Detective Pikachu review *SPOILER WARNING*

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Detective Pikachu is the most intellectually insulting movie I’ve seen all year. I’ve seen most video game movies and most of us have seen one, and in a world where only video game movies exist “Detective Pikachu” would be “Citizen Kane,” but we don’t live in that awful world so “Detective Pikachu” is a really bad movie.

Most people over the age of 10 who go out to see this movie aren’t going for the story though; they’re going for the visuals, and the visuals are phenomenal. The best tell to the quality of the movie was the absolute dead silence that permeated the theater throughout the film, no cheers, no jeers, just complete radio silence because we all knew why we were there, not to see a movie but to see Pokemon come alive. “Detective

Pikachu” is a visual marvel, and a narrative mess.

There is only one reason why “Detective Pikachu” isn’t the worst movie I’ve seen all year and that’s because of its stunning visuals. I saw this movie in 3D and quite frankly the visuals are good enough on their own to not warrant it.  Each Pokemon has been masterfully brought to life with very minor alterations to their designs to make them look more realistic such as Pikachu’s electric pouches just being red fur or Charizard’s more scaly appearance. There are only two things that look off in this film: Mewtwo and Ditto. Mewtwo looks like his eyes are barely fitting into his sockets, his legs are just too vertical,and his color is just a little too bright. Ditto’s transformations look like plastic. Still, the visuals of the movie are the only reason I’d recommend this film to anyone and even they look weirdly off in a lot of scenes.

The story of “Detective Pikachu” is atrocious, and Mewtwo is the worst part of it. In the film Mewtwo is presumed to be the villain for the first three acts but only ever acts and sounds kind and docile; it even heals Pikachu at the end of the third act yet it somehow still gets to be the villain at the end. Mewtwo is being harvested for a purple rage inducing gas that the actual main villain, Bill Nighy, is using to cause Pokemon to become ravenous and wild, which the main villain wants to use to fuse people with Pokemon to evolve the human race. Mewtwo has never shown anything like this power in any Pokemon medium and even worse still is that within the story of this movie one of the strongest Pokemon in existence is somehow captured by some guy and a Pikachu whose best move is volt tackle. Barring the fact that Pikachu knows the move volt tackle in the first place, Mewtwo is shown to have the ability to heal people, yet it doesn’t heal Tim’s father and only has the ability to do so once Tim himself is there, and this plot point is never explained. Mewtwo has whatever ability and weakness the screenwriters want him to have at any given time. The story feels like three separate films: one is about a boy trying to find his father who was taken by Mewtwo, another is about a madman who wants to fuse Pokemon with humans, and the last one is just “Zootopia.”

The acting in “Detective Pikachu” is laughably bad. The main character Tim looks like he doesn’t want to be there, and Pikachu himself was so horribly unfunny I visibly cringed at all of his dated and poorly timed pop culture references. Each character feels like a caricature of what they’re supposed to be, Tim is scared and wimpy, Pikachu is cute and “funny,” Lucy is female and a reporter, Psyduck is neurotic and clumsy, and there’s nothing else to their characters; there is no character development for the full hour and 45 minutes. This movie suffers from a lot of the common problems that plague CGI live action hybrids in that Tim and many other central characters don’t seem to be talking to their Pokemon rather in the general direction around them. The only person who does a semi good job of accurately portraying their role is Psyduck and he only repeats one line throughout the entire movie.

“Detective Pikachu” is a popcorn movie through and through. If you go to the movies to think then “Detective Pikachu” is not the movie for you. Much like the games in recent years, the movie is all style and no substance. It feels like it was cobbled together and as a result suffers from major tone and narrative inconsistencies. I think my fellow moviegoer Ali Al-Saffari said it best when he explained, “It’s like watching an hour and a half trailer for the movie instead of the actual movie.”