Video game movies can be horrible nightmares. Many of them are made from zero passion for the source material and only exist to capitalize off of the brands recognition. Detective Pikachu is not one of those movies. I will openly admit that when I first heard that they were making a live action Pokémon movie my first thoughts were “What?” And “Why?”, but when the first trailer came out it won me over and made me interested and boy did this movie not disappoint. All it takes is a few minutes and you can easily see how much love for the source material was poured into this movie. While the movie is a joy for any Pokémon fan, it IS a bit predictable and has a fairly basic narrative but honestly, that just made me enjoy it more.
I admit I’m kind of a sucker for clichés when they’re used in an entertaining way.
The film is about Tim Goodman (Justice Smith), a 21 year old man boy who goes to a place called Ryme City, a city where humans and Pokémon co-exist without battles, to visit his recently deceased father’s apartment. After meeting a talking Ryan Reynolds (Pikachu), he learns that his father could be alive and so he sets out on a journey to solve the mystery of his father’s disappearance and the mysterious appearance of a powder called “R”. As said above Detective Pikachu has a very basic plot but it executes it in a way where it entertains you and grabs your attention. It’s a decent enough buddy cop premise that’s carried by the performance of the lead actors. Justice Smith is GREAT in this movie as is Ryan Reynolds. Their line deliveries both play off each other great and the connection their characters have really surprised me. There are several scenes that really tug at your heartstrings and it gets fairly dark for a Pokémon movie, which was a lot of fun! The other actors are…fine? I guess? No one is really memorable and there aren’t really any standout performances outside of the leads. Speaking of memorability though BOY HOWDY IS THIS MOVIE FILLED WITH POKÉMON.
My first thought after seeing the wide city shot with all the humans and Pokémon was “Wow! Look at all those lil’ bastards! They look like monsters!” And I do NOT mean that in a bad way at all. All of the Pokémon in this movie look wonderfully faithful to their original designs and there’s an impressive variety of Pokémon on display. I was originally worried that Detective Pikachu would mainly focus on the first generation of Pokémon since….it’s Pokémon and they tend to milk the first series of games for all their worth but THANKFULLY pretty much every generation of Pokémon is represented in this movie. Seeing Pokémon like Greninja, Golurk, and Morelull was a pleasant surprise (especially Golurk because that thing is rad as hell). There are a lot of great action scenes that utilize these little gremlins in a great way too. I won’t spoil it but there is a great little twist that happens after the chase scene with the Greninja’s that looked wonderful.
Overall while Detective Pikachu isn’t the most complex movie ever made it’s immensely entertaining and fun. Even if you aren’t familiar with Pokémon you aren’t going to have any issue enjoying this film, it’s a charming little detective film that will keep you engaged for all 94 minutes of its running time. I was smiling from ear to ear throughout my entire viewing and it reminded me of a thing I routinely forget. Even though it’s not always on my mind and it doesn’t hold my attention as much as other video game franchises do, this series really does mean a lot to me. I love Pokémon and I love seeing it in the hands of filmmakers that care about the franchise enough to properly represent it in movie form.
I’m in my mid twenties and I teared up for a movie where Pikachu says he pissed himself.