Pokémon Detective Pikachu had its premiere in New York City on Thursday, and many critics left with a newfound or revamped appreciation for the animated hero. The film has received several reviews, and the majority have been overwhelmingly positive. As Julia Alexander of The Verge writes, those behind the camera managed to pull off an "undeniably magical feat."
The first-ever Pokémon live action movie comes from Goosebumps director Rob Letterman and features Deadpool himself, Ryan Reynolds, voicing the titular role and attempting to unravel a mystery in Ryme City. The town symbolizes the coexistence of humans and Pokémon, which is what brings Pikachu and his partner Tim, played by Justice Smith, together. The two attempt to uncover the murder of Tim's father and Pikachu's former partner, detective Harry Goodman. Due May 10, it's the first Pokémon feature to have a wide release in the U.S. in more than 15 years.
Alexander wasn't the only critic who lent positive remarks to the film. Here's a roundup of reviewers who may or may not have gotten to see Blake Lively's baby-bump in person on the red carpet:
And not just from a technical level, as it jam packs the screen with oodles of furry, scaley, sometimes very gross-looking realistic renditions of Pokémon from across the entire franchise (although with an admitted focus on creatures from the original 151 Pokémon of the first games in the series, Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue.) But it’s also down to the fact that the movie comes from a place of great love and understanding for the simple joy of what Pokémon represents.
Esther Zuckerman echoes that same praise in her Thrillist review:
Detective Pikachu is a bizarrely successful enterprise on multiple levels. It's both a triumph of character animation—one of the most stylish combinations of animation and live action in years—and a sweet story that doesn't reach too hard to seem au courant and is in keeping with the Pokémon franchise.
She also notes that Reynolds' performance is not simply "Deadpool but make it Pokémon," and explains that Reynolds clearly channeled a very different persona.
Joshua Yehl of IGN explains that after he got over the fact that this installment is a Pokémon film without Ash or Red, he was amazed by the "level of wonder, excitement, and awe not felt since Harry Potter first journeyed to Hogwarts."
Detective Pikachu impresses not only with its ballsy humor but with how it’s not overly precious with the usually family-friendly Pokémon brand. Detective Pikachu is very willing to make fun of itself while also showing a reverence for the source material, which allows for some deep cut references that only the most dedicated of Pokémaniacs would catch.
During a visit to the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Ryan Reynolds gave fans some more insight into his Pokémon Detective Pikachu role, and the "film noir" accent he originally wanted to loan the small Pokémon.
"The news these days is just like pouring pipping hot lemon juice into your eyeballs, so it feels like it's a nice, amazing, fun adventure that just sweeps you away for couple hours," Reynolds told Fallon. "It's like Who Framed Roger Rabbit had a baby with Blade Runner."
In non-Pikachu related news, Reynolds and Fallon partook in a friendly game of Spit Take Roulette, which was admittedly funny. You can peep that battle below.