Has any mustache ever caused more blockbuster agita than the one Henry Cavill sports for Mission: Impossible – Fallout? The 35-year-old actor grew out his facial hair last year upon joining Tom Cruise’s venerable action franchise, but when Warner Bros. asked Cavill to also squeeze in summer reshoots for the troubled comic-book team-up Justice League, Paramount allowed him to hop between productions but forbade him to shave. Instead of rolling with this newly hirsute Superman, the many makers of Justice League decided to use CGI trickery to blur out Cavill’s stache, as though it were a mob informant who had given an interview to Dateline. This had the unintended effect of making most Justice League scenes look utterly ludicrous instead of merely confounding.
So, was it all worth it? Now that Mission: Impossible – Fallout is in theaters, we decided to tabulate the many pros and cons of Henry Cavill’s follicular decision. Should he be praised for turning Mission: Impossible into a Movember challenge, or pilloried for taking down Superman in a way that not even Lex Luthor could manage? Here are our findings, but try not to bristle at the results.
PRO: Henry Cavill’s widow’s peak needed a friend, and Henry Cavill’s mustache is that friend.
CON: Remember the time a bee attack made Bear Grylls turn into Benedict Cumberbatch? Henry Cavill in Justice League is the CGI version of that.
PRO: Henry Cavill’s mustache has met Angela Bassett. Have you?
CON: I hope that on my deathbed, I might think back on the things I’ve loved in life — my family, my friends, Eva Green in Casino Royale — and yet I fear the last thing I’ll remember is how Justice League made Henry Cavill look like the bad Jesus fresco.
PRO: The mustache sits above a mouth that gets to utter Mission: Impossible – Fallout’s sole F-word, a high point.
CON: Still, by that standard, we must also penalize the mustache for the hackiest line to pass through Cavill’s lips, “Why won’t you just die?!”
PRO: Will Henry Cavill ever play a transformative part where he subsumes himself in a character wholly unlike him? If the part called for it, could he lose 75 pounds and becomes unrecognizable? Someday, might Cavill master a real person’s distinctive cadences for an Oscar-winning biopic? No, but he can grow a mustache, and we salute an actor who knows his range.
CON: One could argue, if one had the inclination, that Cavill sparked a round of mustache mania that ultimately led to Justin Bieber’s current strugglestache. To arrest Cavill for this crime would thusly send the world an important message.
PRO: A friend once told me, “Henry Cavill’s mustache is like the hot guy who wears gray sweatpants at the gym,” and when you know, you know.
CON: The added weight of the mustache may contribute to Cavill’s decision to say his Mission: Impossible lines a half-beat too slow, as though he is a jock who’s been conscripted for the school play.
PRO: Addressing the mustache controversy on his Instagram last summer, Cavill wrote, “It is not a question of IF I should shave — it is a question of how can we possibly be victorious against such a beast without bringing our own doom raining down upon us,” the sort of caption that makes you go, “Oh yeah, I forgot he was British.”
CON: All those little clipped hairs in the bathroom sink would prove wearying over time. Henry! Just wet down some toilet paper and wipe it off!
PRO: Were Cavill to ever grow the mustache again, he might spice it up by adding an earring, and like … I’m ready for that.
Ultimately, we are forced to conclude that Henry Cavill’s mustache was a net gain not just for Mission: Impossible – Fallout but for society as well. It may have turned Superman into a Polar Express character, but even a superhero must sometimes suffer for style.