Movie Review: Pokemon: Detective Pikachu

Detective Pikachu is a film adaptation of the Pokemon franchise. This is also the first of the three video game movies that will be released this year. I’m not the biggest fan of Pokemon. It doesn’t interest me. I was bewildered when the first trailer for this came out. But it did looked cool. So I decided to check it out. So what do I think of it? Let’s find out!

The film is about a young man who questions the death of his father. His father was a detective and the circumstances of his disappearance are mysterious. He befriends a Pikachu, who only he can hear talk. In a city, where Pokemon and humans co-exist in daily life, there is trouble brewing with a mysterious and supremely powerful Mewtwo running amok. Even though film adaptations of video games are often of poor quality, this film manages to transcend this by staying respectful to its source material and never once loosing sight of what made the series a worldwide phenomenon in the first place. Perhaps, best of all, unlike the anime films, this one actually gives an explanation as to what Pokemon actually are, which broadens the overall appeal to franchise newcomers. The film exudes charm and wonderment, thanks to the amazing CGI used to bring the Pokemon to life on the big screen. They did a great job with the world building with the wide variety of Pokemon. Ryan Reynolds as the voice of Pikachu shines. He injects much of his trademark wit and humor into his performance, almost like a kid-friendly version of Deadpool. The bond between Tim and Pikachu is near perfect and well executed. They barely manage to get along at first, but throughout the film, their bond builds up during the emotional mystery. To be expected from a Pokemon film, the action scenes are stunning, like the scene where Pikachu distracts Howard by fighting in an impossible battle. But the actions scenes are not as good as any action scene in Endgame, but still great. The film puts a lot of great ideas into good use, such as illegal underground Pokemon battles. The soundtrack by Henry Jackman is amazing. The jokes were also pretty funny. Such as this running gag where Pikachu being addicted to caffeine. It’s also a perfect balance of jokes for kids and some for the adults in the audience.

Now for some negatives. Pikachu would occasionally talk too much, sometimes over explaining things in scenes or interrupting our main characters mid conversation which could be really distracting. The story is dull and slow at times and the way it progresses just goes from a cliched nature to transpiring unentertaining events. The human characters were honestly pretty bad. Tim was a pretty bland character. He throughout the film, Tim just seemed to have not cared. Right from the moment he found out about his dad’s accident, he was either happy throughout or just pretty much didn’t care or seem down about it all. Justice Smith is not who I have a problem with, in fact, in scenes where he is meant to be happy, he did a great job. It’s the writing and script I have a problem with. Towards the end, he nearly, entirely, forgot about his dad and was just about to end it there.

Overall, Detective Pikachu is officially the best video game movie ever made. Sure the plot may be slow, and Pikachu may talk too much, but it’s a good film with a solid cast, some funny jokes, great CGI, and beautiful world building. I feel that I can recommend this film to fans of Pokemon, as well as newcomers, as there are explanatory moments for those unfamiliar. I enjoyed watching this film for what it was, which is more than I was expecting to say.

Score: 7/10