When you think of Pokemon, you naturally think of Pikachu. The furry yellow Pokemon has basically always been the face of the franchise. Even if you know nothing about Pokemon, you likely know who Pikachu is. So it should be no surprise that Pikachu is now the star of its very own movie, Detective Pikachu. The movie is a live action romp into the world of a young man named Tim (played by Justice Smith) who pairs up with Pikachu (voiced by Ryan Reynolds) to solve a mystery.
While a lot of kids love Pikachu, a lot of parents may be wondering if the film is kid friendly. Read on for our review!
As someone who knows nothing about Pokemon, it was hard to understand exactly what to expect from the trailer for the film. Detective Pikachu is based on a Pokemon universe game where you play as Pikachu's partner to solve mysteries.
At the beginning of the film, Tim Goodman is a typical young man, working a dead end job but content with his life. His friend takes him to try and capture his own Pokemon, but it goes awry. After outrunning the Pokemon, Tim discovers that there's been an accident, and he must return to Ryme City, a place he hasn't been in years that carries a lot of baggage.
Ryme City is a metro city created by businessman Howard Clifford (played by the legendary Bill Nighy) as a utopia for humans and Pokemon to live together. Tim's estranged dad Harry Goodman is a detective for the Ryme City Police Department who has died working on a case. Tim has to tie together the loose ends of his father's life, even though they haven't seen each other in many years. On his first night in town, he meets unpaid intern and hopeful journalist Lucy who is investigating the accident and Harry Goodman's last case.
When Tim is looking around the apartment, he hears scuffling, and Pikachu is revealed. Donning an old school detective's hat, Pikachu has no memory, but finds Harry's information written inside of his hat. Since every human in Ryme City has a Pokemon partner, Pikachu and Tim figure out that he must have been Harry's. They also discover that Tim can understand Pikachu when he talks — everyone else only hears him say "Pika Pika." Reluctantly, Tim agrees to help Pikachu try to regain his memory and solve the mystery around his father's death.
Without giving up too much more of the plot, the film really becomes a live action mystery. Some of the typical tropes exist: corrupt businessman, science experiments gone wrong, cute girl sidekick. But at its core, Detective Pikachu has so much heart you don't care. Throughout his quest to solve his father's disappearance and death, Tim is forced to confront a lot of the things he's been holding onto throughout his adolescence.
Without a doubt, Detective Pikachu is actually a good film for families to see together. Kids under five may lose interest quickly, but older kids will love seeing all the Pokemon running around. True to his character, Pikachu is adorable and even with Ryan Reynolds' very obvious voice, is still incredibly endearing. Seeing a Squirtle or Charmander in 3D is kind of wild, but they've managed to make them just as cute in live action as they are animated. The film's action scenes advance the plot and aren't just thrown in for the sake of film making.
Adults will love the film for its emotional beats. In Tim's quest to find his father, he finds a part of himself that he had long buried. You wouldn't expect this kind of emotional depth from a movie about Pokemon, but this movie is nothing if not unexpected. If you're a fan of Pokemon, the film will not disappoint. But even if you're not (like me) you will enjoy the film immensely. Certain themes are universal, and the filmmakers understood that.
Detective Pikachu is rated PG. Catch it in theaters starting on Friday, May 10th.