Over the course of the past week, the Internet has been set ablaze with conversation, theories, and totally hot takes regarding Avengers: Infinity War. While I enjoy reading most of these debates and ideas, there is one notion from the Marvel movie that I just cannot abide, and that's the incredible online hate for Star-Lord. Because it's not deserved.
Fans all over the world are coming down on Peter Quill for his actions in the third act of Infinity War (which we'll get to in a moment). Some have gone so far as to hurl insults at Chris Pratt on social media. The entire point has spiraled out of control, and I'm here to set the record straight. If you're painting Star-Lord as the bad guy, you're wrong. Dead wrong.
WARNING: This article contains major spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War. Continue reading at your own risk...
At the end of the movie, the Guardians plus Iron Man, Spider-Man, and Doctor Strange had Thanos pinned down, removing the gauntlet and actually ending the conflict. However, things took a turn for the worst when Thanos told Peter that he'd killed Gamora. Despite the cries of his companions, Peter was filled with rage, and he began attacking Thanos for what he'd done, in turn allowing the Mad Titan to break free and eventually complete his destructive mission.
This is where people take to blaming Peter for the deaths of half the universe. That's a lot of blame for one man's shoulders, and it's not justified.
First and foremost, let's establish that this is the man Peter Quill has always been. Our own Kofi Outlaw wrote a piece earlier in the week breaking down why this was a bad move for Star-Lord, saying that the scene turned a "lovable rascal character" into an "obnoxious jerk." While I can see where he was going with this, and I respect his opinion, I believe this move had the exact opposite effect on Peter. This cemented who he is as a character.
Peter has always been an emotionally-driven guy, who has a tendency to think before he acts, even if it costs him physical harm. Think back through the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise. Peter dove and grabbed the Power Stone after Ronan's hammer broke, having no idea what would happen to him or those around him. Earlier in the same film, he left the his friends sitting on the edge of a galactic prison, without their only bargaining chip, while he went back inside to grab a tape player that his Mom gave him. In Guardians 2, the moment Peter learns that his Celestial father killed his mother, he absolutely lost it. There was no telling what that rage could've done to the planet Peter was hooked up to, that his friends happened to be walking on, or the consequence of shooting an eternal being in the face. Peter reacted without thinking, and we praised him for it.
This guy has always been a person driven by their emotions. Peter's inability to control his emotions is one of the things we've come to love about him. The only difference in Avengers: Infinity War was the sheer luck of the draw. Every other time we've seen Peter react, it's worked out in his favor. Unfortunately for him, the stakes were highest on the one time we witnessed things not go his way.
Another point in his defense? His rash actions were out of complete and utter love for another. Sure, he made a hasty and unwise decision, but it was fueled by his care for Gamora, the first person whom he's truly loved since his mother passed two decades earlier.
You could argue that his act of love came at the cost of billions of lives, which might turn out to be true. However, the idea of what love means to a character, and what that love can cost, are two of the biggest underlying themes throughout Infinity War. We saw Thanos' idea of love in his past with Gamora. While he's still a sadistic and murderous sociopath, he believed that his actions were out of love. In the end, his misunderstanding of how to love came around to bite him.
The same thing happened with Tony Stark. Think about his conversation with Pepper on the phone, as well as their story throughout the Iron Man series. Tony is a fixer and a protector. His idea of love is going into space and saving the world, despite the personal sacrifice he's making by leaving Pepper behind. But she doesn't see it that way. Tony being the hero isn't how she perceives love, whether we think that's right or not. At the end, Tony's plan ultimately failed, the closest thing he has to a son is taken from him, and Pepper is on Earth, completely alone, who knows if she lived or died. Tony wanted to show love by sacrificing himself, but he was the only one who wasn't given that opportunity.22comments
Infinity War was meant to show that love has consequences, especially when you don't think about what love means to someone else. Whether we agree with it or not, Peter's decision was made out of nothing but love, and that doesn't make him the bad guy. It doesn't make him a jerk.
That makes Peter human.