I feel like Sin City was told in an order that gradually helped you get your sense of appropriateness (?) back.
Because, we start off with Marv, who is a frankenstein ish killing machine, without the desperate need for attention. And we watch him go on a ridiculous killing spree for a third of the film. Gangsters, psychopathic murders, priests, he doesn’t give a fuck. He’ll kill anyone… but women. And he does it in some truly fucked up way. Letting dudes bleed out, dismembering them and keeping them alive with rubber tourniquets then letting their dog eat them alive, dragging their faces along the asphalt from a speeding car, torturing them with his bare hands and a big ass knife. And, throughout the entire thing, you’re sitting there like Wendy going, “Kill ‘em good Marv.” Because, they’re not good people, and you don’t see their lives as a loss. The only characters he’s shown to care for are the women featured in his arc; Goldie, Lucille, Nancy, and Wendy. So, you’re like, yeah Marv is an extremely violent, murdering, psychopath who at this point hasn’t taken his meds in about five days, but he doesn’t hurt women, so whatever. You watch his entire story without feeling any pity for any of the people he’s brutally murdering, if anything, you enjoy it. And, when he finally dies, and it takes two shocks from the chair just to do the damn thing, you sit there like, “Fuck, Marv was a fucking bad ass.”
Dwight’s story introduces a bit of a moral/chivalrous (?) dynamic. He’s still morally not all the way there. Shellie’s just his side chick and he lets her think it’s more than what it is. He’s killed people and doesn’t mind doing it again. He’s done enough fucked up shit to warrant him needing a new face just to come back to Basin City. He genuinely cares for the girls in Old Town and he’s in love Gail. His whole story revolves around him making sure they’re safe. All the people he kills are because he cares about them. You’re reminded of that constantly throughout either through his internal monologue or from things like the fact that he knows all of their names. When they die or are injured he mentions them by name. Which, let’s be honest, is not something most guys would prioritize in a city of prostitutes. And, they all like him. They don’t have any problems with him pretty much taking control of the reigns because they trust him enough to know that he doesn’t have any ulterior motive. So, you get this sense that Dwight is that “bad guy with a heart” character. Because, he’s still a bad man, he kills and he enjoys it. But, you get more of a emotional vibe from him than you did from Marv. At the end of Dwight’s story you pretty much look at him like the conquering hero, he killed a bunch of guys and got the girl, and he’s kind of a good guy right?
Hartigan is the good guy. Everything he does, he does for Nancy, she’s the reason he’s even still alive. He didn’t end his life because he wanted to stay alive as soon as possible to see that she was safe. Even when she’s an adult and is in love, or at least very deeply infatuated, with him he still brushes her off. Not because he doesn’t love her, but because he’s an old man and she deserves someone who can grow with her and he’s a walking target who will always bring trouble. You cheer him on because he’s doing the right thing to do the right thing. He doesn’t enjoy killing or fighting, he just wants to keep people safe. He’s the nice guy. And, when Rourke Jr. finally gets his junk blown off, again, and killed, you can’t fault him or Nancy one bit. Even when he lies to her and tells her he’ll catch up to her, and his ending monologue begins, and you know he’s about to kill himself, you still can’t fault him. He’s like the old dog that will still fight the bear off to give you a two minute head start. Once his body hits the ground you really kind of sit there for a second like, “Fuck, he didn’t deserve that, he was a good guy,” and you kind of admire him for the right reasons.
And, that’s how the movie brings you back around and makes sure you don’t leave with that same depraved mindset of “well fuck it the motherfucker’s killing people and not giving a fuck but I don’t care” mindset you had at the end of Marv’s story.