Marcelo in the Real World shows us how money brings both power and corruption. Sandoval and Holmes attain their power (and their riches) by behaving like giant bullies, and Jasmine tells Marcelo that people hire them because they're the best at being mean and ruthless. But the money comes with a big karmic invoice—they have to look the other way when really bad things happen to people like Ixtel. Wendell's totally cool with it, because hey, mo' money, mo' yachts. Marcelo, on the other hand? Not so much. And when he learns how his dad pays for Paterson, suddenly going back there doesn't seem nearly as important as helping someone who's hurting.
Wendell has been so corrupted by power and greed that he's willing to basically rape women.
Once he learns about Arturo's cheating, Marcelo has a kind of power over his mother, but he chooses not to use it so as not to hurt her. What can we say? He's a nice guy.