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Pikachu

Pokemon: Detective Pikachu (2019)

Pokemon ventures into the live action realm that’s popular lately with Detective Pikachu. It’s loosely based on the 3DS title of the same name, though there are quite a few changes to the plot and characters. The film follows Tim Goodman who teams up with a talking Pikachu, voiced by Ryan Reynolds as a wisecracking PG Deadpool. They set out to solve the mystery of Tim’s father’s death but end up unraveling a larger conspiracy.

The general plot is pretty straight forward and predictable. There are very few real twists and none of them feel particularly shocking, even probably the biggest one that happens at the end. The trip though is pretty fun. There are quite a few funny jokes and moments, the Mr. Mime Sequence shown in the trailers is pretty great, and pretty dark in it’s humor, for example. There is a lot of “Loony Tunes” style humor, that is, jokes that are funny for kids and adults but for different reasons.

It’s visually well done. The live action Pokemon all are very recognizable, and look pretty good in their “flesh and blood” style. The little Easter egg moments and little bits of Pokemon doing things in the background that really make the world feel alive. The city where this movie is set is, by way of the plot, special. Special because it’s dedicated to helping Pokemon and people live together in harmony, so there isn’t any battling or people throwing Pokeballs around. Everyone has a “buddy” Pokemon and they all work together to do their jobs.

Pretty much all of the flaws land in the 3rd act, when the villain is revealed, and his motives are a little dodgy, which makes the whole thing feel kind of odd. It’s executed well, it just could have been better. It’s also not particularly groundbreaking in any meaningful way. It’s essentially Rodger Rabbit with Pokemon.

It’s a good movie, it’s not an amazing movie. It does a good job at what it sets out to be.

Additional Spoiler Thoughts Beyond Beyond This Point

In tradition of how I tend to do reviews, I’m going to add a few additional thoughts that contain spoilers below. Read at your own risk.

So, like I said, it’s a lot of “predictable” so most of this will be about the endgame bits of the movie. So, the main villain Twist. This was probably the one real surprising twist, though it’s been done before so it wasn’t really shocking. Also, he’s not a huge actor, but you don’t pick up Bill Nighy to waste him on a throw away character in a wheelchair. That said, why the hell did he want to merge everyone with their Pokemon, aside from being “crazy evil guy”? I get why he wanted to do himself, but forcing it on everyone felt a little random and out there.

Not to mention it felt underused in it’s execution. Basically, all the humans vanished and the Pokemon all just sort of stood around doing nothing. This would have been a prime opportunity to do a few gags about the Human/Pokemon not knowing how to act or what to do. Especially say, Yoshida and Lucy, whom we have watched throughout the movie and can relate to.

This plot point also made the second twist of Tim’s father being Pikachu extremely predictable as well. Actually using Ryan Reynolds was a nice touch. It kind of sucks that they can’t really make a sequel with Ryan Reynolds Pikachu though, not without retreading the same plot ground.

A few other thoughts, the Torterra scene felt really pointless. The Greninja could have injured Pikachu and moved the plot ahead in the same way. I mean it was kind of neat seeing the massive Pokemons, but they basically just stood up and laid back down into the scenery. I guess the writers decided they needed an action sequence for the film.

Speaking of the action sequences, the other two Action scenes were both pretty good. Pikachu vs Charizard was cool, though Pikachu didn’t really DO anything. the final Mewtwo vs Pikachi was good but the whole Evil Ditto bit was what really made that scene. Plus it was a nice way to push the twist with the Father instead of the Son being the villain. Since the Son actually did something useful in the fight.