The Infinity War is upon us! While fans and critics are in awe of the film’s insane crossover premise, uniting nearly all of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s heroes in one movie, there’s another spectacular accomplishment here: this is the most facial hair we’ve ever seen in a superhero film! It’s great to see such a wealth and variety of beards, goatees, sideburns and moustaches among our heroes. For some this is familiar territory, for others these are brand new looks.
We thought it would be fun to showcase this amazing cavalcade of superbeards and to pair some of the major players up with a corresponding Can You Handlebar virtue. We name all of our beard oils and balms after virtues, it’s our way of paying homage to the qualities that make humanity great. This will also give us a chance to give you a spoiler-free recap as to where each hero stands going into the events of Infinity War.
King T’Challa - The Black Panther - The Virtue of Devotion
A major theme of Black Panther is T’Challa’s love for his people, his desire to protect and rule them justly as king while also seeking to help address wider global injustice. When we last left T’Challa he had made the difficult decision to open the borders of Wakanda to the outside world. Sharing their secret and their nation’s great wealth and technology would make him a hero to all, but it comes at the cost of making Wakanda vulnerable to attack. It also means that the Black Panther can finally step out of the shadows to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Avengers against the hordes of Thanos.
The virtue of Devotion seems the right choice for T’Challa, it informs his every thought and is deeply rooted in the history of both the mantle of the Black Panther and the history of Wakanda. Sporting a thin well-manicured beard, T’Challa’s look is distinguished, quite becoming of a monarch, and echoes the style of his late father.
Thor - The Virtue of Goodwill
Thor: Ragnarok was a watershed moment for the character, allowing him to finally shine as the funny, jocular, super-powered demi-god that we’ve always known him to be. Thor appears to have done some soul-searching, dealing with the loss of his father and coming to terms with his half-brother Loki’s incessant treachery. Having been absent for the events of Civil War we see him travelling back to Earth in the Infinity War trailer with some interesting companions in tow.
Thor ably represents the virtue of Goodwill, his optimism is boundless, but maybe it’s easy to be humorous and witty in the face of danger when you’re nigh-invulnerable and one of the most powerful beings in the universe. Ragnarok saw Thor switching up his beard style. With his golden locks trimmed against his will for the gladiator pit, he’s allowed his beard to come in more fully than we’ve seen in the past, giving him just the right balance of refined and rugged.
Bucky Barnes - The Winter Soldier - The Virtue of Temperance
Bucky has had a wild ride since bursting into the Avengers narrative back in Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier. He’s always been an unwitting villain/pawn thanks to his role as a mind-controlled Soviet super assassin. Despite his attempts to come clean he’s been hypnotized into attacking his friends by the enigmatic Zemo, forcing everyone to question whether he can be trusted. His actions in this capacity were a flash point in the division of the team in Civil War, widening the rift between Iron Man and Captain America to potentially irreparable proportions.
Bucky needs the virtue of Temperance to help balance the sins of his past against the hero he hopes to become. We see him recovering from his brainwashing in a post-credits stinger following Black Panther, his scruffy shadow beard lending a somewhat hungover but hopeful look.
Tony Stark - Iron Man - The Virtue of Initiative
Civil War left Tony Stark broken and the Avengers divided, split over how best to deal with the world government’s desire to exert some control over the emerging superpowered population. Wracked with guilt regarding the failure of his invention Ultron and the danger he inadvertently released upon the world, Tony sides in favor of restriction. There’s a question as to whether the wounds he’s incurred run too deeply to ever be healed, setting the stage for some serious tension between Iron Man and the team he helped found.
Initiative is an easy pick for Tony’s leading virtue, it’s what has pushed him to succeed throughout his life, it defines his character and it’s made him an inspiring and decisive hero. Tony’s classic close-cropped goatee and moustache combo has helped define him as both a puckish billionaire playboy and an unconventional tech magnate. It doesn’t appear Pepper has asked him to shave it off going into Infinity War, as his look remains intact.
Peter Quill - Star-Lord - The Virtue of Joy
The Guardians of the Galaxy films have both dealt unreservedly with themes of family. As an orphan, Peter Quill has had to find his family amongst the outcasts, criminals and occasional begrudging allies he has encountered throughout his cosmic journeys. He’s most recently had to deal with some very heavy stuff regarding both his biological father as well as his adoptive father and now it looks like he and the team are on deck to save the universe, again.
Thankfully Star-Lord’s snarky smartass sense of humor remains firmly in place. He’s possessed of the virtue of Joy in abundance, whether it’s inspiring laughter or dance, regardless of the danger faced, he makes sure that those he calls family are feeling the exhilaration of being alive. Has he always had those crazy angular sideburns? Too bad the name “Star-Burns” was already taken.
Steve Rogers - Captain America - The Virtue of Wisdom
In order to protect one friend Steve Rogers found himself betraying the trust of another. The fallout, bad blood, and ideological conflict between Cap and Iron Man were at the crux of Civil War, and threaten to spill over into Infinity War. Surely a reckoning is at hand, but it’s hard to say where that will leave Steve Rogers, or if he will even continue to lay claim to the title of Captain America.
Experience and knowledge have been hard won for Cap, he’s trusted his judgment and gut instinct even when doing so put himself and others at great risk. Those are the qualities of the virtue of Wisdom, and it appears Rogers will need every ounce of it to guide him through the coming onslaught. We’re wishing him well, and hoping that the beard sticks around. Whether it’s an indicator of his outlaw status or his nomadic wanderings on the run from the government, it’s a striking addition to a classic character.
Doctor Stephen Strange - Honorable Mention
We’ve run out of Can You Handlebar virtues to assign, but would be remiss if we didn’t comment upon the good Doctor’s signature moustache and goatee. They add an element of devilish sophistication to his arcane aesthetic and he simply wouldn’t look himself without them. Since appearing in his solo film, Strange has popped up in Thor: Ragnarok, confirming his mantle of Sorcerer Supreme and bolstering his reputation as the Master of the Mystical Arts. He’s featured prominently in the trailer for Infinity War and it looks like he’ll be lending the Avengers some much needed supernatural support.
What exactly is going on with Thanos’s chin down there? His jawline appears unique among the race of Eternals from which he hails, even after you factor in the Deviants genes mixed into his DNA. Is it a skinbeard? Perhaps The Mad Titan just needs to work on his daily moisturizing routine? If he’s experiencing itching and irritation from dryness it may account for some of his general grumpiness and overall desire to dominate the universe. One thing is certain, he’s a challenge unlike any other our heroes have faced and it will be nothing short of a miracle if they all make it out alive.
There are sure to be surprises aplenty when you hit your local cinema for Avengers: Infinity War. Rumors of other villains, cameos from other heroes and much more are swirling in the ether. Make sure to see it soon to avoid spoilers! Stay virtuous, and find your beard and moustache inspiration wherever you can, whether that be on the big screen or beyond!