Wreck-it Ralph lives in the eight-bit video game Fix-it Felix Jr. More specifically, he's the bad guy who wrecks Niceland's apartment building and then gets thrown off the roof into the mud when good guy Felix fixes it. Ralph has had this job for 30 years, and in a world where unplugging a game makes its characters homeless, that's nothing to sneeze at. Yet as Ralph points out, it's hard to enjoy your job when nobody likes you for doing it. His bad guy status makes him an outcast in the arcade and he's sick of it. So when Ralph hears about a new game called Hero's Duty where winners get medals, he sees a solution to his problem. He'll jump into Hero's Duty after the arcade is closed, defeat the CyBugs within, win a medal, and bring it back to Fix-it Felix Jr. The Nicelanders will have to respect him then! Except as with any good story, it's not that simple--at all.
The major strength here lies in the movie's characters. Ralph is a bad guy, but not a "bad guy." He starts out self-absorbed, but comes to care about others, especially Vanellope Von Schweetz, resident of another game called Sugar Rush. Vanellope wants to race like the other citizens of her game, but isn't allowed to because she's a game "glitch." She randomly blurs in and out of focus, and the game's denizens are worried if gamers saw that, they'd think the game was broken. The game would then be unplugged and the characters homeless. Since glitches can't leave their games, Vanellope would die with the game. Yet she's willing to take that risk for a chance to race and be part of her game's friendships. Ralph commits to helping her learn to drive and encourages her like a big brother. Vanellope learns to trust him and makes her first real friend.
Other characters learn positive lessons as well. Good guy Felix, for instance, learns what it's like to be Ralph when he's mistakenly locked in Sugar Rush's dungeon. Sergeant Calhoun of Hero's Duty learns to face her personal pain when she falls for Felix. The Sugar Rush citizens are forced to confront a dangerous hidden truth about their ruler, King Candy, and the future of their game. This is all handled beautifully.
As noted in other reviews, potty humor is a big turn-off in this movie. Vanellope and Ralph exchange gross insults as a form of friendly affection. Pants-wetting and wiping are referenced, and a character's underwear turns up in Lost and Found at a game called Tappers (the "bar" only serves root beer, it seems). Sergeant Calhoun has a clean, but rough mouth, as befits her first-person shooter game. Speaking of, Hero's Duty is violent by kid standards. Its antagonists, laboratory-created bugs, escape the game and eat everything in sight. Slapstick violence occurs as well. Zombies and a devil attend a Bad-Anon meeting.
Vanellope is bullied and put down because she's a glitch. Her glitch is treated like a disability, which could bring up family discussion of how people with physical and other differences should be treated. Vanellope responds to her plight by being snarky and disrespectful at times. All these things are debris your family could potentially trip over. In general though, this is a well-built, fun film.