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YMMV / Pokémon Detective Pikachu

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  • Adaptational Displacement: Sort of. The fact that Pokémon itself started out as a video game series is hardly obscure, but even among fans of Pokémon, many weren't aware of the fact that this movie is based off of a semi-obscure spin-off game. This wasn't helped by the movie's advertising not even mentioning the game.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation:
    • Was the Big Bad making a misguided attempt to help people, without realizing what consequences the merging of people and Pokémon may cause? Or was he just trying to play God?
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    • How sincere is Detective Pikachu with some of the things he says? Some theorize that everything he says to humans is tinted with sarcasm, while others believe he's being goofy, but ultimately sincere. Him returning the compliment of the lady is a common source of debate for this.
    • Harry Goodman:
      • Did he really not remember anything from the time he spend in his Pikachu's body? Or was he just joking?
      • Was the person we hear Tim talk to through Pikachu throughout the movie really Pikachu but with Harry's voice, or was it Harry all along and he can't remember after the unmerging? Was he a mixture of the two, with Pikachu's personality and mind and Harry's sarcasm seeping through? Can Harry's Pikachu/Detective Pikachu remember anything after the un-merge?
    • Roger Clifford. The scene where he tells off Lucy was meant to establish him as a jerkass, but she caught him at the worst possible time: immediately after he got into a heated argument with his father when he clearly wasn't in the mood to deal with an unscheduled interview about unsubstantiated claims. Is Roger a jerk, or is Lucy bad at reading the room? Especially since we don't see the real him again until the end of the movie, at which point he comes across as a Reasonable Authority Figure.
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  • Americans Hate Tingle: Dub example: The French Canadian dub uses the European names in spite of their contentious (at best) reputation in Quebec. This is especially egregious, considering the dub's very existence (It's the first Pokémon media to get a dedicated Canadian translation in many years) could have been used as an Author's Saving Throw to differentiate itself from the European French dub. Presumably, the success of Pokémon Go making the European names mainstream among the province's younger fans (unaware that English names used to be the norm before) prompted Warner Bros. to cater to them, even if it meant forsaking the older fans' grievances.
  • Angst? What Angst?:
    • Harry is pretty chipper in the end when making wisecracks about craving coffee, for a guy that nearly died in a car crash and was assimilated with his Pokémon. Not to mention the whole being estranged from his son and knowing that it was his fault. Despite that, he's snarking and smiling. It's unclear if separating his consciousness from Pikachu's body helped with this, since Detective Pikachu was anguished on thinking he betrayed Harry to Mewtwo.
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    • Most people recover fast from being forcibly assimilated with their Pokémon. Lucy just tells Psyduck that they should never do it again, while Detective Yoshida just needs a minute to lie down.
  • Award Snub: Many fans were not happy when the movie wasn't even in the running for Best Visual Effects at the Oscars.
  • Awesome Art: The end credits features art that depicts the main characters in the style of the Trainers from the video games. And they all look amazing.
  • Awesome Music:
  • Base-Breaking Character: Both Tim Goodman and Lucy Stevens. One half of the viewers thinks their personalities are annoyingly over-the-top and the actors totally phoned their performances in. The other considers them to be somewhat likable characters with amazing chemistry who didn't overstay their welcome like in most other human centered movies with a non-human main character. Their performances are also considered good enough considering what type of movie this is, and most think that the over-the-topness of their personalities is part of the movie's charm.
  • Captain Obvious Reveal:
    • Plenty of people predicted that Howard Clifford is the Big Bad, considering how he's set up as an important person with vague goals. Then, his son, Roger is introduced, who generally acts like a Jerkass and is stated to have an estranged relationship with his father, similar to Tim. He's seemingly confirmed as the villain as Howard explains that his son is slowly taking over as the CEO of his father's corporation, the same corporation that runs morally questionable experiments on Pokémon. And then he kidnaps Mewtwo, which forces Tim to go back to Howard. Who reveals himself to be the real Big Bad, as he framed his own son for his crimes.
    • It's also pretty obvious that Pikachu is actually Tim's father, Harry Goodman, even before the "merging human minds with Pokémon bodies" plot point gets introduced, seeing as how deliberate they are in avoiding showing Harry's face, and how Pikachu has lost his memories.
  • Cliché Storm: The main criticism the film receives is that while they successfully managed to translate the Pokémon universe to the big screen, the main plot plays like your average children's film, with the usual plot beats and unsurprising twists that older viewers will predict by the end of the first act. The film also falls into the cliché of making the protagonists and antagonists mirror images of each other. Tim and Roger's estranged fathers both turned into Pokémon and had a big fight in the film's climax.
  • Critical Dissonance: While it still received good reviews on the whole, its audience reception was a bit more positive than its critical reception. This is largely because a lot of the movie's jokes and plot points would best be understood by those with experience with the Pokémon franchise, and most critics probably don't have such experience. That said, it became the best-reviewed Pokémon film of all time, having a Rotten Tomatoes score slightly higher than Pokémon: The Power of Us (which had far fewer reviews).
  • Crosses the Line Twice:
    • In the "Casting Detective Pikachu" video, the whole joke about Psyduck's head exploding and killing everyone making them forced to listen to a muzak version of Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)" is quite morbid, but will end up making you laugh because of it being morbid.
    • How does Tim get Mr. Mime to talk? He mimes pouring gasoline on Mr. Mime and trying to light him on fire. Even better, the scene ends with Tim accidentally dropping his mime match.
    • Pikachu casually remarking that they have to listen to calming music to keep Psyduck pacified so it doesn't get a psychic headache and kill someone, on its own, is mildly funny. Psyduck blackmailing Pikachu into giving it a footrub by reminding him it has to stay calm to avoid getting a headache, and it doesn't want to accidentally hurt Tim, is hilarious.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
  • Evil Is Sexy: Ms. Norman. However, people consider her true nature as a Ditto and the Black Bead Eyes attached to it to be a turn-off. Then again, there are people into that sort of thing.
  • Fandom Rivalry:
  • Fanfic Fuel:
    • Due to critic and fan reactions being mostly positive, some fans started speculating about the idea of a "Nintendo Cinematic Universe" or "NCU", making movies about Nintendo's other Cash Cow Franchises and potentially tying them together in a Shared Universe. The most common punchline of this is Super Smash Bros. becoming the equivalent to The Avengers.
    • On similar note, some like to focus on potential future Pokémon movies, adapting some other, more obscure stories. Pokémon Stadium, Pokémon Mystery Dungeon and Pokémon Origins are the most common.
    • The credits show the characters in the signature Trainer artstyle, fanartists are going to have a field day, redrawing scenes of the movie with it, or coming up with new scenarios.
    • Some concepts in the movie are commonly stated to not get enough attention as they should've, the merging of humans and Pokémon deserving special mention.
    • Some like to speculate how the movie would've went if Pikachu didn't lose his memory. Especially the idea of Harry!Pikachu finding Tim, with Tim dealing with the fact that his dad is a Pokémon now.
  • Fan Myopia: RJ "Arvalis" Palmer was merely one of twelve concept artists for the film, yet his fans seem convinced he was the only concept artist. Some go as far as to believe he's an actual animator or even the film's lead art director. Which is incredibly weird when one notices his artwork looks absolutely nothing like the movie.
  • Fountain of Memes: Pikachu's face.
  • Friendly Fandoms:
    • With Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019). Despite being released within close proximity, you’ll see both fandoms getting along splendidly simply because both are Legendary Pictures productions based off popular Japanese franchises, and both have Ken Watanabe. Numerous Pokemon fans have voiced eagerness to see King of the Monsters, christening it a Spiritual Adaptation of what they'd imagine a movie involving Legendary Pokémon would be like. Likewise, many G-fans are more than happy to voice support for the follow-up Legendary movie, considering the two as teammates in the box office context. Toho being the one to release the Pokémon anime films theatrically, as well as being behind the Japanese release for King of the Monsters, ensures any site talking about one film is bound to include the other.
    • Also with Deadpool movies, thanks to Ryan Reynolds once again playing a snarky fourth wall-breaking hero. In fact, some fans have considered Detective Pikachu to be the closest thing to a kid-friendly, furry Deadpool spin-off.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: Pikachu saying "At this point, how can you not believe in climate change?". In Pokémon Sword and Shield, Corsola's variant form is outright stated to have been a side-effect of climate change. The only thing stopping this from being Hilarious in Hindsight is that the new Corsola is now a Ghost-type.
  • Genius Bonus: This video reveals an interesting connection between the song "Happy Together" and Pokémon that go beyond the aforementioned Super Smash Bros. 64 mythology gag.
  • Genre Turning Point: While nothing ground-breaking for filmmaking in general, this movie did succeed in aspects where other video game movies failed. It actually told a story, was character-driven and still managed to be faithful to its source material by adapting an obscure spinoff-RPG instead of squeezing the entire lore of the franchise in one movie.
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight: With the reveal that Harry's mind was inside Detective Pikachu all along, it makes every affectionate moment that Tim and Pikachu shared this, particularly the part with Tim crying over missing his chance to see his father and Pikachu telling him, "If your dad was here, he would hug you so hard your bones would pop."
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • It's Short, So It Sucks!: One of the film's major criticisms is that the final act rushes through every plot detail in order to get under the two hour mark.
  • Just Here for Godzilla: The movie itself is considered to have an average story and the human characters don't stand out. Most people who come to watch the film know that the visual effects, including the "realistic" Pokémon themselves, and especially a talking Pikachu voiced by Ryan Reynolds is the main draw.
  • Memetic Molester: Mr. Mime already had this reputation in the games, but appearing in live action and his appearance consisting of him being interrogated by the detectives just made it worse. There have already been many jokes made about the real reason he's being interrogated by the detectives is as a suspect for sex offender crimes.
  • Memetic Mutation: Now has its own page.
  • Moe:
    • Pikachu is so fluffy!
    • Snubbull is disgustingly adorable.
    • The Pancham also deserves a place here, especially the scene where one slides down a bamboo stick and the group of Pancham annoy a Pangoro only for one to fall and the Pangoro catches it... Panda-ing to the Audience indeed.
    • The second trailer features a close up of a Bulbasaur and it's adorable. It helps that it doesn't have the bright red eyes that Bulbasaur is commonly depicted with (instead it has a combination of amber and fuchsia). Many people have compared it to Toothless.
    • The "Casting Detective Pikachu Trailer" includes a shot of an adorable Squirtle chasing after a bubble it burped up like a young child.
    • Snorlax, as seen in the second trailer. It looks so cute, even if it is sleeping in the middle of the road.
    • Eevee, Audino (and especially Emolga) look very cute in live-action form, especially in the video "Casting Detective Pikachu" posted by Ryan Reynolds, where Eevee and Emolga (Audino is not featured in this trailer) both look so precious and cuddly.
  • Moral Event Horizon: While it's debatable how evil merging humans and Pokémon actually is, Howard Clifford crossed it when he kidnapped his own son and framed him for his crimes.
  • More Popular Spin-Off: Downplayed. The movie wasn't as much of a breakout success as Pokémon GO, and didn't do as much to increase brand awareness as that game did (unlike, say, the Transformers Film Series). However, as far as Pokémon products released in 2019 are concerned, Detective Pikachu has been much more well-received by the fandom than that year's mainline Pokémon game releases, Pokémon Sword and Shield. While those games technically have a higher critic score than the movie,note  they have been met with much more polarized reactions from the fandom compared to Detective Pikachu, to the point that some fans claim that DP has had much more heart and imagination poured into it than the formulaic Sword and Shield.
  • Most Wonderful Sound:
    • Ikue Otani's voice coming from Pikachu.
    • Bill Nighy describing Mewtwo. If anyone could capture the sheer majesty of the ultimate Pokémon, it would have to be Bill.
  • Narm:
    • Tim is able to jump over a huge gap and grab onto the cliff without much injury. Though because of the resulting earthquake, Pikachu is hit with the tiniest bit of rubble and immediately goes down. While the aftermath of that scene is entirely Played for Drama, the sheer absurdity of it can make it hard to take seriously.
    • To those in the know on their Pokémon lore: Howard outright labels Mewtwo the "most powerful Pokémon"... with statues of the Sinnoh Creation Trio, who are literally gods, behind him.
  • Narm Charm:
    • The general reaction to the trailers can be summed up as: "This looks ridiculous, and I love it."
    • The villain's main plot is not, as would be expected, to either make humans give up their Pokémon or harness evolution to prolong his life; no, it's to combine humans with their Pokémon. It's so silly, but it fits the Fantastic Noir vibe to a T and would make 4Kids Entertainment proud.
    • Ultimately, the Big Bad's plan is to assimilate people with their Pokémon. Which only lasts for a few hours at most onscreen. It would fall into Felony Misdemeanor, if not for the bigger issue being him using a kidnapped Mewtwo and not giving people or Pokémon the choice in the assimilation, and that he kidnapped and framed his son to cover his tracks.
    • Seeing Harry Goodman being portrayed by the actual Ryan Reynolds, especially as the big ending face reveal of the movie, can elicit a few giggles, but the emotional payoff of the scene still works very well.
    • Lucy Stevens is clearly playing up the Intrepid Reporter angle, especially when she first meets Tim and tries to convince him he should take her seriously. But even in-universe others think she's a bit silly and trying too hard, so it comes off as endearing instead of a cliché.
    • Ditto being stuck with Black Bead Eyes when turning into other Pokémon, since even casual viewers will grasp the idea of Glamour Failure. And when impersonating humans it turns outright creepy.
  • Narrowed It Down to the Guy I Recognize: It's not hard to figure out that Bill Nighy is going to be the Big Bad the second he pops up on screen, if for no other reason that he's one of the most recognizable and established actors in the movie. In contrast, the Red Herring doesn't even have his own page on this Wiki.
  • Nausea Fuel: Lickitung licking Tim during the train scene, complete with saliva dripping off of Tim and him having to spit some of it out. Bleh...
  • Never Live It Down: The stapler. For the record, Tim held the stapler once in the movie (albiet in a scene shown off in the trailer), but it was never used and quickly forgotten. Doesn't stop the fanart from referencing it like it's his Weapon of Choice. Heck, even the credits have Tim holding the stapler!
  • Older Than They Think:
    • Many people aren't aware that the film is adapting a specific game, believing that it is a Pragmatic Adaptation of the franchise as a whole, hence their surprise at a talking Pikachu, with even series fans who were aware of the title (but never played it) being caught off-guard by things such as the appearance of Mewtwo at the end of the second trailer. In their defense, the game in question was only modestly successful compared to other Pokémon spin-off titles, in addition to being a Nintendo 3DS game that was released in Western territories in 2018.
    • The idea of humans and Pokémon merging goes back to the first game, with Bill's teleporter experiments. Furthermore, an amnesiac talking Pokémon finding a partner to search for the mystery of their past and finding out they were once human has been in the series since Pokémon Mystery Dungeon.
      • There was also a manga series, Pokémon RéBURST, with human-Pokémon merging as its premise, though there the humans and Pokémon combined into gijinka-esque hybrids rather than the human-soul-Pokémon-body transformations in this film.
    • A Ditto that is capable of transforming into humans is a rare ability among its kind, but there's a sidequest in Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon that features such Pokémon doing just that.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Mr. Mime has always been a memetically unpopular Pokémon for combining the Everyone Hates Mimes trope with creepy Uncanny Valley qualities. However, the Mr. Mime here not only translates its design to live-action very well while making it more endearing, but its scene is considered a hilarious highlight of the movie.
  • Shocking Moments:
  • Special Effect Failure: Regardless of what one thinks of the designs, the Pokémon seem almost flawlessly integrated into the world of the movie thanks to the use of perspective and shading to make them look closer or further from the viewer. Except for Machamp - whose strangely uniform skin colour makes him resemble more of an early PS2 era Full Motion Video model rather than something that is part of the world like the Snorlax.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • Yoshida and Lucy get fused with their Pokémon at the climax, but nothing much comes of this. In fact Snubbull-Yoshida is completely forgotten about following the initial scene.
    • For that matter, the film's incredible World Building, unique take on "Pokémon Partners," and refreshing premise where there is a city where humans and Pokémon live side-by-side without training or battling (except in illegal underground pit fights) is sidelined by the Cliché Storm main story with Tim and Pikachu.
    • While "You can talk to humans, and I can talk to Pokémon" was a major story and gameplay element in the game (and Detective Pikachu even outright references the concept while persuading Tim), there's very little of it in the movie. When they actually get around to interrogating a Pokémon (a Mr. Mime no less), Tim does most of the work.
    • Even the most positive of reviews found the lack of a Sequel Hook or Stinger disappointing.
  • Ugly Cute:
    • Some find the CGI Pokémon to be this, especially the new fluffier design of Pikachu.
    • Special mention goes to the hilariously scruffy-looking Ludicolo barista.
    • As well as Mr. Mime, who—while rather creepy-looking—is also strangely endearing.
    • Charizard's more explicitly reptilian features make it look terrifying, but it's hard not to feel sorry for the poor guy when it makes the most frightened puppy-dog face when faced with a Gyarados.
    • Snubbull is this by default, since it's basically a pink pug in a polka-dot dress.
  • Uncanny Valley: Now has its own page.
  • Unexpected Character: Ditto was a shock to a lot of people, especially as the Big Bad's right-hand 'mon. Helps that it was the only Pokémon who didn't show up in any of the advertisements.
  • Values Dissonance: Part of the reason audiences were surprised to hear Pikachu say curse words even as light as "hell" and "damn" is because no Western localization of Pokémon media had featured profanity before. In Japan, the anime has occasional moments of characters using similar levels of obscenity.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome:
    • While the designs themselves fall somewhat under Uncanny Valley, the integration of the Pokémon into live action itself works pretty damn well, often to the point where you might not notice them in some shots.
    • Special mention goes to the shot of Charizard using Flamethrower and the herd of Bulbasaur walking along with Morelull floating around them.
    • The Fantastic Noir aesthetic for Ryme City that blends a family friendly Film Noir look crossed with Pokémon was well received as well.
    • The surprise Mewtwo bursting out of the flames looks amazing.
    • The Torterra in the 'Casting Detective Pikachu' video has lots of detail such as scales and marks over its body. Seeing a bunch of them artificially enlarged to the size of islands is like something out of Jurassic Park.
  • What an Idiot!: Lucy, you're the owner of a Pokémon that practically explodes when under a great deal of stress. Maybe it's not the best idea to bring said bomb on journeys that could get you killed... like in the lab with tons of booby traps...
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: While it's a family-friendly movie as is the norm for Pokémon, there are quite a few questionable jokes ("I don't wear pants. I'm not modest." / "I was huffing gas - accidentally!" / "I don't usually invite people to my apartment, I'm not that kind of Pokémon." / "You can shove it" / "I can't do it while people are watching.") Then there's the scene where a Mon is set on fire (it's mimed, but still), the villain's plan to hijack Mewtwo's body, and of course, Pikachu cursing on-screen.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Political?:
    • The CNM network is stated to have a very large influence (going as far as having some control over the government) and is run by a father and son who - judging by their British accents - are implied to be dual citizens. Comparisons to Rupert Murdoch aren't hard to draw from this.
    • During the cataclysm in the wilderness, Pikachu cries out "How can you not believe in climate change after this?!". Probably just played for laughs, but linking earthquakes (mostly natural shifts in the Earth's lithospherenote ) to climate change (shifts in temperatures and weather, the latest of which is attributed to human activity) sounds pretty bizarre nonetheless.
  • Win the Crowd:
    • The first trailer fully embraced the campiness and was (save for some of the realistic Pokémon designs) very well received, winning over many who were skeptical about the prospect of a live-action Pokémon movie.
    • The sheer level of effort and research that has gone into integrating Pokémon into the world, with so many references and nods to the source material, and appearances from Pokémon that aren't instantly recognizable or fan favorites, shows a great deal of passion and caring invested in portraying this world correctly, which has won over many people.
    • Early test screenings of the movie are said to be very positive, with praise given towards Reynolds's portrayal of the title character, his chemistry with Justice Smith, and even the script, all without relying on the fanservice.
    • To add onto the above, the second trailer won over many skeptics. The addition of Mewtwo won most of the rest.
    • If Kong: Skull Island director Jordan Vogt-Roberts' reaction is anything to go by, then this film broke the "curse" of Video Game Movies Suck.
      Roberts' tweet: A wild JORD appeared!#DetectivePikachu uses MIND BLOWN.
      It’s super effective!
      The video game curse is broken.
      Anytime a POKÉMON is on screen, you’re mesmerized by a charisma reminiscent of watching Tony Stark tinker with robots in IRON MAN.
      Also, PSYDUCK steals the movie!
  • WTH, Casting Agency?: Ryan Reynolds as Pikachu. Many fans were either baffled at the idea of Pikachu speaking at all, or mad that they didn't go with Danny DeVito. This reaction simmered down with the release of the second trailer. However, The Reveal that Ryan Reynolds was actually playing Harry Goodman in Pikachu's body, and his human form is the actual Ryan Reynolds, caused this to spring up again since he looks nothing like Tim.
    • The casting also falls under Narm Charm for some viewers though, who justify the casting under the grounds that as Tim is lighter-skinned than his mother, his father would likely have a skin tone closer to white.
    • In the end, the casting of Reynolds instead of someone like DeVito is justified by The Reveal. If people had seen Tim's father had a body with a similar frame to DeVito they would have pieced the twist together instantly.


How well does it match the trope?

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