Ralph Breaks the Internet (2018)

Ralph Breaks the Internet (2018) Cover

A sequel to the intensely refreshing Wreck it Ralph, Ralph Breaks the Internet is as emotionally complex and entertaining as you can get while still being a complete mess. I was tickled at the same time as I was disappointed. The jokes land while the emotional needs of the cast of characters resonate with important issues, but the plot is convoluted and just can’t hold it together.

The problems with the plot start early on with the core character motivations. Ralph Breaks the Internet has a few major themes: personal growth as you need to enjoy new things, remembering what’s special and important from your previous life as you move forward, struggling with your own value, and accepting the changes that people close to you go through. That’s a LOT to pack into a film, and maybe it could have been done well, but Ralph’s new adventure comes with a bunch more things to pack in: endless Disney branding, Star Wars, Twitter, Facebook, eBay, Youtube, references, references, and more references.

While they were busy weighing down the film with complex themes and constant references, the writing team, unfortunately, seems to have forgotten to adhere to the themes of the original. Lessons and ideas from Wreck it Ralph are casually disregarded for the character needs in this film. Even core ideas from Wreck it Ralph, such as “Going Turbo” (the primary plot point from that film), are discarded casually.

All of this results in what you might expect… a narrative that moves with the power of attention deficit disorder from one objective to the next as it morphs and evolves constantly over its runtime. Ralph Breaks the Internet shifts unrecognizeably between each and every 5-minute interval. It’s almost impressive.

Ralph Breaks the Internet impressively manages to still feel somewhat cohesive until the end when it hits a wall where the writing just can’t resolve the conflicting themes within itself. Sarah Silverman’s Vanellope von Schweetz struggles with needing to solve her own problems, while Ralph remains the protagonist and is additionally positioned in a way where thematically he needs to be the one to solve the problems as they are primarily his own. This paradoxical results in no one really being able to feel like the lead as everything breaks down at once.

This sounds overly negative, so I really have to emphasize here, Ralph Breaks the Internet is FUN. The jokes land, the characters are playful, the music is upbeat and breezy, and even the gag bits like the one with the Disney Princesses are playfully energetic. Most of what is wrong here will only linger on the back of your mind as you feel a vague sense that it all just isn’t working.

Honestly, you’re really likely to enjoy Ralph Breaks the Internet. It’s outright fun while being easily the most entertaining show in November. I feel bad talking so much about what doesn’t work, but these are the types of things I just haven’t been able to stop thinking about since the credits rolled. It’s the sort of Jurassic World bad where it feels good but then the food poisoning just sits with you for days or weeks afterword unless you’re able to just put the entire thing out of your mind because it wasn’t important to you at all.

And that’s the real tragedy because it should be important. Ralph Breaks the Internet tries to tackle some hard subject matter. It just does it poorly. This movie has interesting things to say, but it just does so poorly enough that none of them work.

I’m not going to be that guy who says to avoid a film because of that. If you liked the first one and want more then turn your brain off and just enjoy the movie. Sure, you deserve better, but sometimes you get what you get. This one came close to being great, and it tried so very hard.

Final Verdict:A fun movie if you can turn your brain off and just not think about it too much.
Rating:B