Movie Review: Pokémon Detective Pikachu

If I had to give an award for a film this early in the year, it would be Detective Pikachu. That award would be the most surprisingly enjoyable flick of 2019. I went in for Ryan Reynolds, and I came out with a smile on my face because of this delightfully nostalgic trip.

Tim Goodman (Justice Smith) heads to Ryme City’s police department about the case of his deceased father. When going to his father’s apartment, he soon meets a Pikachu (Ryan Reynolds) who happens to be a detective too. After some convincing and realizing they can understand one another, the pair join forces to discover the mystery behind Tim’s father.

The narrative moves in some generic areas as the two unlikely partners search for answers. By the later acts, plenty of turns make for a much intriguing, mysterious crime story while having a heartfelt story about someone who once aspired to become a Pokemon trainer.

Smith and Reynolds have this wonderful chemistry that surprisingly worked despite the two not having real face to face interactions. The relationship works flawlessly as the two form a bond that feels organic.

While the film has plenty of solid supporting characters like Howard Clifford (Bill Nighy), the city’s founder, who brings a lot to the story despite his too little amount of screentime. Nighy never disappoints with his excellent performance. The thorn in the side of the movie comes from Lucy Stevens (Kathryn Newton). While Newton’s performance is excellent, her character has too many moronic moments that cause issues. As I am a journalism major, I felt some pain seeing how the writers created her character, that annoyingly pushy journalist who ends up causing more harm than good.

The Pokemon are given a blend of a realistic aesthetic while having their anime characteristics. While I felt a few of them needed to be reworked to not look out of place, most of the mighty creatures looked spectacular along with other CGI that was done throughout the film.

Ryme City looked breathtaking with its Japanese inspired culture while having some Western elements. A brief introduction gave it more life than expected. With much of the film taking place in the metropolis allowed for enough time to explore and enjoy an exciting location that could have been bland.

The pacing usually flowed well, except for a few hiccups that felt unnecessary and could have been more creatively done for something more original. Adding in more action would help some of those problems, but the final battle makes some of the slower parts more bearable.

Drama and comedy came together to tell a fun, yet compelling story. The balance allowed for some heart pulling moments while still having those laugh out loud moments. While not a lot of the jokes land too hard for a big laugh, a few got me enough that I will think back on those hilarious lines for the next few weeks.

For a movie that seemed to only be fueled by the irresistible charm from Reynolds, I got to go down an adventure that came in without overstaying its welcome. The focus on the first generation Pokemon allowed for the perfect nostalgic trip for adults while still accessible for kids who may have grown up with later editions of these superpowered creatures.

Score: 8/10

Image via Warner Bros. Pictures

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