Movie Review | Ralph Breaks the Internet
Movie summary: Six years after the events of "Wreck-It Ralph," Ralph and Vanellope, now friends, discover a wi-fi router in their arcade, leading them into a new adventure. (IMDb)
This review of Ralph Breaks the Internet is going to be a little shorter than most other reviews because of how insubstantial it feels. There's nothing particularly bad, or even mediocre here, but none of it what we see and hear feels like it matters until the very end.
Wreck-It Ralph was a lot of fun because of the relationship between Ralph and Vanellope developing over the course of the film, and was rightly central to the audience's attention. While there was a plot that helped bring them together, it was the characters that cemented the quality.
Here, Ralph and Vanellope go on an adventure and are pretty much on the same page for the first two-thirds of the movie before any conflict between them happens and the film actually feels like it's finally started - there's a lot of fun to be had up until this point, but not much else.
The movie looks great and the various pop culture and real world references are cool to see, but a lot of them feel forced this time around as if to say "look who we got a licence to show in this film!", which doesn't really work with Ready Player One going far bigger earlier this year.
If anything, this film has made me retroactively appreciate Ant-Man and the Wasp more, thanks to a lack of a genuinely threatening antagonist in either film. The difference is that the MCU film has a better central story and does more with its characters than Ralph Breaks the Internet.
Here, it's more about the characters trying to fix a mess that they made and making the problem even worse before finally resolving the issue. The problem is that there is very little at stake other than personal happiness before the character conflict finally kicks in towards the end.
I am noticing a trend in how I look at things recently - and especially in how I review various titles - as praising by exception. By that, I mean that the problems I've listed here are my only real gripes and that the rest of the film is pretty much okay.
Yeah, some of the references feel forced, but a lot of them are actually pretty creative and there's often some very good laughs to be had too. A particular highlight is the appearance of the Disney Princesses all gathered together and I'm now really hoping they get their own Avengers-style team-up movie because I'd definitely go see that.
Writing that also makes me think back to Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, where I felt that Miles Morales was overshadowed by Peter B and Gwen; Ralph and Vanellope are outshone by a lot of the new sights, sounds, cameos and references that feel far more interesting than them.
But again, that isn't a real criticism much like I wasn't really critical of Miles' character in Spider-Verse: they're still enjoyable enough to spend time with, but what should be supporting characters or minor roles are simply even more enjoyable than they are.
Ralph Breaks the Internet is fun fluff, but little more; forgetting that the story should be about the relationship between Ralph and Vanellope until the last act. It's enjoyable up to that point, but is more about enjoying the general humour and spotting real world references than the characters.