A Slow Start with A Killer Finish
Detective Pikachu is the perfect nostalgia trip for any Pokemon fan that has been waiting for a live action Pokemon movie since they were a kid. While Detective Pikachu certainly isn’t the route that people would’ve expected to kick off what we can only assume will be a cinematic universe of live-action Pokemon movies, it certainly delivers that nostalgia aspect in a satisfying way, showing what these adorable (and terrifying) creatures would look like in the real world.
Looking behind the smoke and mirrors of the nostalgia, however, Detective Pikachu starts out as a mediocre movie. The first 20 minutes is ridden with poor character introductions and some horribly told exposition. While exposition is certainly important in a movie that’s introducing audiences to a brand new world, Detective Pikachu rams it down your throat like a plunger in a clogged toilet. Whether you like it or not, that exposition is coming straight at you, and believe me, it won’t be gentle about it.
As the movie goes on, many moments feel rather dull. While the action and the Pokemon are certainly cool, many of the plot points feel inconclusive, with the characters seemingly forgetting certain aspects of the mystery until it is convenient for them to remember them again. However, this mediocrity does not last. The further along the movie goes, the more entertaining and compelling it becomes. By the time the third act rolls around, most audience members should find themselves truly invested in the plot and the characters in a stunning and fun finale that doesn’t seem to stop surprising.
While the movie certainly saved the best for last, some of the surprises should have been spread out throughout the rest of the movie rather than throwing everything in at once and only leaving breadcrumbs of the plot for the first hour to use. This doesn’t mean that the movie had a bad plot at all, as it’s certainly a well thought out mystery with plenty of twists and turns. The lack of depth during the first hour isn’t too horrible if you’re watching the movie for the first time, but it will certainly take away from the enjoyment if you’re watching the movie for a second time, as you’ll be having to deal with over an hour of stretched-out mediocrity before getting to the real girth of the narrative.
The real selling point of Detective Pikachu is its two stars, Ryan Reynolds and Justice Smith. Both actors give hilarious performances that entertain the audience, and by the end of the movie, has the audience completely hooked in emotionally. Ryan Reynolds’s performance is certainly enhanced by the adorableness of Pikachu, who gives the audience the same warmness in their hearts as seeing a box full of kittens for nearly every shot he is in.
Detective Pikachu manages to take what fans already know and enjoy about the Pokemon lore and subvert it in new and entertaining ways. While it takes a while for it to get there, the movie has a strong plot, supported by a great ensemble cast and a plethora of truly adorable CGI creatures. This latest release from Warner Bros. Pictures could be the start to a truly entertaining and heartwarming cinematic universe.