Confession: I don’t do Pokemon. Like… at all. I’m not even super sure what they are (?) – and that didn’t change much after watching the movie. But the Pokemon: Detective Pikachu movie is not for me; its for the gamer and the kids who grew up on this world. So what does a non-fan think about the Detective Pikachu movie? I have a full Detective Pikachu Parent Movie review for you to help you decide if this one is safe for kids.
Y’all, look at that adorableness. I mean, really, there’s almost 2 hours worth of this cuteness wrapped up in the voice of Ryan Reynolds, so how can it be bad?
Spoiler alert: it’s not! But I won’t go as far as to say it’s the best movie I’ve ever seen, either.
Detective Pikachu is a fun romp through a Pokemon infested world. It’s even entertaining enough for someone who has no background or knowledge of the Pokemon universe outside of Pokemon Go. If you want to know if this live-action Pokemon movie is safe for kids, then this Detective Pikachu parent movie review is just what you need before you buy those tickets.
PS- the official website is garbage. so don’t bother going there. There’s not a lot to learn/see/do and it’s got sound and autoplay video and for the love of Pikachu make it STOP.
Table of Contents
About Pokemon: Detective Pikachu
Detective Harry Goodman goes missing and is presumed dead. His estranged 21-year-old son, Tim, travels to Ryme City to close out his father’s affairs. This is when he meets Detective Pikachu, Harry’s former partner, and discovers that unlike normal human/Pokemon relationships they can understand each other. Pikachu is suffering from amnesia but knows Tim can help him solve the mystery behind Harry’s disappearance. Tim and Pikachu join forces with a young journalist, Lucy, to solve the case.
Directed by Rob Letterman
Starring Ryan Reynolds, Justice Smith, Kathryn Newton, Bill Nighy, Ken Watanabe
Detective Pikachu Run Time: 1 hour 44 minutes
Why Is Detective Pikachu Rated PG?
The MPAA Rated PG.
- some rude and suggestive humor
- thematic elements
For a younger child, the action/peril of the heroes could be a little intense.
The humor most likely will sail over their heads, but it’s Ryan Reynolds (aka, Deadpool) so you know he couldn’t help but slip a little of himself in there!
If You Decide To Take The Kids To Detective Pikachu
Honestly, I assume you will, so I offer these topics for discussion on the car ride home if you want to turn it into a lesson. I don’t think this movie is in need of all that, but hey, why not work on some higher-level thinking wrapped up in entertainment!
- How friends can become family- even when you don’t think you want that in your life, you might need it in your life!
- Lucy isn’t treated fairly or nicely by her superiors at the news channel. How could she have handled things differently?
- How can you work to repair a relationship that’s gone wrong?
Pokemon: Detective Pikachu Review
As I mentioned, I’m a non-Pokemon person. Like, I know nothing about this fandom.
Anime has never had a draw for me and my involvement in the kids playing this game was picking up all the cards left around the house by my own children.
To sum up: I’m a total Pokemon newbie over here. And I had real concerns that I wouldn’t enjoy this movie at all.
As a mom with kids who were pumped to see Pikachu in the first live-action Pokemon movie, I went in with moderated hopes.
With that disclaimer, I ended up having a good time and laughed a lot. I enjoyed the movie for what it was.
It’s not perfect- there are some plot holes that left me thinking, “huh?” and the story is pretty much forgettable minus the small plot twist at the end.
The performances were good, not great, and I don’t have any major criticisms based on that.
I do love me some Ryan Reynolds and thought he did a great job keeping Deadpool in the closet for this one! There was just the right amount of smart-ass to shine through.
Justice Smith who plays Tim does a standout job as well. I’m over here Googling to see what else I can see him in (um, Jurassic World- how did I miss that?! and Paper Towns for starters).
I will tell you this: if you know Pokemon and love the wold and fandom, then you will probably dig this movie and not see many flaws.
The dude behind me was L-O-V-I-N-G this movie. He laughed long and hard at points that I personally thought were amusing but not exactly hilarious. I’m pretty sure it’s because he was a Pokemon fan and saw something I didn’t in the reveals.
The CGI was impressive- holy wow, is this movie pretty!- and I give major props to the crew that made sure these Pokemon moved and flowed beautifully.
As a non-anime person, I was concerned this would lean way too far into that genre for me to get. It didn’t. There’s just enough of that style to stay true to the Pokemon world but not so much that someone like me was distracted or turned off by it.
When Can You Run To The Bathroom During Pokemon: Detective Pikachu?
This one is because: kids.
You’re probably taking them and despite your best parenting efforts, you know they will need to go in the middle of the movie!
I started adding this element to my movie reviews with Avengers: Endgame When To Pee and it seems to be super helpful. Let me know if I’m missing a good moment and I’ll add it in.
- When Tim is on the train heading to Ryme City for the first time. It’s a travel shot, so you can def get in and out without missing too much.
- If your child doesn’t like intense action or violence, the Pokemon Battle scene is a good time to pop out. The climactic end battle is another place if they just don’t handle this kind of thing well!
Detective Pikachu Parent Movie Review
My children are 16, 14, 12 and 7. Here are my recommendations for each age based on my children’s maturity levels.
So you want to know if Detective Pikachu is safe for kids?
Detective Pikachu Parent Movie Review for Teens and Tweens
There’s a high-key chance (see the teen lingo there? I’m so hip and cool like that) that your teens and tweens are planning on seeing this one.
And for the most part, there’s no reason not to let them.
There is some language- nothing like the PG-13 Rated Avengers: Endgame– but in my opinion, it’s on the low end of the scale (a couple of Hells and Damns were all I caught). There’s no nudity or sex or even too much in the realm of romance, though Pikachu does try to help out with a love connection.
8 to 10-years old
Most families will find Detective Pikachu kid-friendly in this age range. See above for the language warnings.
7 and Under
Is Detective Pikachu safe for kids 7 and under? My 7-year-old was BEGGING to see the movie for weeks.
Since it was rated PG I figured we’d go for it without pre-screening it.
She did say there were two parts she found a little scary and worrisome, but this morning was reiterating her need for a Pikachu stuffie… so I think she came through it without any problems!
Patty Holliday is a parent movie reviewer, writer, and podcaster living in the Washington, DC area. Her goal is to bridge the gap between casual fandom and picky critic with parent movie and television reviews. As a lifelong fangirl and pop culture connoisseur, she’s been creating online since 2009. You can find her work at No-Guilt Disney.com, No-Guilt Fangirl.com, No-Guilt Life, and as host of the top-rated No-Guilt Disney Podcast.