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Pokémon Detective Pikachu Review

May 9, 2019 at 4:15am
By Jason Stettner

This is the first live action take on the Pokémon franchise and it delivers this universe in a very interesting way. What they’ve aimed to provide here is a genre type film based on mystery. It doesn’t necessarily lean into this entirely, so expect a fair bit of action and lots of comedy. For the most part the jokes deliver, and it’s Ryan Reynolds being himself as a Pikachu.

The idea here actually does work at its core and it’s a good way to introduce this world of Pokémon. I just mostly wish the movie itself was more interesting. It was rather predictable and therefore definitely generic at times. I was somewhat surprised by a small twist at the end. Not the twist that I had predicted early on, but the fact that there was an appearance I hadn’t anticipated. Moving past that, the motivations were a bit off for some characters and it just went along.

There wasn’t enough of a struggle going on here, and the mystery wasn’t particularly complex. It works fine as a story, it goes by and it is enjoyable. It just isn’t anything special and it doesn’t stand out as unique. There are elements of this that work very well, but it’s just so basic overall.
Pokémon Detective Pikachu Wallpaper Emmet
I really liked the approach they took in presenting this world, it felt established and to the point. A nice jump off where they didn’t need to force too much information upon us. We got to see some of that wonder of catching one of these majestic natural creatures and then their interactions throughout the narrative. I did feel that some of the CGI looked a bit fake, that part needs to really be perfect here.

I let some things go, but it largely felt like those critters weren’t in the picture and just placed. This was very clear at the start. That being said; the Pokémon were cute, adorable and entertaining. A lot of them just didn’t match the world very well, it seemed to get better as things went on but that stuck out a lot from the start. I get that there’s density in the presentation and the models were fantastic. Just seeing it all in motion, they didn’t fit naturally. Pikachu was best for quality here, but even he had some moments that felt off.

The acting was generally fine here, bringing some emotional aspects to this tale. It was just such a by the numbers story though. That aside, I found this to be funny and engaging. I think it’ll hit well with certain audiences and I feel there are more stories to be told within this world. It’s a good look into it and perhaps if they focus more on a specific genre next time around this could really grow over time.

The Conclusion

Pokémon Detective Pikachu is a good watch, its fun and an engaging film. I just felt like it could have had more to it. The story was way too predictable in almost every measure and it continued to lack any sense of surprise. It was just such a regular tale that we’ve seen so many times. There was a sense of mystery, but I would have liked to see that explored further.

They did an amazing job with the actual Pokémon, making them feel like plausible creatures and they were very entertaining to see. Whether that was them just being in the background, or having some sort of direct interaction with what was happening. There’s a massive selection in here as well so I’m sure fans will appreciate that element. I’m trying to not be too hard on this one, but it did have some flaws that really came to the surface.

I’m not the hugest fan of the franchise at this point in my life, but I’ll probably watch this again down the road. It’ll be something light to take in. I think there’s real potential here with this universe, but they need to take the concepts further and smooth out the integration of the mystical critters into the world.

Pokémon Detective Pikachu Poster
Pokémon Detective Pikachu Review at Theater with Standard Viewing
Screening Provided by Warner Brothers

Rating Overall: 5.5

Gamerheadquarters Reviewer Jason Stettner