Even though The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part and Ralph Breaks the Internet don't exist within the same universe, their brand new trailers released this week showcased one noticeable connection: they both have the exact same joke.
In The LEGO Movie 2, the epic (though physically miniature) adventure from the first movie continues into a dystopian, post-apocalyptic LEGO setting that pits Emmet (voiced by Chris Pratt) and Wyldstyle (voiced by Elizabeth Banks), as well as their ragtag crew that includes Princess Unikitty (voiced by Alison Brie), LEGO Batman (voiced by Will Arnett, who got his own spinoff last year in The LEGO Batman Movie), and Benny a.k.a. 1980-Something Space Guy (voiced by Charlie Day), against "LEGO DUPLO® invaders from outer space." In Ralph Breaks the Internet, the titular hero (voiced by John C. Reilly), as well as his sidekick and friend Vanellope von Schweetz (voiced by Sarah Silverman) leave their arcade consoles behind in pursuit of the far more expansive world of the internet. And though these two movies are only similar in that they're both animated, they both include what is essentially the same joke - which so just happens to be especially relevant.
At the center of both of these trailers is a joke that takes aim at men getting more credit than they've earned. In the Lego Movie 2 trailer, Wyldstyle introduces Emmet as a hero, only to have newcomer Sweet Mayhem (voiced by Stephanie Beatriz) question her logic. She asks, "So, you fought and master-built and kicked butt, and then the hapless male was the leader?" In the Ralph Breaks the Internet trailer, Vanellope is confronted by classic Disney princesses like Cinderella, Pocahontas, and Rapunzel, all of whom list off stereotypical traits often associated with their characters. This leads to Rapunzel asking, "Do people assume all your problems got solved because a big, strong man showed up?" leading to Vanellope's response, "Yeah! What is up with that?"
Given the social climate in Hollywood, it's no surprise that movies in 2018 (even movies targeted at younger audiences) would take aim various topics like #MeToo and Time's Up. Following a barrage of sexual misconduct scandals in the entertainment industry, notably stemming from Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, and Matt Lauer, topics revolving around gender disparity, abuse of power, and sexual abuse have become mainstream discussions. So, while the jokes may seem repetitive, their prevalence proves that they're referring to a topic worthy of attention.
In the case of The LEGO Movie 2 and Ralph Breaks the Internet, the connection with the #MeToo and Time's Up movements are clearly intentional. However, even though another animated movie being released this summer also appears to be pivoting around the current social climate, that isn't the case. Brad Bird confirmed that the #MeToo parallels with The Incredibles 2 plot are purely coincidental. The Pixar sequel positions Helen Parr/Elastigirl (voiced by Holly Hunter) as the lead hero, subverting old-school gender roles and drawing attention to gender inequality - even in the fictional world of superheroes. Still, coincidence or not, the relevance still adds to the pot in terms of mainstream movies drawing attention to jarring, yet topical issues.
- Ralph Breaks the Internet/Wreck-It Ralph 2 (2018) release date: Nov 21, 2018
- The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part (2019) release date: Feb 08, 2019