Release Date: May 9th, 2019
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Justice Smith, Kathryn Newton, Suki Waterhouse, Omar Chaparro, Chris Geer, Ken Watanabe, Bill Nighy
Director: Rob Letterman
Studio: Warner Bros., Legendary, the Pokémon Company
Distributor: Warner Bros., Toho
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The live action Pokémon movie we have all been waiting for is here! People and Pokémon sharing the screen together at last, battling, catching, learning, and over all being the best there ever was! Well, mostly. Let’s get into it.
Pokémon: Detective Pikachu stars Justice Smith as Tim Goodman, a young man finding his way in the world and Ryan Reynolds as Pikachu, a hard-boiled, coffee addicted Pokémon who is searching for his partner. They will work together despite their differences to track down Tim’s missing father, solve the mystery of his final case, and maybe have a good time doing it!
Pokémon: Detective Pikachu starts out surprisingly strong. A lesser movie might’ve have decided to set this in the ‘real world’ with Pikachu popping up and being the one magical factor, not Detective Pikachu though, nuh-uh this one is committed. The world is the one that has made the Pokémon franchise the largest multimedia success that it is today.
Pokémon and people live together in a world full of life. The quaint little towns and cities of the games are brought to life. In an opening scene, we see Tim and his friend go off into the wilds to try and catch him a Pokémon. When Tim first arrives in Ryme City we see a city bursting at the seams with life. It’s a world I’ve wanted to explore since I was 9 years old. There’s even a fun suggestion that this takes place in the same universe as the anime, with Pokémon: The First Movie having taken place in the story 20 years prior.
As Tim and Pikachu explore their world and dig deep into this mystery that brought them together the movie loses its footing a bit. The plot unfolds to being pretty clunky with some less than stellar acting from the cast. Justice Smith and Ryan Reynolds do a fine job, but the plot shakes out to be less than the sum of its parts. The final act of the movie might leave you rolling your eyes at times, though it is important to remember: this is a children’s movie. I don’t know if that makes it totally better but it does help me forgive its shortcomings. The logic is a little whack, the dialogue rough, but it all seems necessary to wrap up the movie. The last 15 minutes are the weakest but if you can forgive it, the rest of the movie is winning.
Pokémon: Detective Pikachu is a fun enough romp through the Pokémon world, whether or not the plot holds up throughout its entirety. If you’re a Pokéfan then you’ll of course be checking it out and you will probably enjoy it! All others expect to be underwhelmed.