Ralph Breaks the Internet is the long awaited sequel to the Disney animated hit Wreck-It Ralph. The original was any gamer’s dream movie, referencing classic video games, showcasing old-school arcade culture, and having video game characters from opposite ends of the industry interact on-screen. Not only was it fun for gamers, but it was an overall amazing movie because of how it blends well-written characters, tremendous humor, great story, and a heartfelt lesson about accepting yourself for who you are regardless of what others label you as. I absolutely loved the first movie and have been impatiently waiting for more Ralph. Now that the sequel has finally graced the silver screen and Ralph has broken the Internet, let’s take a look at whether Ralph Breaks the Internet should go viral or is destined for the recycle bin.
One of my favorite things about both movie is the characters. Ralph and Vanellope’s friendship, banter, and name calling is just as entertaining in the sequel as it is in the original. Honestly, the two can be put in front of an empty background with have nothing going on around them, and their interactions would still be fun to watch. During their trip through the Internet, Ralph and Vanellope meet several new characters like KnowsMore, Shank, Yesss, and J.P. Spamley. Each of the new characters are interesting, hilarious, and are welcome additions to the world of Wreck-It Ralph. The other original characters who make their return, like Fix-It Felix and Calhoun, are enjoyable to see again despite them not being as present.
The humor offers genuine laughs throughout the film. It’s not just funny for kids. Everyone can get a chuckle out of this movie. The humor is a mix between slapstick and highbrow, yet it never feels out of place.
There is a very real and important message in Ralph Breaks the Internet about toxicity on the Internet and how it affects those who experience it. I’m beyond happy to see this message in a movie to fit something that most modern children either have or will experience. We see bullying in comment sections and how much it can hurt others. We also see how letting out our own insecurities in the wrong ways online can be harmful to others. It’s a great message necessary for the age of the Internet, and I’m glad we get to see both sides of the issue.
With the advertising pushing the fact that the movie is about the Internet, I was worried that we’d be leaving the video game fun from the first film behind. However, I was pleasantly surprised to see them finding ways to bring Ralph’s video game heritage and other gaming themes into it to remain in the world of the first movie. There were great jokes about online gaming (something we didn’t get to see in the original), online usernames, phone games, and nostalgia for classic games.
Both Ralph’s and Vanellope’s strengths are showcased well and each have a scene in which they stand out. We see Ralphs’ tremendous strength and ability to break anything. Vanellope’s driving skills are shown off in one of the most intense scenes in the “Slaughter Race” online game.
It was heavily advertised that every Disney princess would make an appearance. I can confidently say that they were awesome. The humor with the princesses is especially great. They poke fun at many Disney cliches and at each other. We also get to see them use their princess abilities in action, like Snow White singing to summon animals or Merida using her archery. This was so fun to watch that it made me wish there was an Avengers-like Disney Princess action movie that focused on this the entire time.
Ralph Breaks the Internet is an extremely unfocused movie. It starts out being about Ralph and Vanellope leaving their arcade to explore the Internet for a part they need to fix Vanellope’s game. Then the plot shifts to them finding ways to make money online, then to Vanellope wanting her life to be different, then to stopping a virus. The Disney website they visit was the clear reason why this movie was even made. The stormtroopers and princesses completely steal the scene and interrupt the plot.
On one hand, I like that they used a lot of callbacks to the video game theme. On the other, it makes it seem like the writers were confused about what they wanted. It’s like the movie wants to be an Internet movie, but also just wants to be a video game movie, and it jumps around a lot as a result. I personally feel, and wish, that Disney made an entirely separate movie about the Internet. They could have just used these Internet-based characters and theme from this and have a successful film. This would also free up the Wreck-It Ralph sequels to be about the video game world they already established, like trying to save the arcade from closing or a new game is added that introduces a new villain who wants to be the only game that’s played.
Ralph and Vanellope are great in this film. However, when it comes to the other familiar faces from the original, they really get the short end of the stick. Felix, Calhoun, Taffyta, and the rest all feel like an afterthought. It feels like the script was written and then the writers thought “oh yeah, we have other characters to throw in here,” and put them in whatever throwaway scene they could. They do set up an interesting subplot with them, but they never really revisit it, making it feel pointless.
The main conflict of this movie is that Vanellope needs to find the replacement part for her game so she doesn’t lose her home in the arcade. However, she later decides she has been wanting her life to be different and no longer wants to live in the arcade. This makes the first half of the movie seem almost pointless. At the end, she decides to live in the Internet and leave her arcade life behind. I like that they show friends living apart and still being able to be a part of each other’s lives, but this creates a bit of an issue. The kids in the arcade always want to play as Vanellope in “Sugar Crush.” If she’s gone, they can’t play as their favorite character. Won’t they question why the game is now different?
The rules of Wreck-It Ralph dictate that a glitch cannot leave their game. At the end of the first movie, her game is rewritten when she crosses the finish line of the racetrack. However, she still glitches. Ralph even points out that all the kids love playing as Vanellope because of her glitch powers and that Vanellope has accepted herself as a glitch. Even though her game’s code was rewritten, she still glitches. In Ralph Breaks the Internet, she’s a glitch, but she’s able to leave her game with no issue. It’s never explained, and they never even bring it up. It’s just accepted. How is she able to be a glitch and leave her game? It breaks the rules that the first movie established.
Not only do all of the Disney princesses appear in the movie, but they are all played by their original voice actors. For the few actors who are no longer with us, the voice actors used for the toys, commercials, and other appearances of the character are used. Disney probably could have had anyone voice the princesses, but they went the extra mile to get the proper actors, even if they haven’t played them in decades. It was definitely a nice touch and made the characters feel more authentic.
Ralph Breaks the Internet has a mid-credits scene and a post-credits scene. Neither are important for the plot, but both are certainly worth watching. The mid-credits scene features Ralph feeding pancakes to the rabbit as seen in the trailer. It’s preluded by a little girl in the backseat of a car talking to her mother about how “the scene from the trailer wasn’t in the movie.” This was a hilarious way to play with viewers’ expectations and even poke fun at them a bit. The filmmakers knew their audience would say the exact same thing right before this (I’m one of them). The end-credits scene is one of the best trolls in movie history. After having the audience wait through all of the credits, there’s a tease of a look at Frozen 2, but it’s actually a Rick-roll featuring Ralph as Rick Astley. Nowadays, because of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we all wait until after the credits expecting one last sliver of movie. This scene took advantage of that fact to mess with the audience, and it was perfect.
The end credits feature an original song by Imagine Dragons titled “Zero.” This song fits the movie perfectly. It expresses what it’s like to look down on one’s self and overcome that depression. Not only does it match what Ralph feels, but it’s something that a lot of the audience can identify with.
Ralph Breaks the Internet is a cute, hilarious, and fun movie with a powerful message. However, it’s unfocused, breaks rules that are established by the first movie, and shoehorn in characters and elements just because they were in the previous film. This could have been three completely different, yet better, movies: one about characters on the Internet like Knowsmore and Yesss, one that’s a proper sequel to Wreck-It Ralph, and one that’s an Avengers style team-up with the Disney Princesses. Ralph Breaks the Internet may not be the best possible sequel to what I think is an especially great animated movie, but it’s harmless. It’s enjoyable to see what the characters have been up to, see more of their shenanigans, and see how they act when they are out of their element. It also contains some big laughs.