Is Detective Pikachu a Shockingly Good Time?

A deeper look on the biggest video game based movie

Jenna Prelle, Staff Writer

The words Detective Pikachu brings up nostalgia for many people, but more specifically the Pikachu part. It reminds many of their own personal experiences with the Pokémon franchise. Whether it was video games, television shows, or collecting cards, Pokémon holds a special place in many people’s hearts. This movie Detective Pikachu certainly lives up to all that in my opinion. The movie follows Tim Goodman, the grown-up kid of a cop and also used to want to be a Pokémon trainer. Tim leaves his small-town life to go to Ryme City after his father who works and lives there is apparently killed in a car accident. Ryme city is known as a place where Pokémon and people live together as equals and there is no Pokémon fighting allowed. Tim goes to the police station where his father worked and then to his father’s apartment to close up the loose ends of his life. In the lobby of the apartment, Tim runs into a girl named Lucy Stevens who is a journalist and is investigating the circumstances around his father’s death along with her Pokémon companion a Psyduck. Although Tim quickly dismisses her and goes up to his dad’s apartment to begin to settle things. At his father’s apartment, Tim discovers a strange vial filled with purple smoke and accidentally opens it. The smoke quickly escapes out the window and has a strange and violent effect on the Aipom Pokémon outside who breathe it in. ​

Tim is interrupted in his task though by a clatter and movement in the apartment. To his disbelief, it’s a Pikachu wearing a detectives hat, but that’s not the weirdest part. The Pikachu can talk and he can understand him. Naturally, Tim freaks out but before he can really come to terms with it the Aipom pack from before who breathed in the mysterious purple smoke burst in through the window and attack. Cut to the Pokémon giving chase as Tim along with Detective Pikachu try to escape them with a few mishaps along the way. Although the pair don’t actually technically escape but rather eventually the enraged Aipom back off and seem to go back to their normal selves. Confused, scared, and a little embarrassed Tim and Detective Pikachu make their way through the streets and crowd talking things out about their strange situation. This mainly consists of Tim asking passers-by if they can understand Pikachu speaking, which sadly for him and his sanity they can not.

The pair make their way to a grungy cafe and sit at the bar where Pikachu explains his situation while chugging mug after mug of coffee. He basically explains that he was Tim’s dad’s partner and survived the accident but now has amnesia so doesn’t know what happened. This is proven by him taking off the Detective hat to reveal Tim’s dad’s name written inside it which is what gave him the clue to go back to the apartment. Pikachu eventually convinces Tim that they need to investigate this and so for their next step they attempt to find Lucy the reporter who seems to know something about the case. They find her at her work where she isn’t actually a reporter but an intern who aspires to be one. She takes them to her “office” and shows them the information that she has gathered so far and gives them the vital location of an apparent informant on the docs that Harry Tim’s father used in his newly revealed investigation of the purple gas. The informant, funnily enough, turns out to be a Pokémon, a Mr.Mime to be exact which leads to hilarity along with the trail continuing on. This leads to the group of Tim, Lucy, Psyduck, and Detective Pikachu all working together to crack the case and follow the leads of their various sometimes confusing clues. This steers the motley crew on the path to discovering not only what has happened to Harry but also the intersection of the mystery of the enraging purple gas and other factors along the way. If you want to know more about the investigation and its results read on to the spoilers section of this review or simply watch the movie yourself, which is currently still in theaters as of today.

Alright now for the actual review portion of this review. Detective Pikachu is an engaging and interesting movie, with a well-paced moving plot of the investigation and the different things that branch out from that. The characters in the movie Pokemon and human alike are well characterized and quickly have you caring about them and what happens to them. I specifically thought Pikachu himself was done very well, he was fun and likable character and not really what you’d expect a Pikachu to be like but in a good way. Ryan Reynolds as the voice actor for Pikachu was a great choice and definitely improved the experience of viewing and listening to his character but of course who could forget the CGI Pokémon roaming around and interacting with the people within the film. The more “realistic” and less cartoony designs really worked for the various Pokémon, still keeping them looking like themselves but in addition to that making them feel like they could actually be real. Plus it was just nifty seeing them in this realistic lifelike format.

I’ve never played the Detective Pikachu game that the movie is based off of so I can’t really compare them, but from what I hear they match up with each other or at least keep the spirit of one another pretty well. I enjoyed how they developed certain Pokémon characters personalities even though they couldn’t speak in a way we could understand, they did this through how they acted and reacted to things within the film and plot. The plot was a little predictable, leaving some of the twists easily guessable but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing and it didn’t make it boring or not worth watching in my opinion. Detective Pikachu is a humorous movie, with a lot of good and sometimes not-so-good jokes peppered in throughout. It was just a really fun movie to watch and sit though. I’d definitely recommend this movie to fans of the Pokémon franchise on nostalgia points alone but I don’t have to because it actually has an enjoyable premise and plot. Also, in general I’d recommend it to anyone and everyone who likes a good not quite so gritty detective movie or just wants to watch something enjoyable. Essentially it’s a good movie and whoever you are and if you’re interested you should go out to see it.


I’ll start off with the twist of the founder of the city that’s supposedly all for peace and love between Pokémon and humans actually being the main villain behind everything. It’s interesting to think back on the foreshadowing much earlier into the film about his motivations too. But I haven’t even talked about what exactly happened with the mystery. Basically, everything revolves around Mewtwo who can pull a body switch and put human consciousnesses into a Pokémon. It didn’t really explain what happened to the Pokémon’s mind though when the humans would take over, so that’s concerning and maybe even a possible plot hole. But anyways the main villain used Mewtwo because he was sick and in a wheelchair and wanted to have his old body back, which in turn lead him to think the very rational thought that chillin’ in a Pokémon body was a tremendous idea. But in fact, as the movie demonstrated, it was not a good plan for moral and technical reasons.

Also, as everyone or at least most of those I saw the movie with predicted, Ryan Reynolds is Tim’s mysterious not so dead father. But let me backtrack a second, it turns out Mewtwo didn’t hurt Harry but rather saved his life from the main villain and transferred his consciousness into his Pokémon companion the Pikachu. So all this time in the search of his estranged father Tim is actually traveling with him. I thought that was a nice if expected twist of events that made their interactions more meaningful, considering Tim grew to like Pikachu or rather his father even though he holds a grudge against him.  Since Ryan Reynolds voiced Detective Pikachu it only makes sense now that he plays Tim’s non-Pokémon father. I just really liked that aspect of it and thought it was a pretty neat touch. There are certainly more twists and turns and cool moments within the film Detective Pikachu that I haven’t talked about or covered that took place in this movie. So as I’ve said before and as I’ll say again whoever you are you should go out and watch the new movie Detective Pikachu. It’s fun to watch, has good characters, and an engaging plot, so go out there and watch it (if you want to).