The board room scene doesn't even attempt to hide its criticism of current software design and business practices. Also ironic that this is in a Disney film, given the stance the company generally takes towards copyright infringement.
Alan Bradley: Given the prices we're charging to students and schools, what improvements have been made in Flynn...er, I mean, Encom OS 12? (beat) CEO: (who has no real idea) This year we put a "12" on the box.
Award Snub: Despite getting critical and audience-based praise for its Visual Effects and Soundtrack, neither of these things were nominated for the Academy Awards. Instead, it got nominated for Best Sound Editing... Just carrying on the proud TRON tradition; the first film didn't get nominated for Best Visual Effects due to the Academy thinking that using CGI was "cheating", despite nearly every modern movie getting nominated uses it.
Awesome Music: One thing everyone agrees upon including the critics, is that thescore by Daft Punkisindeedawesome. When Sam first goes to the arcade and switches on the power, Journey's "Separate Ways" starts blaring over the sound system. The song REALLY powers the sense of '80s nostalgia in the sequence. Followed by Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams", which powers a sense of foreboding as Sam checks out Kevin's secret lab.... Kaskade's remix of Rinzler is utter bliss.
Badass Decay: Kevin Flynn is less proactive in this film than he was in the first one, instead withdrawing himself from the Grid because of his inability to defeat CLU. To paraphrase Dilbert, he's actively waiting for change, which happens when Sam arrives. Once he does, the old Kevin Flynn begins to reemerge.
Base-Breaking Character: Kevin Flynn's moral compass or possible lack thereof is a hot topic of debate, depending on what fan board you head to. Tron Sector's fanbase is more inclined to see him as a well-intentioned, benevolent figure unjustly exiled and imprisoned. Fans on Tumblr's Tron section lean more toward a darker view, to the point of arguing he was a high-functioning sociopath enamored of virtual godhood. As Legacy was written by Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis, any interpretation on the spectrum is possible.
Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: Every "pure" AI character wants to kill the heroes in a painful and messy fashion. Expanded Universe material points to plenty of self-serving spin in Flynn's official story. 2/3 of the named characters are dead or de-rezzed, most of the other third have dim survival odds, probably wish they were dead, or both. The Grid is a Wretched Hive. It's arguable that Only the Leads Get a Happy Ending, but even that is under debate as Sam trudges off to a corporate job where it's clear that everyone sees him as a proxy for his father and Quorra has no analog world skills or identity. This lead to a backlash on Tumblr when Kosinski said that the planned sequel would go even moreDarker and Edgier.
Ensemble Dark Horse: Castor/Zuse is almost always considered one of the most well-liked characters in the movie. This derives from him being a Large Ham making the most of his limited screen time.
Even Better Sequel: Tron is considered an impressive film despite the cheesy visuals, which could be forgiven considering the year it was made. Tron: Legacy? Better visuals, Darker and Edgier storyline, and Daft Punk for music? Well you got yourself an impressive sequel.
Flynn's Jedi-like robes, demeanor, and decision to self-exile while his corrupt apprentice lays waste to everything in range and his allies are left to struggle alone. Luke Skywalker was apparently taking notes. Alan and Lora apparently turned out a little better than Han and Leia, though.
In TRON: Uprising, Tron says he'd rather die than be the puppet of a tyrant. At the time, it was awesome, if terrifying given the context. Come Legacy, and he has become Rinzler. It goes back even farther, to the first film; Remember Sark's taunt "You should have joined me! We'd have made a great team!" - yeah, Rinzler serves the same position for Clu that Sark did for Master Control.
The entire first film can fall into this; just watch it after you've seen Legacy, realizing the Power Trio will fall apart with Alan left to soldier on alone (in either timeline), that the cheerful smartass of a protagonist will end up a broken ruin in the Outlands with his proverbial tail tucked between his legs, the Dork Knight title character will become so twisted by the point TRON: Uprising that he can barely spit out that he considers his apprentice a friend to say nothing of his fate as "Rinzler", and that the survival odds on Yori are very dim.
Jerkass Woobie: CLU, dear god CLU. Yes, he became a dictator of the Grid, yes wiped out the ISOs, and yes he reconfigured Tron's programming to become Rizler, but when you really think about it, the guy was following the programming Kevin instilled in him. Since Kevin instilled the idea of "creating the perfect system", Clu simply thought he was following that idea. Obviously that doesn't excuse his actions, but when you get down to it, he was just doing what he was programmed to do. Makes you think Clu is more of HAL 9000, than anything.
Moral Event Horizon: Clu is a dog-kicking program who takes pleasure in viewing and participating in games to derezz citizens in Tron City. It's not a question of if CLU crosses the line, but when. Here are some milestones:
Stealing Tron's light jet and leaving Tron to die in the Sea of Simulation after Tron refuses to shoot down the Flynns and crashed his jet into Clu's. Needless to say, much of the fanbase turned against Clu after seeing that.
And even before all of that, the genocide of the ISOs. Since he viewed the ISOs as an imperfection (as well as threatening his ability to create a perfect system, which is exactly what he was made to do), he purposely reprograms an ISO into a virus to infect and derezz ISOs in Evolution. This was not just used as a distraction for Flynn while he takes over the Grid, it was also used as an excuse to turn the Basics against the ISO population.
Turning the Games lethal, when Flynn explicitly made the Games non-lethal, which just seemed to be a dick move to punish Programs that annoyed him (and/or piss off Tron).
Narm: "KEVIN FLYNN! WHERE ARE YOU NOW?" It's the needless insertion of the word now that really drives this narm home. The fact that his CGI face looks especially plastic in this shot certainly doesn't help matters.
Speaking of which, the younger Kevin Flynn's plastic face in the beginning provided some unintentional comedy.
Kevin Flynn's line in the flashbacks: "It is our DESTINY!" It sounded like he was going to tear his mask off and start eating the crowd.
Sam Flynn looks like he's having an orgasm while he's firing those turrets during the dogfight scene. Unintentional Hilarity Ensues.
"Oh man, I'm all over this."
"Biodigital jazz, man." That is all.
Also when he laughs while describing the ISO-s, Kevin Flynn sounds like he's choking.
Castor/ Zuse's dance moves during the battle scene in his own club. Many viewers couldn't take the intense battle scene, let alone Michael Sheen, seriously because of this.
In the aftermath of the raid on the End Of Line club, in which some partygoers are brutally derezzed, we see a woman crying over some remains - pixel remains.
And for those of you who saw the trailers ad nauseam, Quorra's "Here they come."
CLU: FLYNN! Am I still to create the perfect system?!
Something about Bridges's delivery takes some of the gravity out of the ensuing fight.
Special Effects Failure: Sort of, with the deaging of Jeff Bridges and Bruce Boxleitner. The effect itself isn't actually that bad, and there's a few cases where it's pulled off quite well. Unfortunately, the rest of the time it's just off enough to teeter at the edge of the Uncanny Valley. On the other hand, the Uncanny Valley works perfectly for CLU himself, and adds to his menace.
Strangled by the Red String: Carefully averted. Since at the end of the movie, Quorra becomes flesh and blood in the real world, if her romantic interactions with Sam had been even a little more direct, a lot of viewers probably would have been left feeling like the whole thing was just a convenient plot device that would let the two of them passionately make some hybrid babies. Instead, they intentionally downplayed it, with it at most being a big Ship Tease. Which is actually a good thing, since the audience is actually left curious about what will happen next, instead of rolling their eyes at what could have otherwise been painfully obvious. Olivia Wilde said that this was done intentionally — she knew that the romance would ring false.
A frequent criticism of Legacy is that the questions of what makes the ISOs special and how Rinzler regained his identity as Tron are poorly developed.
The latter may suffer from Coconut Superpowers, because if the CGI model of Bruce Boxleitner's head had been detailed enough to be used in closeups, the scene where Rinzler says "I fight for the Users!" could have had much more impact by showing him taking off his helmet.
Who else thought the older lightcycle Kevin had was going to be in a chase scene? Like most things, this is lampshaded by The Editing Room.
Took the Bad Film Seriously: It isn't bad but it is a film Starring Special Effects with less of a story and acting emphasis. However, Olivia Wilde gives a rather touching Skilled, but Naïve portrayal of her character Quorra, who could have easily ended up just another Satellite Love Interest. Additionally, Jeff Bridges puts quite a lot of work into making CLU a menacing and interesting villain since the script doesn't give him much help, and he's believably weary but likable as Kevin Flynn. Finally, Bruce Boxleitner doesn't get to replay Alan for long, but he does quite a good job in his brief scenes.
The younger faces for Jeff Bridges and Bruce Boxleitner were both realistic-looking and moderately Conspicuous CGI. In Clu's case, this was evidently deliberate. The main problem arises because the digital younger faces use motion capture from the real actors' current faces... and neither Jeff Bridges nor Bruce Boxleitner's faces are shaped like that anymore. It's especially obvious when Clu will speak and his mouth will almost move beyond his thin cheeks.
Invoked by the Armory Sirens. They look sexy, and they certainly strut in a fashion that should be sexy... but in a very synchronized, vaguely robotic way, lacking the fluidity of typical human movement. This is hammered home when they walk backward.
Unintentionally Unsympathetic: As much of a monster and nasty piece of work Clu is? He's doing exactly what his creator designed him to do and may not even be capable of understanding just how terrible his actions were because Programs are not operating with the same moral parameters as a human. Flynn lost a lot of sympathy in the fanbase once they checked out the Expanded Universe; he is something of a jerk to his friends and family, taking their devotion for granted, lies to everyone (including his wife!) about what he's up to, blows off multiple warnings about The Grid's instability, the Program/Iso tensions, Clu's ambition, etc. His only appearance in TRON: Uprising being something of a Jackass User and not healing Dyson (which caused Dyson to be one of Clu's lieutenants during the coup). Top it off with deciding to self-imprison himself in the Outlands and devote everything to protecting Quorra while the Programs are left to Clu's dubious mercy, justifying it with a throwaway line about how resisting Clu would somehow make him "stronger" when Clu already has full run of The Grid.