Movie Review: Detective Pikachu (2019)

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Summary: In a world where people collect Pokémon to do battle, a boy comes across an intelligent talking Pikachu who seeks to be a detective.
Pros:
Cast and Characters. There are plenty of characters we meet in the film but I’m going to focus on only the lead characters because they’re the ones we see the most and get to know the most.
  • Ryan Reynolds as Detective Pikachu. He is a world-class detective and exceptionally smart talking Pikachu whom only Tim can understand. Reynolds performed both the voice and facial motion capture for the character. At first, when I saw the trailers for this movie, I thought it was weird they chose Reynolds, I mean don’t get me wrong, he’s funny and it’s kind of funny coming out of a cute Pikachu but at the same time, I wasn’t sure if it would take me out of the movie. To be honest, it does take me out of the movie. I watched it twice and it was better the second time around but he’s very distracting because you just think “Deadpool”, while he’s talking. With that said, I thought he did very well in his chemistry with the other actors, sure he’s not on screen with them, at least probably not doing all the movements but the facial stuff and you can tell, he’s expressive. The relationship he builds with Tim throughout the movie is also acted well on his part, you believe they’re slowly becoming friends just like you believe this little Pikachu might be a little neurotic when it comes to certain things. I think Ryan Reynolds plays this like himself, like Deadpool, and it works for the most part.
  • Justice Smith as Tim Goodman. He is a former Pokémon trainer who is looking for his missing father. He ends working with Pikachu and the only person who can hear him speak. Tim is a little jaded when it comes to working with Pokémon after some sadness in his life. He goes to the city to gather up his father’s assets, but he ends up finding this mysterious gas that causes the Aipoms outside his window to freak out, Pikachu shows up and the adventure begins. Throughout the first half of the movie, Tim isn’t interested in Pokémon, he isn’t interested in following in his father’s footsteps, he just wants to move on with his life so he’s that character that needs to be changed by the events he gets involved in. I think he’s a likable character, he’s a little awkward but brave and shows that in many ways. I think Justice Smith is very likable and I think he was a good choice for the role because he has great chemistry with Ryan Reynolds, even though it’s just his voice lol. I think he also handles being in the world of Pokémon, especially to the big city that is full of Pokémon like any newbie would.
  • Kathryn Newton as Lucy Stevens. She is a junior reporter who is accompanied by a Psyduck. She’s plucky and wants to get to the bottom of the mystery she started to unravel herself before Tim shows up. They end up teaming up because he’s the only one who can save his dad and she’s smart and figured most of it out on her own. I mostly know her from Supernatural and she manages to find this fine line of being annoying and kind of endearing at the same time. It works for her. I liked Lucy, she’s very go-get-em and I loved how she would handle her Psyduck as they are easily stressed and can cause problems.
Pokémon/World Design. This movie is so nice to look at it for the most part. The designs of the Pokémon are done so well with how they’re integrated into the real world, there are plenty of times where I’m like “OMG they’re so cute!” like Pikachu clearly got the most budget because he is the cutest thing and I want one lol. Bulbasaur, Psyduck and the Greninjas are also designed nicely. We see these Pokémon the most so I would think they would get a bit more love than the Pokémon that are in the background. They still have that CGI look to them, but you can allow it because they are so “other” that it’s not too jarring when you see them, or when you see new Pokémon up close or anything like that. Not to mention, Rhyme City is clearly based on London, and they’ve elevated it into a futuristic city.
It’s Funny. Of course, humor is subjective, but I laughed quite a bit during this film. I don’t think it’s splitting your sides funny, but it has a lot of well-handled and well-written humor. I think my favorite scene is probably the one with Mr. Mime because I find Mime humor stupid and hilarious and I cracked up. Ryan Reynolds of course has some great lines and with his delivery in that face it works. Justice Smith and Kathryn Newton also have great funny moments, she really reminds me of like those intense reporters, a Lois Lane type and she just will go off doing her own thing and Tim is just like “Wait… what are you doing?” Then of course interactions with other Pokémon as well. It’s funny lol.
Fun Mystery/Interesting Story. I do think the mystery in the film is handled well. I did find myself figuring things out earlier than the reveals, but also being kind of surprised at certain events. I think the writing is handled well enough that you’re if you’re into the story and you like to discover mysteries, this movie might just keep you on your toes. When I watched it the second time, I was able to pick up on more things I might have missed the first, or things that helped me to connect the dots more since I already knew the ending, so it definitely has rewatch value and the story keeps you entertained and engaged. I mean, there are like three different mysteries going on here. I’ll get into this a bit more later.
Cons:
Ryan Reynolds as Pikachu. This is a personal thing and I don’t think he was bad, quite the contrary, but I could not stand his voice in the character to be honest. Like I said, when I saw the trailers, I was like “ehhh I don’t know” and thought it was weird they chose Reynolds. I probably would have thought it was weird if they chose anyone with a crazy deep voice and I know that’s the point, but I think the difference in having Danny DeVito vs. Reynolds is that DeVito’s voice might have been funnier coming out of the character and most of the younger crowd might not know who he is, and it might not be as distracting. I can’t say I’d want DeVito either but just comparing. Reynolds’ voice takes me out of the movie on several occasions. I watched it twice and it was better the second time around but he’s very distracting because you just think “Deadpool”, while he’s talking. He clearly has fun but whenever he’s being emotional, I just don’t believe him lol. It always sounds like he’s joking. During an emotional scene, I kind of laughed…
Villain Motives/Plans. So, without spoiling anything, though I am a few months late, lol I though the villain’s motives were lame and while I get how he set up his plan, I thought it was stupid because how would you keep anyone from taking that little piece off your head? It’s not like you have top security… not to mention, his big plan with the humans and Pokémon, while it’s interesting, how would that work in the long run? So many questions and too many holes.
Too Many Plotlines. While I thought the story was interesting and the mystery was fun to figure out, I also just like to solve things, I do think the movie has an issue trying to juggle everything. I mean, there is so much going on. It’s hard to want to cut out any of the storylines because they weaved them together. I mean, Mewtwo is in this and does he have to be? I mean really? The power they rely on that he has, he doesn’t even really have. The reason I thought Tim could hear Pikachu was different than what happened, and I think this goes in with the villain’s main plot. I hope I’m not confusing you lol, I’m trying not to spoil but… I just think there could have been some things cut out from the story.
Overall, I quite enjoyed this movie, more than I thought I would. I think the character designs for the Pokémon is handled so well that whenever Pikachu was on screen, I found myself looking at how his fur moved and other things. I like the characters, particularly the ones we get to spend the most time with and I think the acting is good too. It’s a fun movie with some nice humorous moments thrown in there and I think the movie does a good job at focusing on the relationship between Tim and Pikachu because it’s the most important and most interesting. I do still think it’s hard to not be distracted by Ryan Reynold’s voice, but he’s not terrible at least. The villain motive is stupid and dumb and I’m thinking it could have been taking out of the movie, which would have helped the movie have a more focused storyline without so much going on at once. Oh! Missed opportunity for not having the theme song in the closing credits. MISSED OPPORTUNITY.
Rating: 3.6 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Detective Pikachu? What are your thoughts on the film? What is your favorite Pokemon? Let me know in the comments below!

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