If you know your Psyduck from your Squirtle, this one may already be on your most-anticipated list for the year. For Pokémon devotees, it ticks all the boxes, from the moment it opens with a grazing Cubone (a pocket monster who wears a skull as a hat – cuter than it sounds) and introduces Ryme City, a place where humans and Pokémon live in harmonious incomprehension. If you aren’t one of those people, imagine watching ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’ after a PCP binge and you’ll get the idea.
The dense plot involves genetically mutated Pokémon, a Spielberg-y missing dad and a sinister corporation. Into the mix comes loner Tim Goodman (Justice Smith), who discovers he can talk to Pikachu, the ex-partner of his missing cop dad. Ryan Reynolds provides the furry sleuth’s voice and has a ball, chucking around inappropriate one-liners (‘Are you going to make me into a lampshade?’) with giddy abandon.
If the final act is a bit dull and the anarchic Reynolds factor ends up muzzled, director Rob Letterman makes sure not to lose that self-aware edge altogether, while providing enough Pokémon Easter eggs to satisfy the most demanding fan. He’s also helped invent a whole new movie genre: cuddly noir.