Should Henry Cavill’s Mustache Now Be Part of the DCEU Canon?

And other random musings about our favorite bit of ‘non-existent’ superhero facial hair since Cesar Romero’s ‘Batman.’
By  · Published on July 25th, 2017

And other random musings about our favorite bit of ‘non-existent’ superhero facial hair since Cesar Romero’s ‘Batman.’

In the waning hours of Monday evening, a bolt of lightning struck at the very heart of Film Twitter. A new feature in Variety told a story of Hollywood reshoots so powerful – so filled with layers of creative and financial intrigue – that you could practically hear the knuckles of film critics around the world crack as they prepared their own hot takes. According to Variety, Warner Bros. has allocated nearly $25 million for Justice League reshoots – otherwise known as the collective budget of Get OutSplitIt Comes at Night, and then two more Get Outs for good measure – to ensure that not-director Joss Whedon could ramp up some of the dialogue and character beats of the next entry in the DCEU. As Variety notes, this is the latest and most expensive in an emerging trend of post-production changes to major motion pictures.

More: Watch the Justice League trailer from Comic-Con

Any other day, the fact that Warner Bros. would spend $25 million on reshoots would be story enough, but this one comes with a twist: apparently, Paramount Pictures has prevented Henry Cavill from shaving his Mission: Impossible mustache for reshoots. This news makes me feel a kind of glow in my heart that’s difficult to explain. See for yourself:

Because of this, a mustache he grew for his character in the “Mission: Impossible” sequel will have to be digitally removed in post-production. Paramount, which is distributing the “Mission: Impossible” sequel, would not allow Cavill to shave the facial hair while production was taking place.

Where to begin? If your immediate reaction to this news item is to joke about the pointless nature of Cavill’s mustache, then it’s quite clear you haven’t actually seen the glorious lip caterpillar that has nestled on Superman’s face. Here, let’s see if I can dig a picture up for you:

Good goddamn. As someone who cannot grow a standalone mustache to save his life, let me be the first to tell you that that is one dapper cookie duster. Seriously. If I could grow that kind of facial hair, I would go the Cesar Romero route and refuse to shave it barring a Supreme Court victory. I’d contact insurance companies and see if they’d be willing to insure it – not unlike the way that college athletes try to ensure their arms and legs – to protect me against catastrophic loss of income caused by a faulty soup strainer. If there ever came a time where I had to shave it off, I would hire a professional taxidermist to mount my deceased muzzle fuzz above my fireplace for all to see. “It seems so lifelike!” my guests would cry out in admiration. It was. Once.

Seriously, all jokes about my mouser retirement fund aside, has there ever been a blockbuster blind item quite as delightful as this? There’s a lot of heavy shit in that Variety piece, some of which extends further than the quality of the Justice League movie itself. It’s one thing to point out that Hollywood reshoots aren’t the creative black hole that some would have you believe, quite another to show that the business model is changing to allow studios a chance to adjust their tentpoles in “real-time” in response to other superhero films. There’s also the question of accreditation and whether Joss Whedon’s contributions to Justice League – or Ron Howard’s contributions to Han Solo – require special consideration in the film’s final credits. Each of those are thought-provoking issues with ramifications that might be felt outside just the DCEU.

But that’s not the story that people are going to run with. Cavill’s mustache has already inspired fan art and news items detailing the various pieces of fan art; I’ve basically written an entire piece of film criticism as an excuse to see how many bristle batons nicknames I could slip into the piece. And it’s such a delightfully petty thing for Paramount Pictures to do! Paramount just spent $217 million dollars on a movie where giant robots punch each other atop floating island chunks, and they’re unwilling to spend a couple of dollars on spirit gum to give Henry Cavill a fake mustache? It’s almost breathtakingly petulant, and since Justice League has charted a course for itself that requires more Superman footage – not that he’s in the movie, by the way – they have to pay what it takes to make his mustache go away. Cavill has stood on a soundstage in California the last few weeks with green dots stuck to his face furniture so the digital effects artists would know which layer to remove in post-production. Unbelievable.

Seriously, can this be the moment where we all realize how silly this whole superhero thing truly is? Whether you love the Marvel movies or the DCEU, there’s no way you can puff yourself up sanctimoniously about a movie where the patch of pink flesh below Henry Cavill’s nose will be meticulously recreated from archival footage to ensure we have a duster-free Superman. Can these be our Emperor’s New Clothes moment, where we all put down our knives and have a nice chuckle over why we ever let superhero movies become such a swirl of weird infighting and toxicity? There are people who can’t afford surgery to remove ingrown hairs, and here’s Warner Bros., throwing thousands of dollars at Henry Cavill’s face? Maybe I’m an overly optimistic man, but I’d like to believe that Henry Cavill grew a mustache so powerful it managed to bring peace to the Marvel/DC war. Maybe… maybe it’s not the snot catcher we deserve, but the one we need right now.

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Matthew Monagle is an Austin-based film and culture critic. His work has appeared in a true hodgepodge of regional and national film publications. He is also the editor and co-founder of Certified Forgotten, an independent horror publication. Follow him on Twitter at @labsplice. (He/Him)