The bar was so low for a good video game movie, but Pokémon: Detective Pikachu managed to deliver and exceed expectations. Who cares if it has a 60% on Rotten Tomatoes? Ryan Reynolds as Pikachu is all you need.
Most of us seeing the movie grew up with the classic Pokémon games, with a smattering of Pokémon Ranger and Pokémon Mystery Dungeon. With so much Pokémon lore, the movie was going to get something wrong, even from its own game (yes, Detective Pikachu is a game). Here are 10 things Detective Pikachu got wrong from the games.
10 Pokémon Can’t Understand Humans
Pikachu explains to us that he can’t understand any human except Tim. Everything just sounds like noise, but he can pick up on tone. He explains that communicating with humans is just a feeling Pokémon get, that they can sense the intention behind the words. It’s a nice concept, but no other Pokémon game canon really adheres to that. Even in the anime, Meowth translates for the humans, but never for the Pokémon.
Honestly, it does make sense that Pokémon wouldn’t be able to understand human language. But when people in multiple games can tell a Pokémon to move a box five inches to the right and the Pokémon does it? Yeah, that doesn’t add up.
9 Pikachu’s Moves
During the “battle” scene with Charizard, Tim rattles off Pikachu’s moves and tells him that out of the four, Volt Tackle is the most powerful. Pikachu responds with something like, “No, that’ll knock me out. I’m going for Thunderbolt.”
If we assume Pikachu’s at full health, then he’s wrong. In the games, using Volt Tackle gives the user high recoil damage. And if you’re a more cautious player, you avoid Volt Tackle like the plague because any high-recoil move is somewhat avoidable risk. Just use Thunderbolt.
8 Evolving Magikarp
Yeah, this kind of just happens on its own. In the movie, Pikachu has the brilliant idea to evolve a Magikarp into Gyarados by kicking it. And then it uses Splash. But nothing happens!
Pikachu got lucky, or unlucky considering Gyarados used Surf (or maybe just Water Gun?) after the battle finished. But in the main games, Magikarp just evolves at level 20. To get the most powerful Gyarados, you need to breed them IVs, train them EVs, and level up to 20. And we’re pretty sure kicking a Magikarp, no matter how useless, drops those affection points to 0.
7 Partner Pokémon
With the exception of HeartGold and SoulSilver, Pokémon games don’t let you walk around with your favorite battle buddies. Well, the Pal Park lets you too, but that’s such a small area and how happy is your Pokémon really?
Even in Pokémon Rangers, your partner has to be captured before you’re allowed to take them on adventures. It’s not a hugely personal commitment as Detective Pikachu leads you to believe. But if you're super into Pokémon Amie, that's a different story.
6 Proof That Mewtwo Has a Heart
So a lot of us lost our freaking minds when Mewtwo showed up in the trailers. And we lost it even more when Dr. Laurent drops that reference to Kanto. Like, yes please, let this be part of the larger Pokémon franchise. Embrace the fun.
But probably the nicest thing is that Mewtwo remains neutrally benevolent? If this is the same Mewtwo from the Pokémon movies, he’s been through horrific experimentation, but learned that friendship is valid and important. Seeing him as a secondary protagonist was awesome. As far as game Mewtwo goes...he’s kinda there for that 100% National Pokédex completion.
5 Pokémon Fusion?
This isn't something that's ever really happened the game canon. But we have to give a shoutout to Pokémon Mystery Dungeon, our one canon example of humans turning into Pokémon. Just...not the other way around.
In the original game, this has happened twice. Once because a boy was cursed by Ninetales (spoiler alert: he turned into Gengar), and the other was your character to balance out the chaos. In the next installment, Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Time, Space, and Sky, you're turned into a Pokémon after being attacked while traveling through time. But Pokémon turning into humans or humans fusing with Pokémon? Yeah, that's not really a thing.
4 Location Changes
Ryme City changed a lot during its jump from double screens to a 40ft tall one. For example, Ryme City doesn’t have a police department. But it does have a detective agency. The Baker Detective Agency is located right above the Hi-Hat Café. Harry Goodman was a detective for that agency.
Litwick Cave was Harry’s last known location, not a car crash. So we could’ve had live action Litwick. Darn. But all these decisions make sense for the movie. We didn’t really need or want to leave Ryme City for long because Pokémon friends.
3 It Turns Green?
We all know the drill when it comes to catching wild Pokémon: lower the health bar, throw a Pokéball, and wait for the sparkles. What is this turning green nonsense?
Ok, so in all fairness, this opening scene is great for establishing the Pokémon world for people newer to the franchise. Tim tries to catch a Cubone, makes a joke that's canon to its Pokédex entry, and then runs away because Cubone really didn't want to be caught. The exposition dialogue doesn’t sound too clunky either. But Pokéballs don’t turn different colors in any game, even Pokémon GO!. It was still cool seeing an actual Pokéball.
2 Pika Powers!
Did you know Detective Pikachu has a game? Because it does. For 3DS. In the game, Pikachu is described as a weaker Pikachu. He doesn’t seem to have many classic Pikachu abilities, including moves and agility. Guess he didn’t get his EV training in.
Though we don’t have any other Pikachus to compare our detective to, he doesn’t seem to lack speed or agility. Oh, and he stunned Mewtwo with Volt Tackle. This Pikachu’s on the same level as Ash’s.
1 Harry Goodman
Though Detective Pikachu is based on the game of the same name, the movie took a lot of liberties with the source material. Tim has a more active role in the game, searching for Harry Goodman after his disappearance rather than getting thrown into the adventure.
One of the really fun ones is that the game has a very open ending. Tim and Pikachu end their adventure still not knowing where Harry went. But one of the most popular theories? Harry Goodman is Pikachu. The game version of Detective Pikachu acts more fatherly than he does in the movie. And though the game doesn’t spell it out for us, the fusion is implied.