Review: ‘Pokémon Detective Pikachu’ Is Lackluster

Although Pokémon Detective Pikachu has moments where it’s visually appealing, nobody should be subjected to sitting through this tedious mess. While I completely get that if you have a super Pokémon fan in the house, nothing will convince them that this “film” ( and I use the term rather lightly) isn’t worth the price of admission. Did director Rob Letterman feel that if these revered creatures (the Pokémon) were on the screen that the rest would take care of itself? Was adding Ryan Reynolds into the film as the voice of Pikachu just a last ditch effort to pump life into a limp script? The thing with a movie like this is their primary objective should have been to try and bring in those casual fans of the series while appealing to those (like myself) who don’s know a darn thing about Pokémon.

Pokémon Detective Pikachu

KATHRYN NEWTON as Lucy Stevens, Psyduck, Detective Pikachu (RYAN REYNOLDS) and JUSTICE SMITH as Tim Goodman in Legendary Pictures’ and Warner Bros. Pictures’ comedy adventure “POKÉMON DETECTIVE PIKACHU,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.

Instead, Dan Hernandez and Benji Samit’s narrative was more like fan fiction than a plot to a film. Every beat in the movie was nothing more than an excuse to set up an appearance of yet another Pokémon. While I’ll admit at first seeing creatures like the Snorlax (a sleeping Pokémon) passed out in the middle of traffic did elicit a chuckle, it got old real quick. The premise of the film was Tim Goodman’s (Smith) rejection of all things Pokémon and the strange circumstances surrounding the death of his father, Harry.  As Tim makes into Rhyme City, he’s immediately cornered by Lucy Stevens (Kathryn Newton) who is supposed to be a reporter but isn’t one which serves little purpose in moving the plot forward.

Pokémon Detective Pikachu

(L-R) Detective Pikachu (RYAN REYNOLDS) and JUSTICE SMITH as Tim Goodman in Legendary Pictures’, Warner Bros. Pictures’ and The Pokémon Company’s comedy adventure “POKÉMON DETECTIVE PIKACHU,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.

The film is one hour and forty-four minutes long but in reality feels longer than Avengers: Endgame. At about an hour into this screening, I found myself not caring what happened to anyone in the film and wishing that Tim would go back to being an insurance salesman (which is what he was before this mystery fell into his lap). While I understand how cool it is to bring these creatures to life and that superfans will be downright giddy  (trust me… I heard them whooping it up in our screening), at some point, you have to ask what the point of all of this is? Now, some might argue that it’s a movie geared towards kids and if that’s true then why choose the dialogue they did? Now, I’m not saying that Reynolds is going full Deadpool during the film, but he certainly walks a fine line at times.

The tragedy of Pokémon Detective Pikachu is if they had a better writing team or took more of whimsical approach to building this cinematic universe, it would have been a far more enjoyable experience for everyone in the theater. However, what we are left with is a moviegoing experience which that alienated most of us in the theater and left me enraged that I wasted my time watching the film.

'Pokémon Detective Pikachu'
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