As the title says, this movie is great, but only if you like Pokémon. If you are a long time Pokémon fan you will love this movie, but if you don’t like Pokémon, if Pokémon doesn’t really interest you or the small chance that you’ve never heard about it, most of the movie will not be very interesting. There’s a lot of inside jokes and the likes. I’m not saying you need large amount of Pokémon knowledge to watch this movie, but if you need to google Mewtwo or Psyduck to know what they are, then this movie is most likely not for you.
This is not the first Pokémon film to be released – there are already more than 20 animated movies – but it’s the first one made for uninitiated audiences. It aims to put everyone on the same page by opening with a brand-new character. Tim, played with awkward charm by Justice Smith, is a 21-year-old insurance drone who has lost both his parents. His mother died when he was very young and, he learns at the film’s outset, his detective father was killed in a suspicious accident. The only thing that survived was his father’s Pokémon assistant, Pikachu, who has lost his memory but wants Tim to help him find out what caused his dad’s accident. Bizarrely, Tim can understand everything Pikachu says (in the voice of Ryan Reynolds), even though Pokémon can’t speak. Tim overcomes his dislike of Pokémon, the reasons for which become clear later, to join Pikachu on his mission.
It doesn’t very clearly establish the rules of Pokémon in the human world (if you don’t know your Mewtwo from your Mew, then good luck with the finer details) and the storytelling is so ham-fisted that approximately every 20 minutes there will be a long dialogue scene in which a character will monologue about what’s happening and what will happen next.
There are a few “Get Out”-style plot twists that are worth analysis, and despite being live-action, “Detective Pikachu” confirms through some reveals that it is indeed set in the same dimension as the anime.