The Movie Waffler New Release Review - POKÉMON DETECTIVE PIKACHU | The Movie Waffler


pokemon detective pikachu review
A pint-sized Pokémon and an insurance salesman team up to solve a conspiracy.

Review by Ben Peyton

Directed by: Rob Letterman

Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Justice Smith, Kathryn Newton, Bill Nighy, Ken Watanabe, Suki Waterhouse, Rita Oro

pokemon detective pikachu poster

Firstly, for the uninitiated, some background information:

Originating in Japan and quickly becoming a worldwide marketing phenomenon (primarily through trading cards), Pokémon are an assortment of creatures each with a power unique to them. They can only say their name and are collected and occasionally caught in special balls. They hang out with their human owners, but can also be forced to do battle with each other. A lot of this sounds pretty horrific and downright baffling, but the Pokémon are all okay with this, so you should be too.

pokemon detective pikachu review

On with the review!

Insurance salesman Tim is drifting through life aloof and alone. His mother died when he was young and he chose to live with his grandmother rather than his workaholic father. Shunning the thought of companionship with a Pokémon and preferring his own company, his world is suddenly turned upside down by the disappearance of his dad, a detective in the city of Ryme, a vibrant neon Metropolis where humans and Pokémon coexist peacefully, minus the battles.

Reluctantly pairing up with a pint-sized Pokémon called Pikachu, his father’s police assistant with his own issues to investigate, the two stumble upon a conspiracy that threatens the tranquil life around them and the very existence of the Pokémon world.

pokemon detective pikachu review

As Tim, Justice Smith makes an endearing lead with just the right amount of awkward charm and determination, but it’s the voice work of Ryan Reynolds (channeling a kid-friendly version of his Deadpool persona) as the little yellow ball of fluff, Pikachu, that brings the film to life. For reasons unknown, Tim can understand Pikachu, and their verbal sparring as they attempt to unravel the mystery around them, particularly during a good cop bad cop routine, is a lot of fun.

There are some pacing issues with far too many dialogue heavy scenes breaking up the action. The numerous Pokémon references will perhaps be confusing for those not familiar with this extraordinarily colourful world, but it works as a buddy comedy and is mostly enjoyable.

pokemon detective pikachu review

The supporting cast are all strong with Kathryn Newton’s journalist adding sass and spirit as Tim’s romantic interest. Bill Nighy is underused and it would’ve been nice to have seen more of rising star Chris Geere’s evil Roger Clifford in a role that warranted more screen time.

Not necessarily memorable, but an easy and entertaining watch, Pokémon Detective Pikachu is worth catching while you can.

Pokémon Detective Pikachu is in UK/ROI cinemas May 10th.

2019 movie reviews