Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019)

pokemon detective pikachu poster 2019 movie
6.5 Overall Score
Story: 5/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 8/10

Interesting blending of cartoon characters in real world settings

Weak story

Movie Info

Movie Name: Pokémon Detective Pikachu

Studio: Legendary Pictures

Genre(s): Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Mystery/Suspense/Family

Release Date(s):  May 2, 2019 (Premiere)/May 10, 2019 (US)

MPAA Rating: PG

pokemon detective pikachu justice smith

Grab your hat and lace up your shoes…let’s get crime solving!

When Tim Goodman (Justice Smith) learns of his estranged father’s death, he finds himself going to Ryme City to collect his belongings.  There, Tim learns that his father’s detective work might have led to the accident that killed him.  Working with a Pikachu (Ryan Reynolds) that only he can hear and understand for some reason, Mike finds himself teamed with a reporter intern named Lucy Stevens (Kathryn Newton) and her Psyduck to undercover the danger brewing in Ryme City and a mysterious Pokémon called Mewtwo.

Directed by Rob Letterman, Pokémon Detective Pikachu (sometimes called just Detective Pikachu) is a video game action adventure fantasy.  Based on the 1995 franchise and loosely based on the 2016 video game entry Detective Pikachu, the film performed well, but received mixed reviews.

pokemon detective pikachu justice smith charizard gyarados

Now would be a good time for Deadpool to show up

I didn’t watch Pokémon, but I’m familiar with some of the characters, the ideas of the series, and played a few of the games.  I had some limited interest in Pokémon Detective Pikachu simply because of the weirdness of the series.  The weirdness is what works in the movie…the plot is another story.

The basic set-up works.  I like the opening scene of Mike and his friend trying to capture a Cubone and his introduction to Ryme City, but the storyline involving corporate corruption, secrets, lies, and Mewtwo are too much.  It isn’t very original and the master plan is confusing with the gas just feeling like the Joker or Green Goblin’s plans from Batman and Spider-Man.

pokemon detective pikachu mewtwo

As an adult Mewtwo freaks me out…I can only imagine if I was a kid

While Reynolds was largely credited for his role, I though Pikachu actually kind of hindered the story.  It didn’t feel like Reynolds was really present for the movie and that he was reciting PG-Rated Deadpool lines in the form of Pikachu.  Once again, the heart of the movie is with Justice Smith and Kathryn Newton as detectives/Pokémon “trainers.  It made me wish for more of this and less of the actual Pokémon.  Ken Watanabe and Bill Nighy were underused in the film with both characters having no range.

I do like the visuals of the film.  The idea of live action Pokémon is risk for bad visuals because of Pokémon’s cartoon nature.  The cartoonish visuals of the Pokémon fit in with the world and story and as a result sometimes created very interesting visuals.

Pokémon Detective Pikachu is an odd film.  I think non-Pokémon viewers could still enjoy it  if they give into the world it creates and Pokémon fans will like seeing their live action counterparts on the screen.  With a financial success of the film, a sequel is already in production.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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