The first time I ever came into contact with a Pokémon was in 1998.

I was six years old and spending the weekend at my best friend Scotty’s house when I spotted a translucent purple ball on the floor while we were playing in the living room. The ball had a string tied to a hoop that went around your finger attached to the back and a little orangish brown figure inside.

“What’s this?” I asked while collecting the ball from the floor, “Raichu.” he replied with a glance, “What’s that?” I followed up.

At the time, one could be forgiven for assuming I’d just insulted Scotty’s entire lineage. His jaw dropped, his eyes grew wide and he shouted two feet from my face, “You’ve never heard of Pokémon!?” before bolting to his bedroom.

He returned with a large gray gameboy that was loaded with a colorful red cartridge in the back and ever since that day, my life has never been the same.

Detective Pikachu, voiced by Ryan Reynolds

When word broke that there was going to be a live action Pokémon film people were interested but the typical internet pessimism surrounding all forms of media was present. Folks wondered how such a feat could ever be pulled off, but even more so, wondered how it could be pulled off well.

Then when the first trailer for Detective Pikachu dropped late last year I witnessed almost all of that negativity evolve into excitement. As it turns out, watching a Pikachu with Ryan Reynolds’ voice interrogate a Mr. Mime is enough to soften even the most critical fans heart.

Mr. Mime, the true star of the film.

Detective Pikachu hit theaters in the US this past Thursday, May 9th, and my wife and I attended the very first showing.

As I expected, the seats were mostly filled with adults in their mid 20’s and 30’s with only four or five kids in the crowd. Pokémon is for everyone, but some of us have been waiting a very long time for a movie like this and to be honest, a lot of us never thought we’d actually get one.

The fun began before the movie even started with a collective groan and then laughter that filled the theater as the new Sonic The Hedgehog trailer started rolling.

(Editors Note: I’m very, unironically, excited for the new Sonic movie!)

Then starting with the opening scene, everyone had fun picking out all the different Pokémon they recognized. One of the kids two rows behind me excitedly exclaimed several names while saying “Mom! Look!”, which was perfectly OK, because the rest of us were doing it too.

The film does have some problems with the plot, which will be familiar to anyone who has played the Detective Pikachu video game, and some cheesy dialogue but those issues won’t be noticed by younger fans and they are eclipsed by the wonderful world Rob Letterman and his team have created.

For an hour and forty-five minutes, you’ll feel as if the world of Pokémon is very real and right in front of your eyes. While I can’t speak for everyone, I am confident in saying that this is exactly what I wanted.

The studio also seemed to play no favorites when picking what species of Pokémon would appear in the film, excluding a few more Generation 1 ‘mon compared to others.

Every generation has some form of representation in the film!

But there are several Pokémon to populate the world and I assume each one was quite costly to animate. This brings me to my only real complaint about the movie and that’s the fact that several species are repeated heavily throughout the film.

While this is a bummer, I completely understand and thankfully there’s just enough variety of ‘mon for things to not feel stale. They also all have an incredible level of detail to them and out of those present in the film there are several lesser known species you wouldn’t have expected to show up.

Without spoiling anything, my favorite scenes in the movie include the Mr. Mime bit from the trailer, a very affectionate Lickitung and a set of Loudreds being used in a very unique and cool way.

Lickitung. Who I always pictured as much taller.

Detective Pikachu is visually gorgeous, the plot is enough to get by on and the actors, particularly Ryan Reynolds, do a phenomenal job of selling the world as a believably real place.

Undeniably the most enjoyable part of the movie is seeing a living, breathing world of Pokémon.

Older fans should be warned though, that deep feeling in your stomach as you yearn to have your very own Pokémon companion in the real world that you haven’t felt since you were like, 9, will absolutely return.

At least now we have Pokémon GO and no shortage of Pokémon media to help fill that void.

So if you love Pokémon, do yourself a favor and go see this movie.

For the older fans, bring your friends and allow yourself the pleasure of going back in time and dreaming of becoming the very best, even if it’s only for a little while.

And as for the younger fans and their parents, don’t miss your opportunity to see this in theaters. Who knows if you’ll have to wait another 23 years for the next one!

Interested in seeing Detective Pikachu? Check out one of the links below to buy your tickets online!



(Editors note: I had incorrectly stated that no Generation 7 Pokémon were featured in the film. I was corrected by Reddit user /u/Battlealvin2009 that Morelull, who appears in the film, is in fact from Generation 7! This has been fixed. Thank you, Alvin!)