Directed by: #RobLetterman
Since taking the world by storm in the mid-90s, Pokémon has become a massive globally recognised franchise that has continued to go from strength to strength, spanning across video games, anime series, card games and even dabbled in augmented reality. And now, the brand has ventured into its first live-action/animated feature, Pokémon: Detective Pikachu.
In a world where Pokémon and humanity live side by side in near perfect harmony, 21-year-old Tim Goodman (Justice Smith) is actually quite content selling insurance and living with his grandmother without a Pokémon companion, unlike almost everyone else around him. But when he receives news that his detective father has gone missing, he heads to the huge metropolis of Ryme City to investigate where he encounters his fathers’ ex-partner, a Pikachu. Realising they are both invested in discovering the truth, the two pair together to solve the case.
Those who had reservations about the film when announced (myself included) needn’t worry and it’s easy to see now where the confidence has come from in already greenlighting a sequel.
The film doesn’t fail to deliver on entertainment value and there are plenty of laughs throughout, with jokes and moments for both young and old to enjoy. The film does a great job of not only introducing the world of Pokémon to those unfamiliar with the franchise but is also laden with a plethora of treats and little details for long-time fans to discover. It is evident that the world building has been carefully thought out, with several Pokémon from all versions are present (gotta spot ‘em all!), and thankfully none of them seem shoe-horned in needlessly.
In terms of cast performances, there isn’t a bad one in the bunch.
Justice Smith (previously starring in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom) does really well sharing the stage with Reynolds’ Pikachu and the back-and-forth between them is constantly refreshing and amusing. Kathryn Newton also holds her own and the chemistry between herself and Smith is quite endearing. Others such as Bill Nighy and Ken Watanabe don’t get too much to do here but they do it well. But the real magic ingredient of the film is undoubtedly Reynolds as Pikachu which is perfect casting, brilliantly combining the actors unmatched charm and wit with the brand’s flagship and arguably cutest Pokémon (although the film may try and tell you different).
The overall plot is perhaps a little generic overall but honestly doesn’t need to be overly complex because there is lots to be entertained by elsewhere. Unfortunately, the film does seem to lose some steam towards the end, which is a real shame considering all the good that comes before it.
Despite slightly lacking in the final act, Pokémon: Detective Pikachu is, funny, heart-warming and thoroughly entertaining from start to finish, with plenty to offer for both fans of the franchise and newcomers and is a great step for the future of the brand on the big screen.
Watch the Pokémon: Detective Pikachu movie trailer below.