Thanos is hands-down the deadliest, most effective villain in the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, many fans are mad at one hero in particular, because he makes a dumb decision in Infinity War that has drastic, dire consequences. On social media, viewers are savaging Peter Quill, aka Star-Lord, and for good reason. But, are his actions in any way defensible?
I mean, the dude sucks, but let’s see if we can give Star-Lord the benefit of the doubt.
There are big ol’ Avengers: Infinity War spoilers in this post.
Star-Lord’s big fuck-up comes during one of the two big battles near the end of Infinity War, when Iron Man, Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, and the Guardians of the Galaxy come agonizingly close to prying the Infinity Gauntlet off of Thanos’s hand. Mantis, using her empathic powers, has Thanos subdued while Iron Man and Spidey try to rip the gauntlet off. That’s when Star-Lord learns that Thanos killed Gamora, and he freaks out. He punches Thanos in the face, accidentally making Mantis lose her grip and allowing Thanos to wreck all of them, ultimately going on to kill half of the universe.
“I can’t believe you let your emotions get the best of you…smh…” one viewer commented on Chris Pratt’s Instagram page, as if the actor was responsible for ruining the plan. They were hardly alone. “You could’ve ended Thanos but NoOooOo..now half of the universes population is gone…way to go Star Lord 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼😒”
Can Star-Lord be redeemed? While it’s certainly true he ruined the plan, the dude maybe deserves a little credit for coming up with the plan in the first place. It’s unclear what Iron Man would’ve thought up, but Star-Lord did figure out a nifty way to use all of their skills to subdue Thanos. Well, until he screwed it up.
The thing is, being wildly emotional is not out of character for good ol’ Peter Quill. Remember back in Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 when Ego revealed that he was the one responsible for giving Peter’s mom that fatal brain tumor? Peter instantly lit him up. There wasn’t a moments hesitation, Peter just unloaded his blasters into the father he’d only moments ago been all buddy-buddy with.
That rash decision on Star-Lord’s part — to take his rage out on a person who killed a woman he loved — was pretty cool at the time, even if Ego reformed himself nearly instantly. In Infinity War, Peter was acting on the same impulses. Stupid? Yeah, but not out of character for him.
There’s perhaps a storytelling reason why Star-Lord’s bone-headed actions in Infinity War are that much more aggravating. Even though there have been two Guardians movies, we really haven’t seen much of Peter and Gamora’s relationship. The only met in the first movie, and in the second film, which took place only months later, they were still figuring out what this “unspoken thing” was. By the time of Infinity War, it seems clear that they’re a for-real couple, but viewers don’t get much of an opportunity to feel just how important Gamora has become to Peter over the course of those missing year that would make him act in this rash way. Still, it’s extremely not-cool that he couldn’t wait one goddamn second to kick Thanos’s ass so that Iron Man could get that gauntlet off, but at least his outburst makes sense, if you take into account how close he and Gamora got off-screen.
Star-Lord deserves a little credit in one other area: He did pull that trigger and attempt to kill Gamora himself, heeding her wishes. It didn’t work, but Peter was, at that time, willing to make the hard sacrifice necessary to save the world. No other hero in this movie, except for Gamora herself, was willing to do this. Sure, eventually Scarlet Witch killed Vision, but not until the last minute when it was too late, and not before sacrificing a ton of Wakandan soldiers’ lives. The people of Wakanda fought and died so that Shuri could try to save Wanda’s boyfriend’s life.
If Star-Lord is getting (rightfully deserved) shit for botching the plan to defeat Thanos, then Captain America and co. should also get grief for “not trading lives.” What I’m saying is that Star-Lord wasn’t the only hero who made stupid decisions that ended up killing half of the universe.
Having said that … yeah, Star-Lord’s screw-up was certainly the biggest and dumbest. He’ll have a lot of explaining to do when he inevitably comes back to life in time for Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 3.
Avengers: Infinity War is now in theaters.