A high-stakes story
Since 1997, the Japanese anime has followed baseball-capped tweenager Ash Ketchum on his quest to battle-train the oddball pocket monsters known as Pokémon and achieve the rank of master.
Two decades later, Detective Pikachu tears up that premise, instead giving us a fantasy film-noir where 21-year-old Tim Goodman (Justice Smith) and the titular yellow puffball (voiced by Deadpool’s Ryan Reynolds) go on the hunt for Tim’s missing dad.
An adorable but kick-ass hero
In the cartoon, Pikachu’s banter largely consisted of squeaking: “Pika!” Now, in Detective Pikachu, he’s reborn as a proper character, with a wisecracking wit and a raging caffeine addiction. But just because Pikachu is a plushy dollop, don’t mistake him for a pushover.
After all, when MTV asked Reynolds who would win in a fight between Deadpool and Pikachu, his answer was surprising: “I kinda feel like Pikachu might, y’know? Even though he doesn't swear, he's very powerful, he could create some actual superpowers, whereas Deadpool’s just mostly sarcastic.”
All your favourite Pokemon characters...
Bring your stack of trading cards to the cinema and tick ’em off as the monsters hit the screen in this live-action extravaganza.
“They’re incredibly real,” says Letterman. “You should think of it as the way Rocket Raccoon sits in the [MCU movies] – as if he’s really there. They’re technically some of the most high-end visual effects in the world. It’s completely photorealistic, like they’re alive and in the movie.”
...and some mega-talented humans
When casting the voice for Pikachu, Letterman shortlisted stars in all shapes and sizes – from The Rock to Danny DeVito – before realising Reynolds was the perfect fit. But all that SFX is backed by stellar flesh-and-blood talent, too.
Smith brings heart to the alienated young man finding his path in the world, while Kathryn Newton is none-more-plucky as reporter Lucy Stevens. And with comedian Rob Delaney, national treasure Bill Nighy and pop star Rita Ora also appearing, you just gotta spot them all.
A fantastic family film (even for Pokemon newbies)
Perhaps you’ve glanced at the cartoon over your child’s shoulder, and you’re not sure you fancy two hours of it. But as the early Twitter reaction reveals, Pokémon nuts and newcomers alike will love this witty fantasy film that shares the charm of live-action romps like Paddington and Peter Rabbit.
Empire film critic Helen O’Hara tweeted that “I don’t know a Bulbasaur from a Jigglypuff, but I enjoyed Detective Pikachu a lot anyway.” And take it from Adulthood director Noel Clarke: “Just home from special screening of Detective Pikachu with my boys. I'm a Pokémon Master, but even if you're not, you’ll enjoy this. OMG! It’s so good...”