Detective Pikachu Review: A Joyful Experience

Usually, when a video game transitions to the big screen, the transition results into some sort of abomination that somewhat sounds like the video games we have come to love.  So naturally, I was very concerned about how well this movie was going to turn out.  Luckily this movie was every bit the Pokemon experience I desired and I’ll explain why.

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The movie is about the main character, Tim, finding out his detective father has died; however, after finding his father’s partner Pikachu, Tim realizes that his father is alive and goes on a hunt for answers.  Throughout this adventure, we get to see how well the Pokemon look on the big screen and I thought they all looked amazing.  It was like being a kid again and watching Pokemon for the first time as I stared at the pigey flying in the sky. It took a lot to not just yell the names of all the Pokemon scattered in the background of each scene.

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The plot and the characters are actually really simplistic, which is exactly what this movie needed.  Tim is kind of annoying and hard to get attached to, and I honestly can’t remember the names of most of the human supporting cast, but I’m perfectly fine with that.  The way the characters all interacted with each other created so many enjoyable moments that had me laughing at the end of my seat.  So while I didn’t care about the characters, I did enjoy their experiences.  Pikachu has so much charm and Ryan Reynold’s performance really pulled this movie together.  His ability to pull off funny quick comments worked very well for inserting random bouts of humor into so many parts of the movie.  You will laugh at so many points in this movie.

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The story does do one thing extremely well and that is misdirection. The movie keeps leaning into so many directions as to what happened to Tim’s dad and does a fantastic job at keeping you from figuring out the exact truth.  It lends to a great moment of realization at the end of the movie that created an enjoyable conclusion.

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The movie does a great job at providing subtle and non-subtle nods to Pokemon lore that provide a great experience.  A lot of the music in the movie has hints of tunes that you hear from Pokemon games so when you hear familiar notes it ignites the part of me that loved the Pokemon games from their beginning to today.  Other references include the weakness of Magikarp versus the power of its evolution, Gyarados, and tie backs to things like the origin of Mewtwo and the Kanto region.

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To really sum up this review.  Do not go into this movie thinking you are going to watch this complex narrative with characters that you are going to be emotionally invested in.  Instead, realize that Pokemon is all about feeling joyful at the end of any Pokemon experience, and this movie does that perfectly.  I left this movie feeling absolutely happy and relaxed, just like I have with any Pokemon game.  In my opinion, leaving a Pokemon experience feeling calm and carefree is exactly what Pokemon is all about. The characters are not really all that special but it’s still fun to watch them all together and the whole movie came together well and created an amazing experience.  This is a must watch for Pokemon fans and the humor and feel-good aspects of this movie work well for people who haven’t been invested in the Pokemon lore.

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