Title: Detective Pikachu
Release Date: May 10th, 2019
Director: Rob Letterman
Release Format: Theatrical
Detective Pikachu is a fun flick that mostly catches what makes Pokemon so beloved. However, there are some annoyances like a generic plot and boring protagonist that keep it from evolving to greatness.
The story is about former Pokemon trainer Tim Goodman (Justice Smith), going out with a Pikachu to solve the murder of his father. This mystery turns into something bigger as the fate of the world rests on Pikachu and Tim solving the case.
Nothing in Pokemon is ever small scale. If repairman comes to fix a fridge, you can very well bet that fridge will be discovered to be the thing that ends global warming. It is the nature of these stories and honestly, any excuse is fine to dive back into this adventurous world.
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The story is pretty by the numbers. You know what’s going to happen and how it will happen. Luckily, Ryan Reynolds and the writers make the ride to the destination is an enjoyable one.
The film seems to be in the Pokemon universe of films as it does reference the events of Pokemon: The First Film. While this sparks more debates if Ash ages or not, there will be no debate this a true Poke-film.
It is clear that the source material was treated with care and no “Americanization” took place here. I’m looking at you Ghost in The Shell. Instead, here you’ll get a rich world full of references around every corner and jokes you don’t have to be a fan to laugh at.
When the story’s emotional parts come up they tend to fall flat. There are dramatic scenes from the earlier movies that are related here and it’s just not earned. Detective Pikachu succeeds in many aspects except when it comes to pulling of tear-jerkers.
For a detective movie, most of the film’s mysteries have are nicely and revealed through exposition dumps. The plot advances major points, not through detective work but detective vision. For non-gamers, it’s a tool recently used in games that is all-seeing, telling you what to do and where to go.
Lucy and Pikachu Forever
Smith does the best with what he is given but his character is mainly “react to things” guy. I honestly didn’t know his character’s name until searching it up to write this. He is forgettable and essentially the Meg of Detective Pikachu.
Tim was out of a battle for a bit and an audible sigh came from some audience members when he returned. When viewers are disappointed that your main character survives a villain’s attack, something went wrong.
When having a lead that sucks the air out the room, you better be sure to get a charismatic co-star. That’s where we have Ryan Reynolds as Detective Pikachu comes in.
Reynolds does the Deadpool thing where he throws 100 jokes at the wall, hoping some will stick. Surprisingly a lot of them stick and when they don’t, it’s ok because there’s another behind it to make you chuckle. Pikachu has many great lines throughout the film. A memorable one came during a scene in a rave-like nightclub where he’s talking to the foreign baddie and says, “All I hear are consonants and all I see are nipples”.
I haven’t seen somebody carry something this hard since rewatching my last round in Apex Legends. Reynolds is not alone as there’s another super likable figure in the charming Lucy Stevens (Kathryn Newton).
Lucy’s a down-on-her-luck reporter who’s trying get to the bottom of the murder mystery. Lucy is full of spunk and has a classic Pokemon design, which makes it more puzzling why she wasn’t the protagonist. She propels the story forward along with Pikachu more than Tim ever does.
Detective Pikachu Has Cool Visuals For Days With Issues as Long
Shoutout to the animation team behind Detective Pikachu. They did an amazing job. The visuals stay true to the original series designs while creating fantastic CGI models and environments.
Ryme City looks like a magnificent place overflowing with Pokemon and people coexisting. It doesn’t look like a random street in London that has Ryme City sticker slapped on it. The CGI is so good it took me most the film to realize a lot of props were digital.
There are Pokemon appearing throughout from various generations (mostly the first three). It’ll turn into a game like the one from the show to see if you recognize them all. There are some obvious ones like Squirtle and some deeper cuts.
Feel It In Your Jellies
Verdict: Detective Pikachu will have you leaving the theatre with a smile, after filling your jellies with laughter. It may be too late for Sonic, but other future game/anime flicks should take note. This is how you adapt material without losing the essence of why people loved it.
The film’s strengths of being an entertaining adventure combined with funny jokes make this an easy watch. Overdone plot beats and some slow parts (that primarily feature Tim) can get in the way at times. However, there are enough likable characters and fun interactions to distract from these weaknesses.
After coming from the emotional ride of emotions that was Avengers: Endgame, it’s nice to get a fun film like this. A little Pikachu has never hurt anyone, except members of Team Rocket but you get the idea.
What’s your favorite Pokemon movie? Any other video game or anime adaptations you want to see next? Let us know in the comments below!
- Funny Dialogue
- Cool & Spectacular Effects
- Interesting fleshed out world
- Bland as bread lead character
- Plot is super basic and predictable
- Ending will either have you throwing your arms up or walking out
- Retreads emotional beats from earlier Pokemon stories (but worse)