Images are placed on the baseline by default which is the same place that text is aligned and the space under the image would be the space where descenders are placed. If you want to collapse that space then either set image to display:block or set its vertical-align:to middle instead of baseline (the default).
Not quite sure what effect you want here?
The stars seem vertically aligned nicely and you could simply move the stars columns using a margin-left as required. Or you could add
justify-content:space-between to .container to spread out on the line.
It all depends what you want it to look like so I can't really guess at that