“Should I talk about the fact that your childhood bed is a Pikachu bed?”
The coffee-guzzling sleuth. The femme fatale-light reporter. The neon-soaked shadowy streets. Detective Pikachu has all the makings of a hard-boiled noir whodunnit…only with an adorable Pokémon enthusiastically voiced by Ryan Reynolds at the centre, rather than Humphrey Bogart. It’s a combination of character-driven mystery and cutesy fun which works surprisingly well, held together by genuine heart and emotion which comes courtesy of the lead pairing of Reynolds’ Pikachu and his new partner Tim (Justice Smith). They unite through loss, connect through a shared goal, and bond over a spot of torture (yes, really).
Their haphazard detective work brings consistent laughs for the first half, and it’s just regrettable that it somewhat falls to the wayside as the story unravels. In its place comes a far more generic CGI-filled romp. And while Pikachu himself translates perfectly to the live-action setting, the Mewtwos, Charizards and Torterras of the world don’t fare quite as successfully. The Pokémon-fronted action sequences are a real weak point, particularly the all too brief final battle, this not helped by the film’s underwhelming villain. Because sometimes the mystery is better than the reveal.
Rating (out of 5):