Does this new benign blockbuster (largely live-action) featuring the voice of Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool 2, Definitely, Maybe) as the titular character really make a lick of sense? Hardly, but Rob Letterman (Goosebumps) knows how to texture this colorfully, peppy adventure for a digital age and a tween audience into the escapism that its magical creatures provide. While making them eager to revisit the game which started it all some seventeen years ago.
Pokémon: Detective Pikachu has plenty of irresistible verve on its mind in relating a parallel-reality where humans have those hued, usually furry folks as attendants. In almost a nod to Who Framed Roger Rabbit? Justice Smith’s college-graduate Tim hones in on the metropolis where his sleuth dad perished in a car accident. Tim’s without a Pokémon and is flabbergasted about being able to comprehend his dad’s skeptical yellow Pikachu (filled with ad-lib wit that dominated the aforementioned anti-hero also known as Wade Wilson though hardly as crude).
Their appraisal will require a journalist Lucy (a doughty, if tepid Kathryn Newton) whose under the towering news conglomerate owned by Bill Nighy’s Howard and Chris Geere’s Roger, his son who appear to have an odious streak up their sleeves. Letterman sets in motion a mystery where a greater antagonist arises in Mewtwo, a revitalized ultra-Pokémon produced by a hard-to-read scientist (Rita Ora).
Galvanic sequences will unfold around idiosyncratic creations, including looking-back occurrences and holographic images. Christopher Nolan should get a nod for at least overlapping setting filled with imperiled entropy as it’s clear much of the budget went into effects. Finally, the human and Pokémon folks will partake in a hectic salutatory cavalcade with the escalation imparting a little lax notions of their interrelations, as well as those of the warped familial variety.
If this latest incarnation isn’t the gleeful, preposterous romp that their younger counterparts hold in high regard, Detective Pikachu could be an incessant, very unnecessary exercise in contrast to what legions of Marvel aficionados experienced with the emotive, epic-length box-office colossus Avengers: Endgame. Yet, for its imagery and mayhem against a dotty narrative it may defy certain beliefs especially in how the forlorn, if pleasant Smith bonds with a cute, furry, even frisky critter.