While investigating the disappearance of his father, Tim Goodman (Justice Smith) befriends his father’s partner in crime, Pikachu (Ryan Reynolds). Thankfully, Pikachu is a detective and has an eye for piecing together clues. He must now aid Tim on his detective journey to solve the mystery of his father’s sudden vanishing.
Pokémon: Detective Pikachu is rated PG for action/peril, some rude and suggestive humor, and thematic elements.
Detective Pikachu has many aspects that gel together, making for a fun theatre experience. To begin, seeing so many different Pokémon on the big screen in live action is extravagant. Fans of the video game and cartoon will be happy with the overall design and execution. Pikachu is taken straight out of the original video game’s design and is downright adorable. Younger viewers will be begging their parents to buy them their own Pikachu doll after seeing this film. With so many different Pokemon to choose from, I thought that Director Rob Letterman did a great job of infusing the movie with Pokémon that are not only fan favorites, but that also help advance the story.
The story itself is good, although somewhat predictable. However, the plot is easy to follow for both children and parents not familiar with the franchises backstory. Detective Pikachu is filled with some very good comedy, most of which is executed perfectly by Ryan Reynolds. In fact, Reynolds as Pikachu is definitely the star of the show. He uses his improvisational skills to create some of the movie’s more memorable moments. Justice Smith does a decent job in his first top billing role, including the rest of the cast, especially classic British actor Bill Nighy.
Finally, the computer animation and environments look amazing. Cities look realistic and make us wish that we could visit these beautiful landscapes in real life.
What Didn’t Work:
Many of Detective Pikachu’s shortcomings are common with films geared towards children. Other than Ryan Reynolds, much of the acting is forgettable. Emotion seems forced at times, and some character dialogue seems stereotyped. Detective Pikachu has too many characters given the movie’s large scale. Tim, the main character, is well developed, but other characters come and go at a rapid pace. It is hard for the audience to decide which characters actually help develop the storyline.
This film also suffers from a very jumbled second act. It seems as though the developers needed to shorten the film for time and had to slash some scenes. One specific act focusing on a Pokémon laboratory is a perfect example of the film’s plot holes. The movie overall lacks depth. I like the choice to tease the cartoons original theme song, but was hoping for more of it. Building the main score around different highlights of this theme would have been more effective.
I loved Detective Pikachu, but speaking for Pokémon fans, I think we are ready for a live action movie where they actually catch Pokémon.
Pokemon: Detective Pikachu is a good first entry for live action Pokémon movies. Ryan Reynolds steals the show as Pikachu and overall accomplishes the feeling of classic nostalgia. Parents will stay entertained, while children will have eyes glued to the screen.
The most enjoyable part about Detective Pikachu is becoming immersed in this wondrous world. Seeing these characters interacting and going about their lives turned out to be very entertaining. We are officially ready for a more battle-based Pokémon movie, and I’m looking forward to future entries in the franchise.