Millennial Nostalgia: Review of Detective Pikachu Movie


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In December, I first saw the preview for the Detective Pikachu movie. I was, to be quite honest, totally delighted by what I saw:

World Building: A+

Oftentimes, cartoons don’t really translate very well into live-action movies (cough Sonic cough). However, the animators really captured a super cute looking Pikachu with realistic fur. The world creating shown in the previews was pretty excellent, imo.

Ryan Reynolds Pokemon GIF by POKÉMON Detective Pikachu - Find & Share on GIPHY

Below, I’ve shared my review (and given context on my relationship with the Pokemon franchise, so you’ll be better able to decide whether or not to go see Detective Pikachu in theaters!).

I Don’t Wanna Read. Should I see it? Y/N?

If you’re debating between movies at the box office, I would recommend you see Detective Pikachu – but only if you loved Pokemon as a kid. If you weren’t into them then, you likely won’t be into the movie now.


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Sweet Sweet Memories

I wasn’t into trading Pokemon cards as a kid, but I was into collecting them. While other kids traded up to get more valuable cards, I gleefully purchased cards, put them in the little plastic pocket thingies, and flipped through my hoard daily.

I’m more “Ariel in her cave” than “Pokemon Master,” turns out. I did watch the TV show (Team Rocket is queer, don’t @ me), and I really really loved the Pokemon stuffed animals.

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A Major Millennial Theme: Nostalgia

And the film taps into that nostalgia. The main character, Tim Goodman, is 21 years old. At one point, the film shows him going into (what would have been) a childhood bedroom, complete with Pokemon posters and a Pikachu headboard. I would bet most of the millennial audience (the older half, at least) saw their childhood bedroom in that scene.

This theme of “growing up,” makes the casting of Ryan Reynolds as Pikachu make total sense. My friend Jacob Nierenberg put it best when he said something to the effect of, “Pokemon kids are in their 20’s and 30’s, and we need a little more ‘adult’ humor. Reynolds offers adult humor, while still tapping into the sort of slapstick humor we got as kids.”

Detective Pikachu Pokemon GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

(Jacob is also a huge film nerd.)

Ryan Reynolds is Hilarious

Real talk, I would watch a whole series of movies featuring Ryan Reynolds playing Pikachu. It was THAT funny. Also I adore self-deprecating humor.

Like, can we get an “Adventures of Detective Pikachu” franchise? I know with the movie ending that won’t work, but seriously y’all – SO FUNNY. I want a snarky Pikachu solving crime and dealing with the shenanigans of other Pokemon.

Pokemon are Freaking Cute, So There

Another main allure of the film is how CUTE POKEMON ARE IN REAL LIFE. The scene featuring a little flock(??) of Bulbosaurs really brought a smile to my face. Also seeing the Pokemon interact with each other was fun.


Happy Ryan Reynolds GIF by POKÉMON Detective Pikachu - Find & Share on GIPHY


Okay, so not to be petty (but to be petty), here are some my main beefs with the writing and character development in the film:

  • The storyline was pretty predictable. Seriously, we went through all of this trouble of building a world where everybody gets a dang Pokemon, and we go with the old, “The billionaire dude has lost it!!!!” storyline?
  • Speaking of storyline, it felt like this movie was trying to fit in too many sequences or different scenes. Character development was pretty, well, meh.
  • The ending is freaking awkward. I’d go see this film again, but honestly when Ryan Reynolds is the dad of a 21-year-old my brain immediately went, “Do not accept this information.” Yeah, if Reynolds had a kid at 20 it would make sense (he’s 41)? But the ending there was just weird. Ryan Reynolds is not ready for DILF-status, atm. Thank you, let’s keep it moving.

Let It Be a Fun Watch

Overall, my advice is this: Get out of your film buff brain, and just enjoy the show for what it is. Let yourself be delighted. Enjoy seeing little Pokemon beebs beebopping around.Give yourself permission to reconnect with your childhood, and leave your ~Film Critic~ self at home.

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