Some Marvel characters are intrinsically tied to their facial hair — defined by it, even. Avengers: Infinity War, the 19th movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, brings all of these beards, mustaches, and goatees together for the first time in the franchise’s 10-year history. To honor all the great facial hair on screen, we’ve decided to rank the facial hair game in Infinity War, an important task we don't take lightly.
There are a lot of beards in Infinity War. Like, a lot of beards. In fact, it might have been a requirement to have facial hair to be in this movie. (And, for what it's worth, Scarlett Johansson would definitely be able to rock some facial hair.) Anyway, we have to be choosy.
Spoiler Warning: This post contains spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War.
While Peter Quill states that Groot's got "some acorns" to talk back to his family like he does in Infinity War, it doesn't seem that Groot's growing anything green on that face of his yet. Bruce Banner/Hulk has some scruff, but it's more 5 o'clock/worn-down-by-life shadow than facial hair worth ranking. And as for Peter Parker? That sweet angel's still got a couple years before he starts sprouting peach fuzz, as far as we can tell.
We're also nixing characters like M'Baku and Wong from the running — while their and other character's facial hair definitely meet qualifications, we're going to try and focus on the MCU's main characters and those with the most screen time as much as possible here. It's a big universe with a lot of beards, some of which stack up better than others.
Let's rank them.
Thanos (Mostly CGI, but played by Josh Brolin)
Peter Quill rightfully compares Thanos' weird chin embellishment to a scrotum… which is about all we need to say on this subject.
Rocket Raccoon (CGI wizards, but voiced by Bradley Cooper)
Rocket cheated his way onto this list by being totally covered in hair (and by threatening to take my left foot if I didn't write about him). But we've gotta give it to him, this rabbit has some very nice fur.
Stephen Strange/Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch)
The Doctor Strange goatee, while iconic, is also peak white-dude-goes-to-Asia-and-returns-home-with-iconic-powers. Yeah, that's oddly specific, but are we wrong? (Watch Batman Begins and Doctor Strange back-to-back and tell us we're wrong.)
Benedict Cumberbatch's version is okay; there's just the right amount of gray mixed in, it's well-trimmed (if a bit scraggly sometimes), and Doctor Strange’s goatee has been a part of his character for so long for a reason. But as far as specifically tailored facial hair in the MCU goes, it falls a little flat.
Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier/White Wolf (Sebastian Stan)
Poor Bucky. Not only has he fallen off a train, been kidnapped, experimented on, brainwashed, and forced to kill people for a terrorist organization against his will, but he also gets dragged right back into the fight in Infinity War. T'Challa, wise and kind leader that he is, gives Bucky the option to duck out, but, of course, he doesn't take it. He's in, sporting a beard that could be read as a depression beard with how scraggly it looks in certain shots. In other shots, it's a bit fuller and better-kept… which might just be due to styling inconsistency than anything else.
Sam Wilson/Falcon (Anthony Mackie)
Sam Wilson keeps his facial hair so well-groomed and the lines are so clean that it's a bit suspicious — wasn't he supposed to be on the run for the past two years? As the former reigning MCU king of understated facial hair, we always respected Sam's goatee… but his beard in Infinity War is on another level. It's just not as iconic as some others.
Peter Quill/Star-Lord (Chris Pratt)
Peter Quill's beard is undoubtedly characteristic. It's also kind of a knock-off of Tony Stark's, right? Instead of being along his jaw, though, the most prominent lines of this beard follows Peter's cheekbones and there's a lot of emphasis on the mustache. That's a hard look to keep up and pull off, but Peter does it. The showiness of it also definitely lends to his character. But this lewk still isn't Top 5 material, mostly because it sometimes looks a bit patchy due to how light Chris Pratt's facial hair is.
Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson)
A clean-shaven Nick Fury would be a sight to behold. The last time we saw Fury, he showed up just in time with the Helicarrier to save the residents of Sokovia in Avengers: Age of Ultron and then gave Natasha Romanoff a pep talk about Bruce Banner's disappearance. Fury is MIA throughout Avengers: Infinity War — until the only post-credits scene at the very end of the film, in which he places a distress call to Captain Marvel right before evaporating into thin air. In the scene, he's sporting his trademark eyepatch, leather trench coat, and, of course, that great goatee of his. It's full, well-managed, and almost as iconic as the eyepatch. You keep doin' you, Fury.
Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.)
The OG connoisseur of weird-but-it-works facial hair, MCU godfather Tony Stark undoubtedly spends a lot of time in front of the mirror in the morning. And it definitely works. We've got to give credit where credit is due. His characteristic beard has been on the big screen for 10 years — and it seems it's not going away any time soon (at least until 2019 when Stark might meet his maker in Avengers 4).
T’Challa/Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman)
A king can't be lax in his grooming regimen. While T'Challa's got a country to run and protect as the Black Panther, we've never seen him skimp on fashion. But while T'Challa is clearly the best-dressed Avenger, his beard doesn't cover as much of his face as it could. It's well trimmed and taken care of, but it's not as voluptuous an accessory as our top two winners' beards.
Besides, we all know that T'Challa would never hear the end of it from Shuri ("What are thooooose?"), Queen Ramonda (her son's a king, dammit), and Okoye (T'Challa's protector, partner in justice, and roaster extraordinaire) if he didn't keep up his appearance. It's easier to just have some pride in his looks.
Thor (Chris Hemsworth)
It's no surprise that the Guardians of the Galaxy were so blown away by Thor's manliness upon peeling him off their ship. The Asgardian God of Thunder has been the subject of a lot of fawning throughout his time in the MCU, and the Guardians certainly won't be the last ones to make heart eyes at Chris Hemsworth. The beard's definitely a big part of it. Sure, Thor got a fancy new haircut in Thor: Ragnarok, but this recent rugged streak is completed by his full, well-trimmed beard.
Thor's room aboard the Asgardian-ferrying ship at the end of Ragnarok had a mirror in it. Clearly, he used that mirror for a little self-care before Thanos crashed the party. He's got his priorities straight.
Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans)
There's a reason we've all been freaking out about Steve's beard since the moment we first basked in its presence during San Diego Comic-Con 2017, which was all the way back in July if you can believe it. It is, for all intents and purposes, a fantastic beard and, unsurprisingly, the winner of this ranking.
Its perfection raises questions about when Steve had the time to apply beard oils and moisturizers while on the run for the past two years — but we'll suspend reality for the sake of the beard. The beautiful, beautiful beard. Thank you, Chris Evans, for bestowing us with this gift.