The story begins when ace detective Harry Goodman goes mysteriously missing, prompting his 21-year-old son Tim to find out what happened. Aiding in the investigation is Harry’s former Pokémon partner, Detective Pikachu: a hilariously wise-cracking, adorable super-sleuth who is a puzzlement even to himself. Chasing clues together through the neon-lit streets of Ryme City a sprawling, modern metropolis where humans and Pokémon live side by side in a hyper-realistic live-action world–they encounter a diverse cast of Pokémon characters and uncover a shocking plot that could destroy this peaceful co-existence and threaten the whole Pokémon universe.
A former Pokemon trainer, Tim (Justice Smith) has left his past behind after the loss of his mother, electing to take a straight job that doesn’t involve small, cute creatures. When he receives word that his father has died, Tim travels to Ryme City to figure out what his dad was up to, entering a metropolis home to humans and Pokemon — a dream community created by visionary billionaire, Howard (Bill Nighy).
“Detective Pikachu” is an attempt to expand the already broad appeal of “Pokemon,” with sharp animated style replaced by CGI cuddliness, while Reynolds steps up to voice Pikachu, giving the character some attitude. Mercifully, it’s not a lazy cash-in, with director Rob Letterman and multiple screenwriters hunting for a way to bring “Pokemon” into a harmonious fantasy world, mixing human interests with monster connections. Letterman finds an appealing balance between the actors and the visual effects, easing outsiders into rhythms of Pokemon and their usefulness as support and gladiators.