There’s a distinction in law between malum prohibitum and malum in se, or rather, between what is considered unlawful and what is considered evil. In a Western, you don’t have to worry about the difference. A son-of-a-bitch has it coming, whether it’s malum or not to kill him. Western lawmen are vindictive. They serve out justice. They do not enforce statutes. When a man kills a little girl’s father; it doesn’t matter why he did it, or what socio-economic forces led his morals to corrode. That son-of-a-bitch is going to get his just desserts. Never mind the moral quandary of “an eye for an eye”. In True Grit, the hero only has one eye; the better to see malum in se, the better to look at the world through a gun-sight.
Women are wary of this movie. One-syllable titles invariably invoke mistrust in girls. Tron – a word that sounds like a laser gun firing – sounds boyish, and boring, if you don’t have balls. The intestinal appeal of the “light-bike”, so central to Tron’s allure, is lost if you don’t instinctively make a “dewww-hrrrr” noise as you imagine it… if your inner-small boy doesn’t yearn to drive in perfectly straight lines, peeling off strips of colour like an outlaw tape dispenser. Tron’s world seems facile and nonsensical to girls. It’s a world dreamt up by boys, for boys, where the twin priorities are fighting and racing. Even the colour scheme is masculine: black and blue and heat-seeking red.
No room for ovaries here.
This movie is a love letter to blowing things up. It’s not unusual that way. American movies are mostly about explosions. Think of Bruce Willis in Die Hard 4, taking out a helicopter with a car (because he was “out of bullets”). Iron Man has a lot of that spirit; that hell yeah!-enthusiasm when it comes to guns. It’s a fun movie that wants to say no to war, but finds itself led astray by bright lights and loud noises. Robert Downey Jr (playing Iron Man wryly) is like a lot of us in his response to the movie’s jingoistic bombast, figuring irony makes him less culpable. Like a lot of us, he winds up enjoying the explosions. It’s hard to be ethical when you’re a vigilante robot.