Review: Coherence is no case for 'Detective Pikachu'

Ryan Reynolds voices PIkachu in the Pokémon adventure, one of the many odd choices made in the film

Adam Graham
Detroit News Film Critic
Justice Smith and Kathryn Newton in "Detective Pikachu."

Oil and water. Toothpaste and orange juice. Good decisions and Florida. 

Some things just don't go together, and you can add Ryan Reynolds' voice and Pikachu to that list.  

Pikachu, the adorable yellow furball at the center of the Pokémon franchise, is meant to have a high-pitched squeal of a voice, which he uses to say "Pika! Pika!" and little else.

At no point should he sound like Deadpool, but that is the voice he's been given in "Pokémon: Detective Pikachu," a confused children's adventure that will mystify all but the most ardent of Pokémon fans. 

With an estimated franchise worth of nearly $100 billion, there are plenty of ardent Pokémon fans out there. But even they'd have to agree that Reynolds' signature deadpan style is an odd fit for Pikachu, and it's, well, perplexing hearing a caffeine-guzzling Pikachu talking about his "jellies" and telling others, "smell my finger."  

Tim Goodman (Justice Smith) comes to Ryme City, where humans and Pokémon live together in harmony, following the disappearance of his father. While snooping around his father's apartment looking for clues, he runs into Pikachu, who can speak to him and only to him. (Everyone else is lucky: they don't have to hear Reynolds' voice coming from the little guy.) 

Tim teams up with Pikachu to investigate his father's disappearance, with a helping hand from Lucy Stevens (Kathryn Newton), an intern at a massive news network. The special effects pile up around them while Reynolds-as-Pikachu makes cracks aimed at the adults in the audience ("at this point, how can you not believe in climate change?" he asks). Speaking as an adult in the audience, "Pika! Pika!" would have been better. 

'Pokémon: Detective Pikachu'


Rated PG: for action/peril, some rude and suggestive humor, and thematic elements

Running time: 104 minutes