Time: 104 Minutes
Age Rating: Violence and scary scenes
Ryan Reynolds as Detective Pikachu
Justice Smith as Tim Goodman
Kathryn Newton as Lucy Stevens
Bill Nighy as Howard Clifford
Ken Watanabe as Detective Hideo Yoshida
Chris Geere as Roger Clifford
Suki Waterhouse as Ms. Norman
Omar Chaparro as Sebastian
Director: Rob Letterman
Ace detective Harry Goodman (Justice Smith) goes mysteriously missing, prompting his 21-year-old son, Tim, to find out what happened. Aiding in the investigation is Harry’s former Pokémon partner, wise-cracking, adorable super-sleuth Detective Pikachu (Ryan Reynolds). Finding that they are uniquely equipped to work together, as Tim is the only human who can talk with Pikachu, they join forces to unravel the tangled mystery.
Pokémon: Detective Pikachu was a movie I was surprisingly interested in. I’ve heard about Pokémon growing up but never got into it, so I was really out of the loop when it comes to the series. I heard about the movie for a while but the only thing I really remembered hearing about it as it was being made was that Ryan Reynolds would be voicing Pikachu for some reason. However, trailers were released for it and for some reason it actually looked pretty good and I was curious about it, it looked cheesy but fun. And having seen it recently I can confirm that for what it is, Detective Pikachu works really well, and I had fun with it.
The movie starts off a little shaky, as it focusses on the main character Tim, and it doesn’t exactly set him up for the audience to really like him all that much. Not that these scenes should’ve been cut down or anything, just should’ve been handled a little better. Once we meet Pikachu however, that’s when it picks up. Before you think it’s like the Transformers movies where the title characters are regulated to the background and the boring human characters are put in the forefront, it’s not. Sure most of the other Pokémon aren’t really focussed on but both Justice Smith and Pikachu are consistently the main characters throughout, and you do get to see a lot of Pokémon throughout. It’s a kids movie for sure, but I liked it quite a bit for it is. One of its greatest strength is that it is genuinely funny, even as a kids movie the humour really works. Some of the twists are a little easy to see coming, all in all it’s a pretty simple story. The movie goes for an hour and 45 minutes long and honestly I couldn’t imagine it being longer, it was the perfect length for the movie.
Ryan Reynolds as Detective Pikachu is the true star of the movie. Yes, it’s a very weird casting and most of the time it just sounds like PG-13 Deadpool trapped in the body of Pikachu, but he works really well. He may only be a voice in the movie, but he just does so much, this doesn’t feel like a paycheck role for him. The human cast generally was weaker but the actors try the best they can. The main character played by Justice Smith was a bit of a mixed bag, he started off quite weak and then gradually got a little better over time. However, Smith does improve the role a little and is putting everything into his performance. He and Reynolds played off each other really well.
The direction isn’t anything special or great but deserves some credit for managing to make a live action Pokémon movie actually work. All the Pokémon have surprisingly been implemented well in the movie, you really feel like you’re in a different place. The Pokémon generally look good but Pikachu particularly looks fantastic. Occasionally some effects don’t look great, but I wasn’t expecting a lot from the movie, and it looks a lot better than I thought it would. Visually on the whole it looks really good. The little bits of action are a little simple and bland but it’s not what I went into the movie looking for.
Pokémon: Detective Pikachu was way better than it had any right to be. For people who aren’t familiar with Pokémon, don’t expect it to be great, but it is fun, with Ryan Reynolds as Pikachu really making this movie. I can’t speak for people who are fans of Pokémon but I feel like they might at least enjoy what has been done here. There’s been a sequel already announced, and honestly I’m open to seeing more of these movies, I don’t know much about Pokémon but I can tell there might be a lot of things that can be done with the game lore.