Detective Pikachu movie reviews – all the critical verdicts

By Stephany Nunneley, Friday, 10 May 2019 17:40 GMT

Deciding whether or not to go see Detective Pikachu in theaters? Maybe a round up of reviews will help in the decision making process.

The Detective Pikachu movie lands in theaters on May 10, and early reviews are starting to land. It hits tomorrow, May 3, in Japan.

Based on the 3DS title’s universe, the film was announced in 2016 and production started in 2017. It stars Ryan Reynolds as Pikachu, Justice Smith as Tim Goodman, and Ken Watanabe as Lt. Yoshida, with Rob Letterman (Goosebumps) directing.

It features a wide array of beloved Pokemon characters, each with its own unique abilities and personality.

In the various trailers released, we’ve spotted Aipom, Charizard, Cubone, Gengar, Greninja, Growlithe, Machamp, Mew, Snorlax, Snubbull, and others.

Here’a quick plot recap:

Ace private eye Harry Goodman has gone missing, prompting his son Tim to find out what happened. Aiding in the investigation is Harry’s former Pokemon partner, Detective Pikachu, both hoping to unravel Harry’s mysterious disappearance.

As they chase leads in Ryme City, they will come across other Pokemon, ultimately uncovering a shocking plot that could destroy the peaceful co-existence between Pokemon and humans, as well as the Pokemon universe.

This is the first, live-action Pokemon movie, and a sequel was greenlit in January – well ahead of its theatrical release. Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures have plenty of faith in it, apparently.

But what do the critics have to say?

Our own Alex Donaldson sat in on an early showing, and called it “the best ever movie based on a video game franchise,” despite having its share of issues. You can read his full review through this link fellow trainers.

We’ve rounded-up all of the early reviews for you below. Some outlets give numerical or “star” scores, while others only provide a verdict. You’ll find both in the round-up if applicable.

Detective Pikachu reviews

  • The VG247 review
    Pokemon’s first big-screen outing has its share of issues, but it’s also comfortably the best ever movie based on a video game franchise – not bad going for a first attempt.
  • Entertainment Weekly (C+)
    The main problem is that the film’s gumball-mayhem plot is so frenetic that it’s impossible to determine if it makes a lick of sense. Maybe that was the point.
  • The Guardian (3/5)
    Without Reynolds this would be pretty run-of-the-mill; with him it’s a perfectly acceptable family movie. Given the history, that’s a giant leap for Pokémon-kind.
  • The Wrap
    If you have waited your entire life to see this world brought to life, and to watch humans and Pokémon occupy the same space, then Detective Pikachu may well be everything you ever wanted. But for those of us who don’t know a Jigglypuff from a Charizard, this film scores low on wit, coherence and engagement.
  • Total Film (3/5)
    Reynolds and Pikachu make an inspired combo in a CGI/live-action mash-up that otherwise adheres to a rigidly boilerplate formula.
  • The Verge
    It’s a hilarious, carefree, fun romp through a familiar place, and it’s just different enough to add a much needed twist to a formula that was growing tired.
  • USA Today
    Has ambition and style in spades – and thankfully, a plenty sassy Ryan Reynolds in the form of a little yellow rabbit-y dude – even if the quasi-noir private-eye tale is rather uninspired on the whole.
  • Polygon
    Detective Pikachu’s greatest strength isn’t in the story, plot, or acting. It’s a children’s movie where there are good guys, and there are bad guys.The biggest compliment I can give Detective Pikachu is that it didn’t take long for me to wish I could live in it.
  • IGN (8)
    While video game movies haven’t had the best track record, this movie is by and far the best example of how to do one right.
  • The Playlist (B-)
    Detective Pikachu is a fun, occasionally-funny, and almost always-beautiful to look at kids adventure film that doesn’t insult the intelligence of its audience and offers them great, positive lessons that are earned.
  • Empire (3/5)
    It’s impossible to overstate how much this film owes to Ryan Reynolds. Even if you don’t understand Pikachu’s world, everyone can understand a great joke superbly delivered.
  • Indie Wire (C+)
    It seems that this particular game of Pokemon needed more time at the gym.
  • Screen Daily
    This adaptation of the popular 2016 video game throws everything at the audience with such vehemence that the sum effect is overwhelming more than it is entertaining.
  • Screen Crush (5/10)
    The whole thing is a bit too childish for adults, and a bit too convoluted for kids. It absolutely deserves an Oscar nomination for Best Visual Effects however, even if the subject matter makes me think it’s unlikely to receive one.
  • Uproxx
    Detective Pikachu is one of those movies where, for about half the movie, I was trying to force myself to like it, until I just gave up. I kind of got the sense a lot of people around me were doing the same thing.
  • Variety
    Though consistent with the game, the story doesn’t allow nearly enough Pokemon-related action, while the quality of the computer animation falls far short of the basic level of competency audiences have come to expect from effects movies.
  • Associated Press
    You’ve played Pokemon Go, right? Call this one Pokemon Don’t Go.

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