It was never going to be great, but the way the creative team behind the production have handled the picture is both excellently professional and wonderfully fun
Predicting exactly what form Detective Pikachu would take was easy for both fans of cinema and fans of the franchise. Acting as the clear opening to the live action Pokemon world, this was a film that needed to set ground rules, whilst cramming in as many references and ideas related to the franchise as possible; and absolutely did it do that. It was never going to be great, but the way the creative team behind the production have handled the picture is both excellently professional and wonderfully fun.
Insurance salesman Tim Goodman (Justice Smith) is dragged to Ryme City when his distant police officer father goes missing on a case. Finding himself lost in a city inhabited by Pokemon and humans living in harmony, Tim befriends Lucy Stevens (Kathryn Newton) and a talking Pikachu (Ryan Reynolds) as they hunt for his missing father.
More than anything, Detective Pikachu is a particularly competent film. It’s understanding of its limitations and it’s chance with the world’s biggest franchise is compelling. By taking a simplistic mystery story and using Pokémon as the drive, in both the plot and the excitement, the feature does become a real crowd-pleaser. It is a very good balance from a director not necessarily known for his live action features.
However, Detective Pikachu won’t be exempt from criticism for the exact same reasons. There’s definitely an element of dumbing the film down, offering an easily solvable case with nothing really for its older audience, those who grew up with Pokémon from the beginning, except for the strong sense of nostalgia. This means if the Pokémon were taken out of the film, maybe adding Digimon in their place, this would be an entirely different beast. The story is certainly not good enough to hold the film on its own.
Yet Detective Pikachu does have these Pokémon, and it does have the support of the franchise and freedom to do essentially whatever it wants. Meaning in the the form of its release, Detective Pikachu is as good as anyone could have hoped for. And for the world’s highest-grossing media franchise of all time, that’s not a position to shy away from.
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