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Anime / Mewtwo Strikes Back—Evolution

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It's been 20 years since The First Movie, and now, Mewtwo's original movie has evolved to the next stage.

"Who am I? Where am I? Who wanted me to be created? Who asked for me to be created? I despised everything connected to my creation! And so, this is neither attack, nor declaration of war. You are the ones who created me. And I will strike back... against you!"

Pokémon: Mewtwo Strikes Back—Evolution is the 2019 computer animated remake of the 1998 Pokémon: The Series film Mewtwo Strikes Back, directed by Kunihiko Yuyama and Motonori Sakakibara and produced by OLM and Sprite Animation Studios. It is the twenty-second film in the Pokémon series. The film was released in Japan on July 12, 2019, and worldwide on February 27, 2020 through Netflix.

Mewtwo Strikes Back—Evolution is the story of Mewtwo, a clone created from the legendary Pokémon, Mew. Ash, Misty and Brock must stop Mewtwo's plans to destroy humanity and the Pokémon they co-inhabit the world with and replace them with his superior clones.

Followed by Pokémon: Secrets of the Jungle.

Spoilers for the original movie are unmarked.

Mewtwo Strikes Back—Evolution provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Badass:
    • Team Rocket's facilities get a special security upgrade from the original film, with Dr. Fuji's lab having robotic arms to constrain Mewtwo and Giovanni using a failsafe feature on the armor to lock Mewtwo into place. Too bad all it does is make Mewtwo use his full power to escape.
    • Due to battles getting extended length, the original Pokémon are able to put much more of fight against their clones in this retelling. Corey's Bruteroot, for example, not only gets back up from the finishing Vine Whip attack but it also uses Energy Ball, a move that didn't debut until Gen IV. Too bad Mewtwo's Venusaur gets an adaptational upgrade as well with Leaf Storm, a move that also didn't appear until Gen IV.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy:
    • Ash's Charizard. While ill-mannered and kinda lazy, it lacks the arrogance and disobedience of the canon by the same time, being on good terms with Ash and following his commands without problems.
    • Downplayed with Ash and friends. The 4Kids localization emphasized on Ash's laziness and immaturity, with him proclaiming that he's "too weak to work" despite not doing "a thing all day" and Brock calling his dish "lazy-boy no-chew stew." Since this movie has an additional scene of Ash setting up the table before tiring out, the new dub revises it as Ash being overconfident in his stamina and Brock telling Misty to not be too hard on Ash. Ironically, this is closer to the original Japanese version. On the other hand, Ash shows a more upbeat and lively personality, akin to his characterization in the franchise's last installments, in contrast to his more sassy and lazy characterization from the anime's first years.
  • Adaptational Wimp: Slightly. Raymond the Pirate Trainer no longer has a Golem on his team and instead has a Drowzee. Not only is this Pokémon not fully evolved as Golem but it also means that Pikachu doesn't have the Ground-defying Electric attacks made infamous in the original series.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Giovanni's suit is dark red as opposed to his bright orange one from the original film.
  • Adaptation Expansion:
    • The opening adds a scene where Ash and his friends arrive at the cliff overlooking the sea shortly before they have lunch.
    • The manga version adds a few new scenes:
      • Mewtwo says he doesn't like Giovanni as he begins to rebel, prompting the latter to activate the failsafe features. In addition, when Mewtwo begins breaking the armor, Giovanni sends out his Rhydon who battles Mewtwo but ends up accidentally breaking Mewtwo's armor with Horn Drill allowing the Genetic Pokémon to escape.
      • Ash's battle with Raymond starts off as a Double Battle pitting Bulbasaur and Squirtle against Donphan and Machamp. After those two are beaten, it progresses like the film (Raymond sends out Venemoth, Pinsir and Drowzee and has them attack, only for Pikachu to zap them into defeat).
      • Mewtwo gets to clearly state his motives during his battle with Mew, explaining that the clones must win because if they prove to be inferior to the originals, they have no right to exist; therefore, their rebellion is their revenge upon the humans who placed such standards upon them.
  • Adaptation Explanation Extrication: Mewtwo still makes reference to Amber, but none of Pokémon: The Birth of Mewtwo was adapted into the film.
  • Adapted Out:
    • Raymond's Golem is replaced by Drowzee so Pikachu's KO of the remaining members of Raymond's team makes more sense (Golem is immune to Electric-type attacks)
    • Meowthtwo doesn't appear in the manga adaptation due to the cloning machine Team Rocket activates simply displaying Meowth without taking a sample of his DNA and making a clone.
  • All-CGI Cartoon: The entire film is made in CGI, which is a first for the anime movies.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The Netflix release features the English opening and ending songs. Curiously enough, the Japanese language track on Netflix also includes said songs.
  • Arc Words: "Who am I?" from Mewtwo. Those are the words he often asks during the first 12 minutes of the film.
  • Ascended Meme: Brock mentions his jelly donuts, which refers to the meme where 4Kids turned riceballs into jelly donuts as a Cultural Translation.
  • Ascetic Aesthetic: In this retelling, Dr. Fuji's laboratory is a giant chamber that is completely white, clean, and filled with nothing but glass tubes and one central machine with the latest holo-technology. This is in complete contrast with the original film, where Fuji's laboratory was a claustrophobic, shady place so dim that the faces of the scientists are obscured in shadows.
  • Award-Bait Song:
    • "Together with the Wind" returns as the Japanese version's native ending theme, now a duet between Sachiko Kobayashi and Shoko Nakagawa.
    • “Keep Evolving” for the English version, performed by Haven Paschall and the Sad Truth. The song replaces the four credits songs from the original dub.
  • Baritone of Strength: Mewtwo has a deep voice befitting of a powerful Psychic type Pokémon.
  • Big Badass Battle Sequence: The iconic battle scene between the clones and the original Pokémon are still a crucial element to the remake.
  • Berserk Button: In the English dub, the word "real" enrages Mewtwo, even when it's used in a different context. When Mew states that a Pokemon's real strength comes from the heart, Mewtwo takes it as a personal insult and decides that his clones don't need to show their powers to be superior.note 
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Like in the original, Mew may treat battles like a friendly game but don't piss it off. Mewtwo finds that out the hard way when after hitting Mew with a Shadow Ball. And it actually growls at Mewtwo once the battle went long enough.
  • Call-Forward:
    • Some Pokemon are shown using moves that hadn't existed in Generation I in addition to Raymond's Donphan's use of Rollout and Mewtwo's Shadow Ball carried over from the original film.
    • Misty pulls Brock's ear when his Casanova Wannabe tendencies get out of hand, a Running Gag that the anime hadn't picked up yet when the original was released.
    • Misty shows fear when she sees Gyarados up close, a phobia that won't be explored until the Pokémon Chronicles side-series.
    • Wingull appears in the credits as the only post-Generation II Pokémon added to the movie. Miranda also acknowledges them during the storm. In addition, the image that has the Wingull has the mother and daughter who first appeared in Pokémon: Lucario and the Mystery of Mew showing up as well.
  • Continuity Nod: It's stated by Raymond that Ash already has all eight of the Kanto gym badges.
    • Gary Oak's battle against Giovanni is briefly shown.
  • Disney Death: As in the original, Ash seemingly dies and turns to stone when he gets caught in between Mewtwo and Mew's Kung-Fu Sonic Boom. Fortunately, he gets revived by the Pokémon's tears.
  • Dramatic Irony: Invoked by the narrator at the end, appending "for a long time to come" to his "And the journey continues" Catchphrase.
  • Escaped from the Lab: As in the original film, Mewtwo blows up the laboratory after killing all of the scientists who experimented on him, including Dr. Fuji, and flees from its ruins.
  • Hope Spot: Ash and Pikachu try to run from Mewtwo's Pokéballs, with the latter valiantly using Thunderbolt to try and stop them from catching him... when he suddenly runs out of power, and any viewer who saw the original film knows what happens next.
  • Incoming Ham: Jessie, James, and Meowth disguise themselves as sailors instead of Vikings this time around, and punctuate their entrance with a bombastic sailor song that only a group like Team Rocket can come up with.
  • Island Base: As per the original film, Mewtwo's base of operations is in New Island, where it also contains a stadium for Pokémon battles.
  • Male Gaze: Jessie's curvaceous 3D animated body gets a lot of love from the camera.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The title for the movie is rendered exactly the same way as the Japanese title for Mewtwo Strikes Back was, only with "Evolution" added.
    • Brock makes mention of jelly donuts while flirting, a reference to the well known cultural edit in “Primeape Goes Bananas”.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Mew is even more playful when it encounters Mewtwo for the first time, barely reacting to the Shadow Ball popping its bubble. But as the battle against Mewtwo reaches to the climax, its eyes and voice are full of anger as it begins charging its final attack. That's the moment where Mew realizes that beating Mewtwo isn't as easy it once thought and thus it's no longer playing around this time.
  • Pre-Explosion Glow: Both the laboratory and Team Rocket's base at the beginning glow brightly just before they get blown up by Mewtwo.
  • Product Placement: The Lapras ferry boat that Team Rocket uses is actually a promotion for the Lapras Plus Explore Miyagi, especially with the boat design. It's also no coincidence that the film released on July 2019, the same month that Lapras got promoted to be the Miyagi Support Pokémon.
  • Recursive Translation: As with the home media release of the first three films, the Netflix Japanese subtitles are a retranslation of the English dub.
  • Shot-for-Shot Remake: Evolution sticks relatively close to the original film, down to the last detail.
  • The Stinger: After the credits, we see Mewtwo and the clones fly towards Mount Quena...
  • Taken for Granite: As per the original film, Ash getting in the way of Mew and Mewtwo's Kung-Fu Sonic Boom causes him to turn to stone.
  • Team Power Walk: Like in the original film, the clone Pokémon walk proudly to Mewtwo's side shortly after Ash destroys the cloning machine. Seconds later, however, Ash leads the original Pokémon (including Pikachu) back to the stadium shortly before the final battle begins.
  • Title Drop: The English dub restores a line from the original Japanese film that was lost in the 4Kids' localization, which is Mewtwo declaring that he'll strike back at the humans.
  • Truer to the Text: The English dub is much closer to the original messages of the film this time around.
  • Underestimating Badassery: As expected, both Mewtwo and Mew see each other as the weaker specimen that they could easily defeat and both soon realize that the other is far more stronger than they initially realize. This is obvious with Mewtwo after he gets blasted by Mew's energy blast but it's more subtle with Mew who goes from playful to frustrated after a long stalemate.
  • Unstoppable Force Meets Immovable Object: The battle between the original Pokémon and the clones is portrayed as such. They keep on fighting until one of them is defeated for good but that often leads to both sides collapsing from sheer exhaustion. And the fighting won't stop until Mew and Mewtwo's battle ends. But since they are the strongest Pokémon in existence, they aren't feeling fatigue anytime soon much to Mew's frustration. It's Ash's Heroic Sacrifice that ends the seemingly never-ending battle.