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Pokémon Detective Pikachu Movie Review - Adorable and Confusing

A world where Pokémon and humans live together becomes problematic.

Reviewed by on May 08, 2019
Rating: 3 Star Rating

Kidzworld took in Pokémon Detective Pikachu. Ryan Reynolds successfully voices the adorable little yellow guy but is this enough? Is the story a bit confusing? Check out our movie review.

By: Lynn Barker

In Pokémon Detective Pikachu, humans and Pokémon live happily together as “partners” mostly in Ryme City. When his detective dad Harry appears to have died in a car wreck, unhappy insurance appraiser Tim (Justice Smith) goes to the city to wrap things up. Instead, inside dad’s apartment, he finds Pikachu (voice of Ryan Reynolds), his dad’s former Pokémon partner who is suffering from amnesia but seems to believe dad isn’t dead.  After reluctantly teaming up with would-be reporter Lucy Stevens (Kathryn Newton) Tim and Pikachu, whom, for some reason, only Tim can hear speak in complete English sentences, set out to find dad, confronting danger and solving mysteries in the process.

Pokémon Detective Pikachu Trailer


Tim and Pikachu confront a mysteryTim and Pikachu confront a mysteryCourtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Creature Escape

In a secret lab deep in the woods, something goes horribly wrong, releasing some kind of dangerous, large creature who ends up forcing an escaping car off a bridge to crash below.

Tim and Pikachu investigateTim and Pikachu investigateCourtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Is Dad Dead?

After he is unsuccessful at trying to catch a Pokémon in the wild, lonely insurance appraiser Tim Goodman gets a phone call from police telling him his detective dad Harry has been in a fatal car accident. Distraught, Tim takes a train to Ryme City where dad lived and was on a case. We learn that after Pokémon battles in the past, industrialist Howard Clifford (Bill Nighy) created the city for Pokémon and humans to live a peaceful co-existence. Tim, who used to want to be a Pokémon trainer as a kid, finds all the partnerships in the city annoying. After talking with Harry’s police lieutenant friend Yoshida (Ken Watanabe) he learns that both dad and his Pokémon partner were killed in the crash.

Lieutenant Yoshida shows Tim how the accident happenedLieutenant Yoshida shows Tim how the accident happenedCourtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures


Entering dad’s apartment building, Tim is confronted by would-be reporter Lucy Stevens and her Psyduck Pokémon. She tells him that his dad was into some big story and she is going to find out what. Inside, Tim discovers Pikachu who is looking for clues to his own identity. He was dad’s Pokémon partner, wasn’t killed in the crash but has no real memory. He just knows he is a first-class detective as his Sherlock Holmes hat would indicate. Tim finds a vial of purple liquid, opens it and a purple smoke fills the room and goes out the window. Tim finds a 21st birthday card dad meant to mail to him with a ticket inside asking him to come and visit…live with dad. Tim cries. He wasn’t sure dad loved him. Tim and Pikachu are attacked by angry Pokémon critters entering through the window. The smoke had something to do with this. Pikachu is sure Harry isn’t dead. Will Tim help him investigate?

Tim first discovers Pikachu in his dad's apartmentTim first discovers Pikachu in his dad's apartmentCourtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Teaming Up

Tim, Pikachu, Lucy and her duck Pokémon team up to investigate the purple vials of smoke and whether or not dad Harry is actually dead.  After a confrontation with a Mime Pokémon informant at a warehouse, Tim and partners head for an underground Pokémon Battle club where Pikachu must have a re-match with a large, fire-breathing Charizard. Pikachu has forgotten how to use his electrical powers and is losing. A ton of the purple “R” smoke is released making all of the Pokémon in the audience angry and attacking.

Howard Clifford convinces Tim of son Roger's guiltHoward Clifford convinces Tim of son Roger's guiltCourtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Finally, the team is taken to wheelchair-bound Clifford who says his son Roger (Chris Geere) is the bad guy, wanting to destroy Pokémon.  The giant creature escaping from the lab was Mewtwo. Dad escaped from the wreck but Mewtwo took him.

Pikachu is losing the battle with the CharizardPikachu is losing the battle with the CharizardCourtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Trip to the Lab

Tim and team learn that Pokémon were being genetically altered at the secret lab run by Roger. They go there where Tim watches one version of the car crash on a holographic projection. Dad survived the crash! The purple smoke was made from giant Mewtwo. Harry had been hired to track this info and Mewtwo down. After escaping after Roger learns they are there, Tim, Pikachu, Lucy and her “duck” escape danger caused by more fantastical Pokémon gone wild but Pikachu is badly injured. Healing him is….Mewtwo!

Lucy, Tim and their Pokemons on the way to the labLucy, Tim and their Pokemons on the way to the labCourtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Who is the Bad Guy and Where is Dad?

Who is really the bad guy here? Is Mewtwo good or evil? Did dad Harry live after the car crash? How did Pikachu lose his memory? Will Tim, Pikachu and Lucy ever get to the bottom of dad’s disappearance? Can they keep the purple “R” compound from altering peaceful Pokémon creatures?

Lucy, Tim and Pikachu see giant MewtwoLucy, Tim and Pikachu see giant MewtwoCourtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Wrapping Up

Pokémon Detective Pikachu is packed with colorful and creative action and beyond adorbs creatures. Whether or not you are familiar with the Pokémon Universe (you might have played the Pokémon Go! game in the not-too-distant past), you will find these critters lovable or at least interesting.

Lucy and Psyduck hope to find HarryLucy and Psyduck hope to find HarryCourtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Ryan Reynolds steals the show as the voice of furry, yellow Pikachu. His zippy one-liners are witty, ironic and, since Reynolds was fitted with motion capture gear, many of the cute Pokémon’s facial expressions are spot on and win our hearts. You will also feel empathy for the Tim character as Justice Smith (from the last Jurassic World movie) plays him.

Pikachu is sure he's a crack detectivePikachu is sure he's a crack detectiveCourtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

The over-packed, convoluted, over-complicated storyline is where the film fails. It is difficult to keep track of who is running the show and why as action scenes buzz by without much explanation. If you can just shine on these failings and enjoy the frenetic fuzzy, scaly and super cute Pokémon action, you will be glad you took in the film.  It is available in 3-D although we just saw it on a very large screen.

Pikachu has an over-the-top cuteness factorPikachu has an over-the-top cuteness factorCourtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Considering the cuteness factor and Ryan Reynold’s effective voice performance, we can manage to award three stars.

Pokémon Detective Pikachu Movie Rating: 3

Pokémon Detective Pikachu Movie PosterCourtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

See Pokémon Detective Pikachu in theaters Friday, May 10th

Where do you stand on Pokémon?

Were you into Pokémon games and creatures when you were younger? Still love them? Couldn’t care less? Get the conversation going with a comment below and/or on your Kidzworld page!