There’s a moment in Avengers: Infinity War, just as a squadron of the Guardians cross paths with Iron Man and Spidey, when it looks certain that Thanos is trapped in a whirlwind of Strange illusions and Stark firepower.
It should have been the Mad Titan’s downfall, really, as our heroes were only seconds away from separating the Infinity Gauntlet from Thanos’ giant, purple hand and averting widespread destruction… were it not for Star-Lord’s callousness.
Blinded by his love (and grief) for Gamora, Peter Quill temporarily loses sight of the end goal, which buys Thanos just enough time to escape his predicament and regain control. So close, yet so far.
Indeed, Star-Lord’s blunder was met with intense criticism in the wake of Infinity War‘s release back in April, though while taking part in a spoiler special with Entertainment Tonight, co-director Joe Russo defended Chris Pratt’s swashbuckling hero as it’s these same character flaws that make him so compelling in the first place.
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. 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.
And it’s hard to argue with Joe Russo’s reasoning here. Much like all other characters in the MCU, Star-Lord is far from perfect, and spends much of the Guardians of the Galaxy saga seeking redemption and some form of salvation. So if nothing else, his giant blunder in the film is perfectly in tune with his character.