Watching superheroes onscreen has never been more thrilling as it is these days. Flying through the air, firing laser beams and blowing things up are made easier with the advent of advanced visual effects. There is greater accuracy in how a character appears as well as his movements. The use of computer-generated imagery (CGI) can easily create effects that would be quite expensive if not physically impossible to do. Motion capture can also incorporate gestures that could be done without putting on the actual costume or prosthetics. The visuals might now be mostly digitized, but that does not mean that it has taken over everything completely.

Good acting still has to come across onscreen. This trait is far from being able to be successfully replicated by any CGI effect. Only a talented actor can convincingly breathe life into a character that he is portraying. He must embody the role completely, visualizing how it should come across and makes his own interpretation in the world of make believe. His sincere efforts do not go unnoticed as critics and moviegoers alike can readily appreciate a part that is well played.

One of the best examples of an actor that has been able to combine his talent with existing movie technology is Robert Downey, Jr. Before Iron Man came out, nobody thought that he would make a comeback the way he did. He was one of those actors that the industry knew could act but had a rough past. Studios were unsure if they could rely on him to deliver. He proved to be more bankable than expected as evidenced by the gross receipts of the Iron Man movie franchise. The first one has made over three hundred million dollars in domestic sales alone. Coupled with the two other sequels, this superhero storyline has been able to generate over one billion dollars. This figure does not even consider Iron Man’s appearance in the Avengers.

Everyone is quite familiar with Robert’s portrayal of the eccentric billionaire playboy, Tony Stark. Some pundits have even written that the role seemed to be tailor-made for him. Unlike most Marvel characters, Stark did not have natural superpowers. What he had was a brilliant mind and his ability to put it to good use. When he was captured and imprisoned in a cave, Tony was able to put together scraps of metal to create what would then be the first Iron Man suit. He used this to eventually escape his captors and return home.

Tony Stark was to be depicted as brash and flamboyant. It required a persuasive personality as well as the perfect physical image that reflects this type of behavior. Representing this accurately required a prominent beard, that can be described as a hybrid of a Van Dyke and a goatee. The chin area is wide and seemingly pointing upwards from its three points, pretty much resembling a W. The moustache is thick but barely connected by a thin line going outwards to meet the outer tips of the goatee. An ordinary Van Dyke would not be connected at all. It would also appear more pointed, in a downward direction.

This is the type of facial hair that looks very unique and recognizable. It also requires the machismo and confidence of somebody like Tony Stark to actually make it wearable. Imagining it on any other character is simply preposterous. Captain America, Thor and not even the Hulk would have the kind of swagger that could pull it off. They may be more powerful than Tony Stark without the Iron Man suit but neither of them can rock a beard as wonderful as his. It also takes an actor as gifted as Robert Downey, Jr. to don such magnificent facial hair. No amount of CGI or special effects can ever make-up for the self-assured poise he brings onscreen.

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