A progressively underwhelming sequel, Ralph Breaks the Internet follows John C. Reilly’s Ralph and Sarah Silverman’s Vanellope as they travel directly into the internet to save the latter’s real-world video game. There’s little doubt that Ralph Breaks the Internet fares best in its fast-paced and frequently fun (and funny) opening half hour, as filmmakers Phil Johnston and Rich Moore deliver a predictably irreverent narrative that’s been suffused with amusing references and set-pieces (eg Vanellope meets the various Disney princesses). It’s clear, then, that the picture begins adopting a distressingly erratic feel as it progresses into its hit-and-miss, episodic midsection, while the growing emphasis on tiresome elements (eg an entirely needless fake break-up between Reilly and Silverman’s respective characters) paves the way for a third act that wears out its welcome to a thoroughly distressing extent – with the less-than-captivating environment compounded by an aggressively frenetic and over-the-top final stretch. The feel-good conclusion is subsequently (and obviously) unable to pack the emotional punch Johnston and Moore have surely intended, and it is, in the end, impossible to label Ralph Breaks the Internet as anything more than a lackluster followup that might please small children but few others.
** out of ****