Monday 3 June 2019

Detective Pikachu ★★★★☆

What is it about Pokémon that makes people just love them all, all the time. The original Gameboy games, card game and anime were more important to me than exam results, eating food or developing enough social skills that the highlight of my 30s isn't a Pokémon movie.  I've such strong memories of the first time I chose my starter (Charmander) and that terrible time when I accidentally transferred my EXP Share to Pete on Pokémon Emerald. I went to see the original movie the day it came out and got a special shiny Pikachu, and now 20 years later, I went to see Detective Pikachu starring Ryan Reynolds.

Tim's father has been found dead after an accident that we see is due to famed ventriloquist Mewtwo escaping from a sphere and doing a massive Mewpoo all over the place. Tim, a failed Pokémon trainer who had about as much luck with building a connection with Pokémon as I did with women at the same age, almost gets his ass handed to him by a Cubone.  Tim gets a phone call on a phone that looks like a DS Lite, and has to go and clear out his newly dead Dad's effects from his apartment, and therein meets Detective Pikachu. Pikachu has amnesia, a relatable coffee addiction, and is convinced Tim's Dad, is still alive and wants to help him solve the case.  Imagine a very talkative small, yellow and furry Humphrey Bogart with ADHD, I bet off camera Pikachu is smoking all the time. 

Justice Smith (Tim) and Kathryn Newton (Lucy) do a solid job at having that anime protagonist team vibe, that is very reminiscent of Ash and Misty respectively. Lucy even has a thick as shit Psyduck that's ready to have a catastrophic headache at any moment.  They take a little weight off the little yellow shoulders of Ryan Reynolds so he isn't carrying the whole movie, which he easily could. Reynolds is incredibly..Ryan Reynolds, so much so that the film feels like it could easily be a PG dream that Deadpool is having somewhere between executions.

The first gen fan service, especially in relation to the original TV show, is all over the place in a good way. It's a solid movie for anyone who enjoys simple kids movies with relatively predictable plots, but if you go in as an OG Pokémon fan, you'll be eating up every ounce of every scene. The only thing that's a bit missing, is the climax feels like there is about to be a Dragonball Z level fight and it just never quite happens, which sucks, as a city-destroying explosive battle reminiscent of the end of Endgame (spoiler alert) would have been outstanding. 

Mewtwo is back, Charmanders are all over the place, Bulbasaurs are adorable and a very brief Pokémon battle between Magikarp and Charizard will have you clapping your hands with glee. It's a must-see for Pokémon fans, and I am blinded by my fandom, so I've no idea if it's watchable if you don't know anything about the franchise, but I think it's pretty solid for kids and any man/woman/other that has a nostalgia gland that needs rubbed off. 

David Roberts

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