Pokémon: Detective Pikachu is at its most enjoyable when it allows us to live in the moments that demonstrate what makes the IP so unique, whether that means characters are trying to catch wild Pokémon, battling Pokémon, or happening across new and exciting species of Pokémon during their journey. Unfortunately, those moments are few and far between as the film spends most of its time exploring a thinly conceived missing persons mystery and largely through some pretty unexceptional characters.
At its core is a disappointingly lazy mystery. The titular crime solving rodent is shockingly inept at his job, despite his admirable dedication to uncovering the truth behind his partner Harry Goodman’s disappearance. Meanwhile, Tim (Justice Smith), Harry’s son, pouts about for two-thirds of the film like a sad wet blanket who’s given up on his dreams and doesn’t care about finding out what happened to his father.
It isn’t until Tim runs into Lucy (Kathryn Newton), an aspiring news reporter in Ryme City, that he decides to hunt down his father. Lucy is cartoonishly obsessed with the story of Harry’s disappearance and insists that there is more going on than meets the eye. With Lucy everywhere she goes is her faithful Poké–companion Psyduck, a lumbering, squealing duck who unleashes a fury of psychic energy whenever its headaches get too bad.
Walking out of Detective Pikachu, I found myself asking a lot of questions related to the film’s plot. There is so much going on during the movie that I had no time to devote myself to thinking through how certain things worked as the runtime ticked away. Almost all of that can be blamed on the fact that the rules of the world aren’t well established. Most of Director Rob Letterman’s (Goosebumps) movie is concerned with uninterestingly explaining the mystery that so lethargically pulls the film along.
Fortunately, Ryan Reynolds as Detective Pikachu is consistently good for a chuckle, although I’m not sure how much of that is just statistics. Much like Reynolds’s Deadpool, Pikachu talks so much in this film that mathematically he is bound to land on something that makes you smile, at least once in a while.
Pokémon: Detective Pikachu does eventually pick up in the third act. The action set pieces open up to a larger, more exciting scale and the relationship between Tim and Pikachu ultimately earns a sincere emotional reaction.
⭐️⭐️⭐️ (out of five)
Have you see Pokémon: Detective Pikachu? If so, what did you think? Do you agree with my review or are you of a different opinion? Fly down to the comments section and let me know what you think!