It’s been six years since the first Wreck-It Ralph hit theaters in November 2012, but we finally now have the long-awaited sequel. In my opinion, the original film is one of my favorites made by Disney. It’s packed with great characters, humor, and tons of heart. That being said, clearly my expectations for this follow-up were rather high. While not as great as its predecessor, this film still has tons to offer through beautiful animation, a sharp and witty script, and a message that resonates for people of all ages.
For me, the wide majority of this film works. To start off, the animation is top notch. The details of the characters’ outfits right down to the movie’s depiction of the Internet are all spot on. The main characters from the first film are excellent, evolving through their introductions in the first film. The vocal performances, particularly of John C. Reilly as Ralph and Sarah Silverman as Vanellope respectively, evoke a sense of humanity and bring more realism into the film. Reilly in particular embodies Ralph, nailing each moment of humor and heart in what I consider to be one of the best animated vocal performances. And on top of both the animation and voice work giving their all to this film, the story and heart of the movie elevate it to a whole other level. Behind this film’s curtain of the Internet and Disney product placement stands the heart of this movie, which is the friendship between Vanellope and Ralph. Directors Rich Moore and Phil Johnston never lose sight of this idea. I believe Ralph Breaks the Internet to be one of the most sophisticated animated films of recent times, likely since Zootopia in 2016. Whereas that film channeled ideas of class and prejudice within society, Moore and Johnston explore the workings of relationships and insecurities, in particular the toxicity that some can reach. Once this film reaches its climax, you feel for both Ralph and Vanellope and are likely to relate to one, if not both.
While I did find this movie to be pretty spectacular, there are some minor issues that take this sequel away from topping the original. One of my favorite aspects of the first film were the characters of Fix-It-Felix Jr. and Sgt. Calhoun. While both are present in this movie, their roles are extremely small, and left me wondering what more 30 Rock’s excellent Jack McBrayer and Glee’s Jane Lynch could have brought to the table in this sequel. That being said, this is a very minor gripe, as the story really is all about Ralph and Vanellope. Aside from that, some of the new characters, such as Yesss voiced by Taraji P. Henson and Shank voiced by Gal Gadot, fail to leave much of a mark, even if both characters are central to the film’s message.
Overall, Ralph Breaks the Internet is an extremely fun and heartfelt film that many are sure to enjoy.