In the aftermath of Avengers: Infinity War, a few characters rose to the ranks of MVPs. Although some of those characters differ between fans and viewers alike (Doctor Strange, Stark, and Thor all seem to top the list, with Drax also popping up for his truly comedic performance) there was also a bit of fallout when it came to one particular character, Chris Pratt’s Peter Quill aka Star-Lord.
A quick refresher on just why fans are a little miffed with Quill right now. While on Thanos’s home planet of Titan, Stark, Strange and Spidey, who’ve come to kill the Mad Titan, meet Star-Lord, Drax and Mantis, who have come to rescue Gamora, who was kidnapped by her adopted-father to seek out the soul stone (they finally find it being guarded over by a once-thought-dead Red Skull on Vomir). After a small scrap, the gangs team up to take on Grimace, er…Thanos. Turns out the plan looks to be working, as the newly-assembled team display quick-thinking and precise planning to get the gauntlet. That is until Quill can’t control himself when he finds out Gamora is “dead” and has a lapse moment of utter anger and frustration, thus leading to the annihilation of half of the population of the universe. Over-simplification? Not really, but let’s get into some of the public outrage that’s since surrounded the event.
All signs point to Quill essentially being responsible for sabotaging the plan on Titan, and causing all of those needless deaths, including all of the members of the Guardians of the Galaxy except for Rocket and Nebula. Now, a few think pieces and articles have popped up discussing Quill’s fallout, along with the memes that followed. Chris Pratt himself used Instagram Stories to post these special five messages to fans, which read “I know you mad at Starlord because of what happened in the end. Well, I guess I’ll just go and… F myself” – this statement was then accompanied by a lewd image of two Star-Lord toys in a compromising position.
Over at Nerdist, a piece titled “The Real Villain Of Avengers: Infinity War Is Star-Lord” spearheaded the discussion. And while the title might be a little hyperbolic, it touches on just how big the outrage many fans have for Quill’s moment of frustration, which basically ended half of the universe’s existence. As pointed out in one part of the article:
“When Quill learned that Thanos had killed Gamora, he was understandably devastated. As we’ve seen time and time again, Quill has never been particularly adept at dealing with his emotions in a healthy manner. It’s part of a pattern of ego-driven toxic masculinity that the Marvel Cinematic Universe puts on display in many of its prominent heroes. And at that moment, Peter Quill made a choice. He made a choice not to be a hero, but to be selfish. To make himself feel better by unleashing his unbridled rage. And in doing so, he didn’t bring Gamora back. But he did kill Drax. And Mantis. And Groot. And countless others. Peter Quill didn’t pull the trigger, but he may as well have. And he’s going to have to come to terms with that if and when he shuffles back on to this mortal coil.”
The Nerdist article’s title was almost certainly chosen as a way to drive-up clicks (it’s how the Internet works). It also doesn’t help that Thanos rose to the occasion himself, feelin like a fully-developed character in the span of one movie. Much of that is due to Josh Brolin’s performance as The Mad Titan. He turns in a truly lived-in, mo-cap produced, comic book movie villain performance of the highest order: he makes us believe what he’s doing is justified – at least in his own mind. The best villains often never see their actions as evil or maniacal. Avengers: Infinity War‘s screenwriters coupled with the Russos direction, and Brolin’s performance cumulatively created a surprising relevance and even sympathy for the character of Thanos.
Here’s where it gets tricky. Quill’s actions seem a little one-sided when you consider how much screen time was dedicated to making you even sympathize with a character whose intentions are quite literally the genocide of half of the universe.
Since then, a slew of memes which range from humorous to downright hilarious (and even a little mean), have since popped up too. It’s fair for fans to not be happy with a character’s actions but to surmise that Quill’s very human, in-the-moment; ill-advised burst of emotion is worse than a character that basically causes universal genocide on a scale unfathomable is leaning hard into exaggeration.
Sorry Star Lord pic.twitter.com/m5hkIfSbG0
— Anne. (@___ANN3___) April 30, 2018
watching spider man and iron man almost get the infinity gauntlet off thanos’ meaty ass hand and starlord going bonkers pic.twitter.com/cPJ3A0qjYr
— ◢◤ ◢◤ ◢◤ (@TRINlTYx) May 3, 2018
In the end, chances are Quill’s action will have repercussions that will be felt not only through Avengers 4, but Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3 (which Pratt inadvertently revealed starts filming very soon, via a Happy Birthday message to Mantis actress Pom Klementieff), it brings with it a great sense of conflict and even character development. Quill screwed up, sure…big time, but his action in comparison to the Mad Titan’s is absolutely ridiculous. Quill is one of several characters in the MCU that happen to talk out their ass with an ego the size of that moon Thanos pulls down on Stark, but he acted out of pure emotion, for the love of another. which in retrospect led to a lapse in judgment. This display is something inherently human.
Fans continue to debate his actions, and because of Star-Lord acting on his emotions, half of all existence in the universe (including him) vanishes. It’s obvious that the events of Avengers: Infinity War will face some sort of reversal of fortune (Black Panther 2 is in the pipeline along with the officially announced sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming, too). These properties are cash cows for both Marvel and Disney, and while many of the actors and actresses are winding down on their contractual obligations, we’re likely to see Star-Lord and the Guardians back in action very soon, but expect them to also be changed for the better and worse.
Images: Marvel, Disney, Instagram (Chris Pratt), LadBible