WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Ralph Breaks the Internet, in theaters now.
Ralph Breaks the Internet takes the titular hero, voiced by John C. Reilly, and his best friend Vanellope (Sarah Silverman) on a journey throughout the internet, which leads them into all kinds of danger and excitement.
By the finale, Ralph has endangered (and then saved) the entire internet, Vanellope has found the life she’s always wanted, and our heroes have -- at least temporarily -- parted ways. But the ending leaves the door open for future films set within the universe.
The Internet Is On The Line
While Ralph turns himself into a meme to earn enough money to purchase a new wheel for Vanellope's broken Sugar Rush, she returns to the way more intense racing game, Slaughter Race. Although Ralph collects more than enough cash for the replacement wheel, Vanellope isn’t sure she can simply return to her boring home after falling in love with Slaughter Race.
Terrified about the prospect of a world without his best friend, Ralph nearly causes the destruction of the internet: A self-replicating virus he inadvertently unleashes takes advantage of Ralph’s insecurity about losing Vanellope, and wreaks havoc throughout across the web. Despite the best efforts of Ralph, Vanellope and their new friends, they're unable to stop the virus, which has assumed the form of a giant Ralph, from corrupting the digital world around them.
Ultimately, punching the virus doesn't cut it. The monster is only stopped when Ralph is able to realize his own mistakes, and convinces the oversize avatar that they have to be better. He convinces the giant Ralph to unleash him and Vanellope, and he fades away. That frees the internet from his corruption. Although Ralph almost falls to his death, the assembled Disney Princesses rescue him.
With the internet saved, Vanellope is able to make a new home for herself in Slaughter Race. Her new friend Shank (Gal Gadot) is even able to write Vanellope into the code of the game, meaning she won’t risk her life racing there. Ralph, meanwhile, is able to send the steering wheel to the Candy Crush cabinet at the arcade, saving the home of the other racers. He and Vanellope share a bittersweet goodbye before Ralph returns to the arcade.
The film skips ahead a few months, with Ralph calling Vanellope on the phones that Yasss (the algorithm for YouTube, voiced by Taraji P. Henson) gave them. They catch up, and plan for a visit. The moment hits close to home for anyone who has found themselves living a different life to the ones they were once close to, and speaks to the core arc of the film that Shank explained to Vanellope earlier: "There's no rule that best friends have to want the same thing."
Next Page: Where Does Ralph Go From Here?