REVIEW: Pokemon Detective Pikachu

★★★½ | Zach Hester

As a little kid, I wondered what life might look like if the pocket monsters on the tiny screen of Game Boy Advance were real. Decades later with the release of Pokemon Detective Pikachu, I finally get to see what the unity of Pokemon and people could be in our world. The best part is that it’s on the big screen now. 

Pokemon Detective Pikachu follows Tim Goodman, an early 20s with a sour taste for Pokemon after giving up becoming a trainer due to the death of his mother and his father’s absence. When his father, a detective, seemingly dies, he travels to the metropolis Ryme City, where he encounters a Pikachu…who can talk and understand him. 

The plot of the film is a simple sleuth tale, but it’s wholesome nonetheless. The movie is clearly targeted at people who played Pokemon as a little kid, but remains family-friendly for children now as well. 

Ryan Reynolds is perfect in his role as Pikachu. He provides the majority of the hilarity that ensues through the 105-minute runtime, but also brings a lot of heart to the role. It’s essentially Ryan Reynolds playing Deadpool as Pikachu, without the cursing. 

A common criticism of all video game movies, which typically aren’t viewed with positivity, is that they are more fun to play than watch. For Detective Pikachu, I think the play-watch ratio almost evens out. It’s always going to be fun carving your own path in Pokemon games, but seeing a live-action take is what fans have wanted for some time. 

I have nothing but good things to say about this movie. Maybe it’s because I’m inclined to love the subject material from a topical view but also through the lens of nostalgia. Regardless of the reason, Pokemon Detective Pikachu is the early shot at taking the top spot on my Best of 2019 list. Now, I’m off to find my Nintendo DS and once again, try to catch them all.