WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Ralph Breaks the Internet, in theaters now.
Ralph Breaks the Internet embraces the online world and explores what it means for people who increasingly live more and more of their lives online. That doesn’t just include the algorithms or the Dark Web peddlers, but also the people who try to adapt the internet to help their own lives, too.
Much like the audience, the heroes of the film are trying to use the internet as a tool, and find that it can have positive and negative effects. Ralph Breaks the Internet proves that being online brings out the worst and the best of us all, and it comes down to how we use the internet to truly define its merits.
Yesss (played by Taraji P. Henson) is one of the more compelling characters in the film. She’s opportunistic and quick to dismiss someone she sees no real value in. But when she finds out that Ralph (John C. Reily) and Vanellope (Sarah Silverman) might have some potential to pick up some easy views, she warms to them almost immediately.
Her initial dismissal of the pair stings, and could even give the impression that she’ll turn on them as soon as they stop being of use to her. But Yesss proves to be a valueable ally and helps them earn enough money to afford the steering wheel piece needed to fix Sugar Rush. She’s even vital to the climax of the film, risking her own life to help Vanellope and Ralph.
She also proves keenly aware of the kind of damage the internet can do. It’s why she doesn’t like the idea of Ralph looking too deeply into the comments section of the videos starring him. People use the secrecy of being online to vent and complain and insult without any other prompting beyond “the comment section is open.”
It’s a painful moment for Ralph and the audience, something many of us in the online age have probably felt at some point. There’s no rhyme or reason to it; some people just don’t like something and choose to yell about it, regardless of the feelings of the person on the other side of the screen. In a world defined so much by social media and the comments we leave, that unwitting anger is so much more destructive than we expect.