‘Pokémon: Detective Pikachu’ Is For Adults — These Trailers Prove It

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Just hearing the word “Pokémon” can be enough to make any ‘90s kid nostalgic. The kids who grew up playing the first-ever Pokémon games are all adults now, and the upcoming film Pokémon: Detective Pikachu, which combines live action with CGI, updates the franchise to appeal specifically to adults. The newest trailer for the film, released yesterday, suggests the movie will be full of dry humor, not the cute and cuddly pocket monsters these adults grew up watching.

Pokémon: Detective Pikachu’s upcoming release has sparked a wave of reporting on the franchise. Polygon took the new trailer’s emergence as an occasion to speculate on the film’s plot and tie it to what the outlet describes as “obscure Pokémon lore.” An article in The Hollywood Reporter compares the upcoming film to an ‘80s summer blockbuster.  

The Verge offered an especially insightful take based on Ryan Reynolds’ work on both Pokémon: Detective Pikachu and the two Deadpool films from 2016 and 2018. In all three films, Reynolds voices the main character, who doesn’t necessarily fit audience expectations. Reynolds’ Pikachu is an amnesiac detective capable of speaking full sentences, not a cute electrically-charged mouse that can only chirp parts of its name. Deadpool is sometimes seen as a wisecracking antihero rather than a superhero, as is typical for the main character of a Marvel movie.

The Verge notes that a tweet Reynolds sent early Monday could prove the first in a series of Pokémon: Detective Pikachu marketing ploys similar to those Reynolds has rolled out in the lead-up to his Deadpool films. In this tweet, Reynolds included a video that seemed to parody the Inside the Actor’s Studio series; in the clip, he talks about the method acting that went into portraying Pikachu. The video is satirical and full of dryly delivered absurdity, just as the two trailers for Pokémon: Detective Pikachu suggest the film will be.

Pokémon: Detective Pikachu’s trailers currently advertise the presence of Reynolds and just one other actor: Justice Smith, currently best known for his role in last year’s Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. That film eventually became the 12th-best selling movie of all time, but Smith is still a relative newcomer, especially compared to Reynolds. Pokémon: Detective Pikachu will be his first role following Fallen Kingdom; it will also be his full-on starring role, whereas, in Fallen Kingdom, Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard were front and center. After Pokémon: Detective Pikachu, audiences could come to know Smith as well as they know Reynolds.

The movie joins the popular mobile game in bringing Pokémon to a new generation of fans and their parents. Released in 2016, the game brought the beloved creatures into real life, using GPS and augmented reality (AR) to bring players from behind the screen into outdoor areas across the globe.

In addition to the just-released trailer that sparked all this week’s conversations, this trailer from last November is worth watching. Do you plan to see the film when it hits theaters? Do you think Pokémon is only for kids? Sound off in the comments!

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