Guardian On Trial: Was Infinity War's Tragic Ending Really Star-Lord's Fault?
Let's look at the facts.
Warning: Major SPOILERS for Avengers: Infinity War
MCU fans have been left heartbroken by the ending of Avengers: Infinity War, with a slew of much-loved characters apparently erased from existence.
Many are placing the blame for this on one man: Peter Quill, AKA Star-Lord.
Why is it Star-Lord's fault?
While on Thanos' home planet with Iron Man, Doctor Strange, Spider-Man, and fellow Guardians Drax and Mantis (and later, Nebula), Star-Lord concocts a plan to remove the Infinity Gauntlet from the Mad Titan.
Unfortunately, it was Peter Quill himself who caused the plan to fail.
Overwhelmed with grief upon learning that Thanos had killed Gamora, Quill attacked Thanos just seconds before the other heroes would have successfully removed the Gauntlet from him.
Thanos then went on to obtain the remaining Infinity Stones, and erase half of all life in the Marvel Universe.
So, all Star-Lord's fault, right?
Well...he was not the only hero present during this sequence.
Let's look at who else was there, and how they contributed to the near success/failure of the plan to remove the gauntlet.
In an earlier scene, we saw Tony trying to form his own plan to take on Thanos, before obviously going with Star-Lord's off screen.
At the critical moment during the plan, Tony is seen trying to help Spider-Man wrestle the the Infinity Gauntlet from Thanos' hand.
However, he stops to try and talk Star-Lord down from his grief. If Iron Man had instead channelled his energies into continuing to help Spidey, they may have been able to get the Gauntlet off before everything went to hell.
Of all the heroes involved in the Gauntlet removal plan, Spider-Man probably contributed the most.
He also came closest to succeeding with it.
None of the blame for this failure can be placed on poor Peter Parker.
Our friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man was simply a victim of the chaos caused by other's mistakes.
Mantis, with her sleep inducing abilities, was the lynch pin of the plan. In fact, it was probably Star-Lord's knowledge of Mantis's powers that made his plan better than anything Stark could have come up with.
Mantis plays her part as well as can be expected dealing with someone as powerful as Thanos.
Without her, the team on Titan would not have come nearly as close to success. Mantis, like Peter, was a victim of other's mistakes.
Drax the Destroyer's role in Quill's plan mostly involved holding Thanos still long enough for Mantis to put him to sleep.
He continued to hold Thanos' leg while Spider-Man and Iron Man tried to remove the Infinity Gauntlet from him.
Doctor Strange also contributed to holding Thanos still. Once the Mad Titan was asleep, Drax may have had a brief window in which he could have let go of Thanos's leg long enough to go help the others remove the Gauntlet.
That, however, is a very big "maybe." As far as the actual plan went, Drax did exactly what was needed.
Doctor Strange was against ever going to Titan in the first place, due to his need to protect the Time Stone. However, he eventually gives in to Tony Stark's wishes.
Strange is vital to Star-Lord's plan, using his sorcery to both hold Thanos and create multiple portals, one of which allows Mantis to drop perfectly into position on Thanos' shoulders.
He did little to try and talk Quill down when things started to go South—but maybe he wasn't supposed to.
Nebula, adopted daughter of Thanos and sister of Gamora, makes her customary crash into the midst of the battle.
Unfortunately, she contributes little towards any victory for the Avenger/Guardians combo.
If anyone shares the blame for the plan's failure, it is Nebula. She is the one who prompts Thanos to reveal his murder of Gamora, which in turn sets off the grief-fueled attack from Star-Lord that scuppers the plan.
She also fails to assist Stark and Peter Parker in removing the Infinity Gauntlet, though it was clear what they were trying to do.
So...is Infinity War's ending Star-Lord's fault?
No. At least not entirely.
It's not Nebula's fault either, though she certainly didn't help.
Continuing to search for a single character to blame for the tragedy of Infinity War could lead us back through a decade's worth of films.
Nobody has time for that much arguing.
We must trust in the words of Doctor Strange:
"It was the only way."
Everything in the film happened exactly as it was meant to, to lead to a one in fourteen million chance at victory.
For what exactly that means, and how it will unfold, we will have to wait until Avengers 4 hits Theatres in 2019.