The first Tron was, for-better-or-for-worse a product of its cold-war paranoia time. Yes, it was fused with (what was at the time) ground-breaking technology and featured a storyline about computers, but Neil Flynn's adventure into the webverse was littered with metaphors for communism throughout.
Now, there are no metaphors for the war on terror or other pressing foreign conflicts in Tron Legacy, but it does take on one issue: addiction to technology. "You can be a slave to your preferences" and the film makes that point abundantly clear. Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) was a man who used his technological prowess to create some of the most superior videogames around. Now, he is a monk in a world that refuses to let him leave.
Years ago Neil Flynn, alongside Tron managed to save the webverse. Clu (also Jeff Bridges), was created to manage the grid and keep peace. However what happens instead is a betrayal most intimate. Flynn's creation holds Flynn hostage and sets the world in tyranny. Kevin's son, Sam (Garrett Hedlund) is left empty and orphaned by his father's disappearance more than twenty years ago. Upon receiving a message from his father's old arcade Sam goes to investigate. The apple proves not to fall far from the tree and both Flynns end up entrapped inside the grid. With the assistance of Quorra (Olivia Wilde), Sam tries to escape the grid before they are enslaved.
The world of Tron is a spectacular one, it is almost as if Earth were designed by Apple. Joseph Kosinski takes the framework of Tron and expands on it making it his own. Each facet of Legacy completely revamps and improves on the designs of the original. Landscapes, vehicles, even the weapons, all have advanced far past what Kevin could have ever foreseen, to a dangerous effect. The soundtrack meshes seamlessly with what is happening onscreen and many thanks for Joseph Kosinski having the wisdom to choose Daft Punk for the project. A better match could not be had.
Jeff Bridges is unquestionably the star of the picture despite Sam getting the most screentime. Kevin Flynn is the soul of Tron Legacy and every time Bridges is onscreen that fact is abundantly clear. Hedlund and Wilde don't really make a huge impression, but that is due to the fault of questionable dialogue.
Not since Avatar, has 3D been featured so prominently in a picture. For my money full-immersion is the only way to go and nothing else will substitute. This may be nothing more than a popcorn thriller, but in a year woefully low on excitement in the theatre outside of Inception, that is a wonder in itself.