Avengers: Infinity War directors Joe and Anthony Russo say Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) isn't solely responsible for the devastating events incurred by Thanos' (Josh Brolin) snap that wiped out half of all life in the universe.
"I mean, look, he's a character who's gone through a lot of pain. He's lost a lot of people in his life. He was kidnapped by pirates when he was 10 years old, raised by pirates, lost his mother, had to kill his father, and in the movie, the love of his life is taken from him," Joe Russo told ET.
"So if you can't understand someone making a human choice like that, I don't know if you understand humanity very well. But he is a flawed character, and that's what's so compelling about him."
The Guardians of the Galaxy leader learns lover Gamora (Zoe Saldana) has been murdered by her purple-skinned adopted dad just as Star-Lord's makeshift team of superhero allies have nearly yanked the all-powerful Infinity Gauntlet from Thanos' paw. Star-Lord's subsequent emotional outburst results in Thanos breaking free of Mantis' (Pom Klementieff) mental hold, ending the heroes' brief advantage over the villain.
"That moment is very emotionally truthful, and I think that's why we bought it in the moment and that's why we loved it as a storytelling point, because it made him so vulnerable," added Anthony Russo.
Russo explained the blame extends from the schism between former Avengers allies Captain America (Chris Evans) and Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) in Captain America: Civil War, and the blame is shared among Infinity War's expansive cast of characters — some of which falls on a vengeance-seeking Thor (Chris Hemsworth).
"But you know, there's lots of choices that characters have made throughout the movie that sort of led them to lose. It wasn't simply that moment. If you go back to the end of Civil War, the entire rift between Cap and Tony is sort of a basis for why they lose in this film," he said.
"Thor gets the jump on Thanos at the end of the film, but instead of sort of killing him quickly, he sort of does it in a way where he can draw out his revenge and engage with Thanos in a way that arguably gives him a window to get away. That's what we love about these characters — they're superheroes, they have amazing powers, but what makes them vulnerable is their emotional life and their emotional needs, and that's where things get complicated and that's where the story gets really rich."
Star-Lord has been on the receiving end of blame since Infinity War hit theaters to the point star Chris Pratt was forced to address the backlash and defend his characters' actions following Star-Lord's latest moment of emotional upheaval.
"And I think it's important to have empathy in life as much as to have empathy for these characters," Joe added. "If anything, for us, making challenging choices and flawed choices with the characters is a way for us to convey the notion that empathy is critical to living life properly."
Avengers: Infinity War is now available to own on Digital HD ahead of its 4K UHD and Blu-ray release August 14.