Minor (seriously!) Avengers: Endgame spoilers ahead. The penultimate film in Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Avengers: Endgame, premiered this weekend, and fans across the world stumbled out of their respective theaters in a daze over the stunning three-hour conclusion of the Infinity Saga. I've had some time to mull over my feelings post-Endgame, and I have...thoughts.
Out of respect for the MCU, I'll refrain from divulging any of the film's major plot points and twists (that HAMMER, tho). Besides, I'm really only here to talk about one thing and one thing only: Captain America. More specifically, Captain America's bare face.
I was surprised and delighted when the good Captain made his appearance in the 2018 box-office smash Avengers: Infinity War. He's always been attractive (his body is literally perfect), but that beard took him to another level, from friendly neighborhood superhero to "What would you like for dinner, Cap? Do you need a massage? A foot rub? My car keys? Access to my savings? Anything you want, just say the word, and it's yours." The Infinity War beard was thicc (2 c's for emphasis), and it wasn't just sexy; it also marked a significant shift in Captain America's perspective.
After the events of Captain America: Civil War, "God's righteous man" was more agitator than Avenger, estranged from both the U.S. government and former friend Tony Stark after siding with war criminal and Winter Soldier Bucky Barnes. On the run for breaking the Sokovia Accords, Captain America wasn't so sure if his homeland really stood for truth and liberty and justice (honestly, same), but he still did, and he decided to fight for what he believed in his own way. Cap reunited with Tony and the rest of the Avengers in Infinity War, sporting a new attitude, a new suit, and that glorious, glorious beard.
I've said this many times before, and I will continue to say it until my very last breath on this earth: A lot of men need facial hair. I understand that this is a controversial stance—people really seem to like the clean-shaven look—and I get it, but I can't relate. Facial hair is the icing on top of the cake, the pièce de résistance. Captain America already looked good, but that beard really elevated him, so much so that I almost switched up my definitive ranking of the Hollywood Chrises just because of it (Chris Pine remains undefeated at the top of my Hollywood Chris list, but Chris Evans is definitely getting up there).
Imagine my devastation when Avengers: Endgame revealed a facial hair-free Captain America. The betrayal! The beardlessness! The baby face! The film takes place five years after the dusting, leaving the survivors to deal with the loss of their loved ones. Now, grief is a really good excuse for growing out a lumberjack beard (like, who really has time to shave when survivor's guilt is driving you to depression and constant day drinking? Not Thor!), so it made literally no sense that Cap would shave. But he did. And what was left was quite a sight to behold.
Look, Steve Rogers is fine, y'all. He looks good in anything: Captain America suit, Quantum Realm time-traveling suit, 1970s military uniform, street clothes, literally anything. But I've always been of the opinion that he lacked a certain quality that would propel him right into "hold me tight and never let me go" status, and as it turned out, all he needed was a beard! It was like seasoned salt, adding just enough flavor to turn him into a man that I personally would like to have and to hold. Is he M'Baku-level fine? No, but I'm biased; I have a thing for thighs, and the sight of M'Baku manspreading on his throne in Black Panther has been permanently etched into my memory. Wakanda forever!
Thick thighs notwithstanding, Bearded Cap is still a snack, and a dangerous snack at that. He's good, but he's also got a bad side to him. Bearded Cap pulls out chairs for you on dates, but only so he can admire your backside before sitting down. Bearded Cap sends good morning texts, but he also sends "wyd?" texts at two in the morning because you both know what time it is. Bearded Cap massages your scalp after a long day at the office because you've been working so hard, and he wants to help you relax, but he also pulls your hair when—you see where I'm going with this, don't you? The point is, Captain America's beard was everything. Chris Evans himself agrees, as do several of his Endgame castmates:
Without the facial hair, Captain America is still a pleasant sight— he's still big, and he's still very, very strong—but the beard gave him a necessary edge. Not that it matters much now, since Captain America is less zaddy and more granddaddy. Wait...was that a spoiler?
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