Once upon a time comic book movies were hugely hit or miss. Sure you had your diamonds in the rough like Blade, X-Men or Batman '89. Yet, you also had your rough journeys through Captain America '90, Hulk & Spider-Man 3. It's hard to remember but before the days of Christopher Nolan & the MCU; the industry was not what it was now. In the same breathe, video game adaptations on film have been cursed. With the few exceptions of Lara Croft: Tomb Raider & Mortal Kombat - video game movies have been notoriously panned and hated by most fans & critics alike. With the success of comic book movies, it seems Hollywood has tried to break the mold on the next big movement: video game movies. The curse, though, may have just lifted.
Enter Detective Pikachu and its fictional setting of Ryme City; a city where Pokemon & humans go coexist in harmony. The film's main protagonist, Tim, is on the hunt to find his missing father with the help of a Pikachu who can understand him. Tim is played by Justice Smith, of last year's Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. Pikachu is voiced by Ryan Reynolds of Deadpool fame. It is worth noting that Smith is reluctant to want anything to do with Pokemon.
That's where we start our journey with Pikachu and Tim. One in need of a friendship, the other a loner and wanting to keep it that way. It’s a very interesting dynamic that is presented between Reynolds and Smith. Not only do the two have electricity between one another. Side note: sorry had to make a Pikachu pun in here somewhere. The relationship is so natural. It evolves and unfolds in a beautiful and marvelous way. There's a quieter scene between the characters that's really a turning point for their relationship.
It's those moments that are really the heartbeat of the movie. Moments of heart and depth. When Smith's Tim makes his way back to his father's apartment, following his disappearance, there are flashback sequences beautifully giving depth to the character. Even in the film's climatic ending, it has traces of the heart and depth you wouldn't necessarily be expecting from a Pokémon movie. That's honestly one of the best surprises- the amount of heart it carries. Even moments that could leave viewers wanting to tear up within this world of monsters.
Warning about the exploration of this world, though, is the detail of this world. From the fur of Pikachu and Psyduck to the scales of Charizard or the smooth skin of Bulbasaur. This world is filled with wonder and detail crafting a visually stunning experience from start to finish. Visuals aside, Pikachu has several strengths to it. Storytelling is an impressive feat for this blockbuster. Pacing itself to never feel rushed or suffocated. Always giving its scenes purpose and constantly pushing the film forward.
Pikachu does falls into the same traps that Halloween fell into last year. Crafting such a wonderous environment but falling into some pretty cliché moments. Which sadly in turn creates some predictability to the film.
Overall, Detective Pikachu, is the video game movie we've been waiting for. Crafting a visually appealing world with amazing attention to detail. It's a well-paced and well-acted film with terrific pacing, heart and humor. Though embracing some tropes create predictable moments. Detective Pikachu is in a class all its own.
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