Pokémon: Detective Pikachu is directed by Gail Mancuso and stars Justice Smith as Tim Goodman, as well as Ryan Reynolds playing the voice of the beloved pokémon Pikachu.
I’ve been a pretty decent Pokémon fan my whole life. It all started with the card games for me. I loved playing Pokémon every time my cousin and I would go over to our Grandparents’ house, and that love for the universe is still there today (though, I’ve always been a bigger Yu-Gi-Oh fan).
Detective Pikachu’s strengths lie within its design. Ryme City feels like a lived-in place. It’s as much a character as anything else in the film, and it was definitely one of my favorite parts. We can’t talk about Ryme City without talking about the Pokémon. This film absolutely nailed the look of the Pokémon. Everything looks so great, and the design of the creatures was the perfect mix of looking somewhat practical, while also staying true to their original anime designs.
Ryan Reynolds as Pikachu is the standout in this film. I remember hearing that Reynolds was cast as the beloved Pokémon and thinking, “Really? Deadpool as Pikachu?”, but damn did it work. I think we’re all accustomed to the character’s classic “pika pika”. Detective Pikachu knows this, and at first, a talking Pikachu is weird for not only the audience but the main character himself.
All throughout the movie we see the amazing designs of Pokémon we love. This is the strength of Detective Pikachu. The film looks absolutely beautiful. It had a surprisingly good score by the way. The Pokémon were funny, and there’s a moment with Pikachu and another Pokémon in a bar that made me laugh really hard.
This is kind of where my praise of the film will end, and I’ll talk about some of the film’s pitfalls. Let’s start with the acting. It wasn’t *bad* per se, but it wasn’t good either. The main character Tim Goodman was super boring in my opinion. The actor was given some pretty bad dialogue, and he didn’t really do anything to improve upon it with his performance. The other star in this film is Lucy Stevens played by Kathryn Newton, who did a decent job as well. I think she was better than Tim, but that’s just because I think her character was a little more interesting.
All the other actors were fine, but there wasn’t a stand out besides Ryan Reynolds as Pikachu (who just did the voice, obviously). Another weakness of Detective Pikachu was its plot. It was basic and predictable, but somewhat necessary. There’s a lot to introduce the audience to with this film. The plot is simple: Tim has to find his dad and figure out what happened to him. It’s basic, and you can pretty much predict everything before it happens. It’s a really simple plot, but it isn’t awful. It didn’t really take any risks. I laughed a few times at the basic predictability of it, but I think children will love this.
I think Detective Pikachu was a pretty huge success. It introduced us to this amazing world of Pokémon, and they looked damn amazing. Ryme City was beautiful, and I’m really interested in seeing other cities across this planet. It didn’t introduce us to any of the classic Pokémon characters like Ash, Missy, or Brock, and I think that was on purpose. The studio wanted to test the waters of a live-action Pokémon movie before it embraced the show that came before. I think this was smart.
Pokémon: Detective Pikachu is a fun, self-aware film that provides audiences with the thing that they came to the theater to see: Pokémon. Ryme City feels lived in, and it seamlessly integrates the Pokémon into it. Every character that wasn’t human felt kind of annoying, but the Pokémon, Pikachu especially, shine here.