Ralph Breaks The Internet: Wreck It Ralph 2 - Review
Sequels are a tough business, and while a sequel to Wreck It Ralph felt inevitable due to the success of the first one, there was no word on it for some time. But then it happened, and Ralph Breaks The Internet became a great addition to the franchise.
There will be spoilers from here on out.
Looking at the previews, it looked like one big commercial for Disney, like The Lego Movie did for Lego. The Lego Movie is one of the best animated movies ever. While it was a commercial for Lego, it worked in-universe, and told a great story.
Ralph Breaks The Internet does the same thing, yet to a lesser extent. The message of male entitlement and how tools built by man can be used in negative ways is strongly felt all the way through. Some of the funnest moments of the movie comes from the Disney stuff too, like stormtroopers chasing Vanelope, Baby Groot answering questions, or Vanelope trying to cheer up Eeyore. Of course, there are the Disney Princesses, the highlight of the "Disney" gimmick. It is very difficult not to smile when their scenes come on, especially when they start making fun of themselves.
But unlike Lego sometimes, the message can get muddled amidst all of the other things going on. Ralph Breaks The Internet is crowded. Yet both Ralph and Vanelope still shine through it all. Things become a bit messy at the end of the second act into the beginning of the third act. Shave about 10 minutes off (which would understandably be hard because it would sacrifice some internet/Disney jokes), and the story becomes much tighter. Plus near the end, the steering wheel macguffin is completely forgotten about. It is what drives the entire plot the first half of the movie, then there is this shift, and it's never mentioned again. It would have been nice to see Litwak get it, with a thank you note for spending so much money on it!
The visuals here are stunning. The animation looked better than it did 6 years ago, and the way they made the internet a visual, tangible thing was genius. To walk into a room and tell someone to "draw the internet" would be a daunting task. I don't see them doing it any better than they did. I was truly in awe of how they decided to portray all the different aspects of what the internet has to offer.
The best new addition to the cast is Gal Gadot as Shank. If there is a 3rd Ralph movie, she will need to be an integral part. Sarah Silverman and John C. Reilly are wonderful as Vanelope and Ralph respectively. While both movies give both characters journeys, its hard to say whose movie this is. While it seems like Vanelope at first, Ralph also evolves a ton during. He goes from a paranoid, possessive male, to a true supporting friend. It is nice that the franchise gives both of them equal time. The title should include Vanelope's name. Maybe now that she is not in the arcade all the time, they can do a solo spinoff with her.
As noted above, sequels are a tricky business. But this one builds on the first and enhances it. It also gives you enough information for a standalone story. In other words, if you had never seen Wreck It Ralph. You could watch Ralph Breaks The Internet with little difficulty and still get the full enjoyment out of it. The way Disney is marketing the movie, without the "Wreck It Ralph 2", it almost feels like they don't want to be tethered to it. If that is the case, it's a shame, because the first movie is great.
The rest of the voice cast is stellar too. A lot of talent from the first one returns like Jane Lynch, Jack McBrayer, and Alan Tudyk (though Tudyk is a playing a different role). But outside of all the familiar Disney cameo voices, there is the likes of Bill Hader, Taraji P. Henson, Alfred Molina, and Jason Mantzoukas.
The film is jammed packed with Easter eggs, both of the internet and Disney variety. Everyone will get the on-the-nose ones, but it will take a few more rewatches to find everything they threw in there.
It is great that Disney wanted to tackle this subject matter. The internet is more of a toxic place now than it ever used to be. If they can make one person think about something they say or do before they do it because they "remember seeing it in this movie once", it's a win.
The movie is worth going to see, especially in theaters, because of the visuals. But if you do go, be sure to stay through the entire credits. There is a hilarious mid-credit scene that you might have seen hinted at in the previews, and the post-credit scene is one of my favorite ones ever in a movie. It is reminiscent of Captain America's at the end of Spider-Man: Homecoming.
When I hit publish on this, I will visualize the journey it takes to your phone or computer much differently now. It'll be the same as when you gave thought to the toys after you threw them back in the box the first time you saw Toy Story.
Ralph Breaks The Internet: Wreck It Ralph 2 is in theaters now.