, at the very least, a mustache. An hour into Infinity War, I could no longer look past the obvious: There are good guys and bad guys and Infinity Stones, but this is really a movie about facial hair. Captain America has a beard now; Falcon grew out his sideburns. There’s no reason for everyone to have invested in beard oil or a mustache brush — was there a deleted scene where Iron Man sent out an official alert? — but it’s a welcome distraction from the real plot’s doom and gloom. So I’m proud to present this look at Infinity War’s facial hair, ranked from worst to best. Here’s who’s working it, and who needs to add a rider to their contract for more time with the set barber.
The Guardians aesthetic is very ‘80s and usually deploys its throwbacks with finesse. But Peter Quill’s razor-sharp, quasi-lightning-bolt sideburns don’t impress me much. Something about this feels cartoonish, not hot — paste-on hair you could buy from a Queens Party City. Would it be so bad if Peter Quill was the only clean-shaven Avenger? Get us a clean-shaven Star-Lord, pronto!
Blessed be the wig that ended up on Ragnarok’s cutting-room floor. (Full disclosure: I know that wig, and he’s a nice dude — bougie salt spray and all.) Thor’s Infinity War facial hair frames his face well, and he’s by far the hottest of the Avengers squad, but the Asgardian isn’t serving a look we haven’t seen and swooned over before. We know Thor can pull off a close cut and tamed beard. He’s not necessarily resting on his laurels — why mess with a good thing? — but attention must be paid to the Avengers taking more risks.
I’ve been black for 23 years (also known as my whole life) and T’Challa is the only black man I’ve ever known to walk in his widow’s peak truth. (Was this a revolution I ever expected to be televised? No!) Like Thor, T’Challa is pulling his same look from his previous standalone Marvel movie (Black Panther), with that jawline-framing shadow. However, because T’Challa’s hairline broke so many barriers in Black Panther, I feel comfortable bumping him up slightly higher than our Asgardian friend.
How should I put this delicately? This man could — extremely “7/11” voice — sweat out m’blowout as he’s blowing out m’back. M’Baku wears his ‘stache slightly thinner than it was in Black Panther. He’s also wearing it better than T’Challa wears his skinny ‘stache, because even though Chadwick Boseman looks less like the earnest cousin type than he usually does, somehow I get the feeling that he’s already volunteered to clear the plates at Mother’s Day dinner and that’s a little too squeaky clean. (“Hunter,” you might protest, “this has literally nothing to do with M’Baku’s facial hair.” To which I reply: If you want “serious” comics writing, read literally anything else!)
Falcon’s mustache, goatee, and sideburns were all comically slender in his previous Avengers outings. Finally, he popped a biotin and let those hairs grow! In Infinity War, he earns the status of Most Improved. He didn’t come to Infinity War to make friends, he came because he had a look to show off. He’s leapfrogging beyond T’Challa with this cut, even as the Wakanda king rocks basically the same situation.
4. Iron Man
There’s something very zaddy in the way Tony Stark’s facial hair is slowly and subtly going gray. I wish his hairline would follow suit. That’s all.
3. Dr. Strange
All two hours and forty minutes of Infinity War suggested that maybe Dr. Strange is … my favorite? He casts spells (are they scientific experiments?) like he’s doing the Soulja Boy dance! His mustache and goatee hair are a warm rust color, and have a lot of sharp angles — he means business, but like, “business” in the sense that he could lounge on an Eames chair in a Tom Ford movie and feel right at home. I respect that.
2. Bucky Barnes
Who gave Carter Baizen the permission! He ready to step out of Captain America’s shadow with a scruff ready for GQ cover. It’s important to note that the grooming of that beard isn’t alone: not only does Bucky have the Avengers’ best hairline, he’s also perfectly positioned in front of a fan, letting his greasy hair blow in Beyoncé-level wind. I respect this hustle.
1. Captain America
So what will Steve Roger’s beard say at my funeral, now that it’s killed me? Captain America himself won’t be saying much — did he have even two lines in Infinity War? — so it’s up to this magnificent beard to do the talking! It almost helps that Chris Evans literally can’t stop talking about how much he wants to be done with these movies, and this his Lobby Hero mustache looks like it would come up to you at a dive bar and mumble something about Blue Lives Matter. This beard is a blessing, and basically steals the show. It’s full enough to draw attention, but enough steps below The Revenant so we don’t have to be concerned. This beard works: It’s thicc, brown, and down to clown! Not unlike … well, me. Steve Rogers’s beard, you are Infinity War’s MVP. Now, politely, turn your location on.