Hey, look, it's a movie that I own that was full price. That's right, I didn't get this from a rag store or from the Dollar Tree, it was gifted to me by my uncle. This is one of them there fancy rich people movies. And damn, does it show. This isn't a hidden gem, this is a sparkling polished gem that is for sell in a jewelry store after designers and gem cutters worked their assess off on it and a bunch of kids probably died mining it.
I don't think there's much left to say about this movie because it's been critically praised all over the internet already, but I'm going to do it anyway, because being redundent has never stopped me before. This movie is amazing. And that fact is amazing, because let's be real, most video game movies are not critical or fan sucesses. Every single person on this team worked their asses off.
Let's start with the writers. This story would, I think, stand on its own even if we removed the pokemon aspects. Even if we changed the IP, this would still be a perfectly servicable detective story, but let's not, because the pokemon aspects are SO well done it's amazing. To get into why I love this movie so much, I have to spoil the ending, which is not exactly a twist but really got me, but this is actually my second viewing, and like all good mysteries, watching it a second time I felt like a pure dumbass for not noticing everything the first time.
This is a movie about a kid who was raised by his grandmother, because after his mother's death his father, in his grief, moved to a new city to start a new life. He got a job at the police department and an apartment, and then sent for his son to come and live with him. But his son wouldn't go. He chose to stay with his grandmother and refused all contact with his father, who kept trying to contact him. I'm not sure why the grandmother and the father let a kid that little decide this on his own, because he looks really young, but they did. I think it might be because they live in the pokemon world and kids are given a lot more atonomy in that universe, I would personally say too much atonomy, in our world if the dad had custody he would have had to suck it up and go, but not in the pokemon universe where kids are pretty much considered legally capable of making their own decisions at 10. So it's good worldbuilding but it's really sad. Especially because there's no real reason for him to be so angry at his father, it's explicitly stated that his mother died of an illness, his dad didn't do anything to cause her death.
I cannot for the life of me find a picture of this scene, so you'll have to trust me that he looked too young to decide his own placement. Thanks google, this was a really emotional scene, how did no one screenshot it. You know what, fuck it, you want something done right you have to do it yourself. I'll screenshot it my goddamn self. That'll be my contribution, that'll be the new thing I add to the conversation.
Tim, as a child, wanted to be a pokemon trainer, but I think the day that he was supposed to start his pokemon journey is around the time his mom died, because in a flashback, he says that he's upset because it's, "the most important day of his life," in a conversation with his grandma, and she tells him not to act like that because it's nobody fault that his mom is sick and his dad is at the hospital with her. So I think he's around 10 when she dies. And because of that bad memory that caused him to give up on becoming a pokemon trainer, and his father's love of pokemon, that might be why he doesn't like his dad. It's too tied to that traumatic memory. I actually like that this is implied via storytelling rather than stated outright, it's good movie making.
Years later, Tom is a grown adult of 21 and walking with a friend in town talking about a promotion he thinks he's going to recieve at his insurance job, when he gets a call from his father's place of employment, the Ryme City Police Department, informing him, as his father Harry's next-of-kin that his father had an accident at work and passed away, and he needs to come and claim his stuff, and also just, you know, letting him know how bad they feel that his dad died. So now he's lost both parents, but Tim is kind of a cold and unemotional (some would say emotionally repressed) guy, so he doesn't have much of a visible reaction, and the actor, Justice Smith does an excellent job of gradually gaining emotional intelligence and emotional range over the course of the movie. A character like that who has an arc dealing with emotional intelligence is extremely difficult to get right, and he NAILS it. I cannot praise him enough. I've not seen many of his other films, so I don't know if he's always this good, but I would assume he was, I don't know why he would magically be better in one movie than all the others. But I want to emphasize that he didn't have to go this hard on a video game movie, and the fact that he and the other actors do really elevates it, so they deserve to be praised.
His friend is also well acted, but the character is a bit of a dick. It opens with his friend trying to get him to capture a Cubone, specifically because he knows that both Tim and this Cubone lost their mothers and are lonely. It's a dick thing to do. Like I get where he was coming from but lord that was in poor taste. And Tim tells him that he's insulted by it, he knows it was in poor taste. He wasn't deliberately trying to be a dick, he was trying to do something nice, but he failed bigger than hell. Social fax paux right there.
Anyway, after recieving the phone call, Tim travels to Ryme City to meet up with his father's boss and do all the things you have to do when your next-of-kin dies, and his low social intelligence and guardedness kind of freaks his dad's boss, Lt. Yoshida out. He can tell, because he's a human person with empathy, that Tim has to be hurt, and him being so casual is weird, but there's not really anything he can do so he just kind of gives him the keys to his dad's apartment and the address and lets him go.
And let's take a second here to look at his snubble and praise the art department. Look at that snubble! Look how good it looks! This team went in the perfect direction, they didn't try to make the pokemon look exactly real, which I think is a huge mistake that a lot of films make, but they made them look like they could live in a real world. That snubble looks like a biologically plausable animal, while still retaining the pokemon art style. And all the pokemon in the movie are treated that way, the art direction, and the entire art department, did an excellent job crafting this world and the creatures that inhabit it. It's even more impressive when you see it move, which is rare, a lot of the time in a movie like this that relies so heavily on post-production computer art, has creatures that look great, until they move. And then they go right into the uncanny valley. But this team made living, breathing creatures that look perfect! It's so rare as to be amazing. I think that a lot of people miss how human and emotional the story is on the first viewing, because a lot of the articles that you read are just praising the art team for their amazing work on the pokemon. They did such a good job that they kind of blow people away in amazement at how good the movie looks to the point that it's difficult to actually watch it for the plot, and because of that, I would suggest repeat viewing, which isn't honestly something I do that often. But you really do need at least 2 good viewings of this movie to fully appreciate it, because the art team did such a good job I would call it distractingly good. But there's a really good detective story that was accidentially hidden under the beautiful visuals.
So Tim goes to his dad's apartment, and there is a LOT of storytelling just via set design. Every single person who worked on this movie knocked it out of the park. The movie doesn't even call attention to it, but the apartment characterizes Harry. His home is covered in pictures of his son and his late wife, but the photos of his son are in various ages, so you can tell that even though Tim wouldn't have anything to do with him, he was still in contact with the grandma, asking for photos of him. I'm pretty sure he showed them off at work, too, because his boss told Tim that his father talked about him all the time. And, he kept the room he had set up for his son set up for his son, obviously in the hopes that he would change his mind and come stay with him. He's decorated the walls with pokemon themed posters, because Tim had originally wanted to be a pokemon trainer. So we, the audience, get to imagine him living in that apartment, alone, with all those pictures and that room made up for Tim, holding out hope that he could have a relationship with a son who would have nothing to do with him. Yes, there are gorgeous pokemon, but this is a human movie with well developed human characters.
In the stairwell, Tim met a creepy lady who told him that she worked for the news and kept asking really invasive questions about his dad, creeping him out until he told her to leave because she was creeping him out, who had a psyduck that was, to Tim's credit, really creepy. It's a creepy little psyduck. It came out of an unlit back alley and would scare the shit out of anybody. It gets less creepy later, but it is not good at first impressions. But this lady Lucy tells him that she's interested in Harry because of a story he was chasing that would be a huge news story if she could just get a source for it. She, too, is bad at first impressions and comes off real overbearing and creepy, but I like it because it reminds me of a noir detective story, all those people those old-timey gal Fridays, act like that, and I think that's the energy she's channeling. Which she does well, just in our postmodern society it reads as creepy.
Once Tim manages to shake her and gets to his dad's apartment, he's just kind of wandering around looking at it, and I think taking in how it obviously looks like Harry was absolutely planning to just come back home after work the day he died- he still has papers on his desk, he left the TV on, he didn't make his bed, it so obviously looks like he didn't plan to die and though that should be obvious, I've been to the homes of friends who died suddenly and unexpectedly, and it's a surreal experience to fully ingest that information, the information that they were planning to come back, and now they never will.
He finds a vile of something and opens it, like a dumbass would do, and this purple smoke comes pouring out and choking him, because it's a goddamn mystery vile, what did you think would happen, Tim, why would you open a weird mystery vile? and so he opens a window to let the smoke out, and the smoke cloud emerges from the apartment and a bunch of pokemon breath it in. Specifically, there were a bunch of aipoms were just chilling on the sign outside the building that proclaimed it to be an apartment building.
Then, he hears a noise and goes to check it out, and what's this? It's a pikachu in a hat that can speak the queen's English like it's a goddamn meowth? The fuck? But before he can solve the mystery of the talking pikachu, a bunch of those aipoms break in with crazy eyes and start attacking folks, so Tim and the Pikachu have to run for their lives.
But here's the thing, after about one respiatory cycle, the aipoms stop attacking, almost like they were drugged by that smoke and it made them agressive. HMMMMMMMMM...
So nobody but Tim can understand this pikachu, so he thinks that him breathing in the smoke must have given him the ability to talk to pokemon, but I don't know that it did because that specific pikachu is the only one he can understand. So the pikachu tells him that he was in the apartment because there's an address in his little hat that says, "If this pikachu gets lost, please return to Harry at -address-", so even though this pikachu has retrograde amnesia, he figured he must belong to that Harry guy, and went back to the apartment listed on his hat to find him. Tim tells him that he's Harry's son, and Harry is dead, but the pikachu is having none of that. He says that he knows Harry is alive, despite what the police report says, because he can feel it in his jellies. I don't know what jellies are and neither does Tim.
Tim, by the way, despite his profound dumbassery earlier, has a REALLY good idea here. He doesn't want to look like he's having a conversation with a pikachu, because he thinks that makes him look crazy, which is news to me, I talk to my dog all the time, I thought we had all decided as a society that it was perfectly acceptable to talk to animals, so he pulls out his phone and pretends to be on the phone. If this really is a problem that's a really good idea. Good on him.
The pikachu convinces him to help him look for Harry and then invites him up to his apartment to spend the night, which is adorable because Tim tries to explain that it's actually his apartment now that his dad is dead and the little feller is having none of it. I love this pikachu. Everyone loves this pikachu. Ryan Reynolds is an adorable pikachu.
When Tim wakes up, it turns out the little critter has stayed up all night assembling clues from Harry's files, which he has laid out everywhere, trying to figure out where Harry would have gone, and it's as depressing as it is adorable. He's been drinking coffee to stay up and he keeps picking up these empty cups looking for more coffee and it's so cute. God, it's so easy to get distracted by the good visuals. I love this pikachu so much. Just picks them up with his widdle mouse hands!
I would assume you're not supposed to give a pikachu that much caffine. I mean I'm not a pokemon professor but it seems not good for them. They're so very small.
Tim tells the pikachu about the reporter who seemed to know an awful lot about Harry, and they go to her work to look for her and ask for her help, at pikachu's request. At the news station, we the audience get to meet our villians for the movie, a father son team who lead a media empire. The son basically walks on camera and announces, "Hello, I'm Roger Clifford and I'll be your villian this evening." His first action is to talk down to Lucy and berate his father for being too pretentious and taking too much credit for their media empire. This is particularly shitty because his father has some kind of nerve disease that has paralyzed him from the waist down, so he's being a dick to someone in a wheelchair, which always looks bad on you.
Let's talk about Roger and Howard and their relationship here for a minute. Neither of them mentions a mother, so she's not in the picture. And Howard has an obsession with pokemon, because they can evolve and take on new forms, new bodies, essentially. He says that because of his disease he has been pouring all this time and resourecs into finding out how that works, because he thinks that he can use whatever biological process that is to cure himself, and presumably other people who suffer from paralyisis. As a result of his work-a-holic attitude that is purely selfish, like he doesn't say he wants to cure other paralyzed people, he says he wants to cure himself, he has completely neglected his son. He has a real obsession, and it destroyed his human relationships. This is slowly reveled through the movie, we just see Roger being a dick to him, and then later he kind of goes into it without Roger around, because he kind of blames himself, but as the movie goes on it becomes more and more apparent that he never loved his son. So it gets real hard to blame Roger for his behavior toward his father.
But we don't know that yet, we just see his father wheel away while Roger screams at him not to turn his back on him. Then Howard's ditto transforms into a WHOLE HUMAN PERSON to push the wheelchair. I somehow missed this on my first watch. That's not a thing a regular ditto can do. I think I straight up forgot on my first viewing that this isn't a thing a ditto can do, because it looked so cool. And it was plausable. But this movie is firmly set in the pokemon universe and all the normal restriction on pokemon's abilities apply. So this is actually a BRILLIANT use of foreshadowing.
Tim and Pikachu manage to get Lucy, who looks way less offputting and creepy now that they've seen her being talked down to by the head of the company as a lowly intern, to meet them and tell them what she knows. She wants to meet up later because she doesn't want to discuss anything at work, and Tim is being awkward as hell and just messing up the social situation, so he also wants to get the hell out of there as quickly as possible.
Tim and Pikachu manage to track down the vile, using the scant information they got out of Lucy, to an underground pokemon battling club out by the docks, and this place is my favorite scene in the movie for reasons that I'll get into here in a minute. Pokemon battles are actually outlawed in Ryme City, I would guess because of the massive destruction they cause and the general attitude the populace seems to have about pokemon as pets more than battle monsters, but they're pokemon, so of course a place like this exists. And of course it's a seedy underground club where people can get illegal substances.
The club's owner recognizes the pikachu and get madder than hell at Tim, because that pikachu battled against his charizard and scarred it, and this dude loves his charizard. I really identify with this guy, because I, too, love my Charizard. Charizard was my starter, my first ever pokemon. This guy even has a tattoo of the charizard on his chest. He calls it his baby.
He tells Tim that he'll tell him about the gas viles if and only if Tim will give him a rematch so his Charizard has the ability to win back his honor, which pikachu readily agrees to, because if he beat it once, he can beat it again. But, when he actually gets in the battle, he can't figure out how to use his electric pouches to actually do anything. Which makes no sense, he's a pikachu. The guy, the club guy, before the battle, opens his coat revealing that he has a bunch of those viles, and breaks one open so that charizard can inhale it, which will make him all agressive like the aipoms so he'll have an advantage in the battle. He's what we, the audience, like to call a cheater.
So this charizard is whooping pikachu's ass up one side of the ring and down the other, to the point that Tim gets scared it's gonna kill him and jumps in his damn self. And again, what he does here is amazing, in the sense that I think you would have to play pokemon to know what he's really doing. He runs up to the charizard and starts stomping at it's tail, trying to stomp out the fire.
If you've never played pokemon, I'll tell you- that will kill it. If the flame on a charizard's tail goes out, it dies. He was straight up trying to kill it. I barely had time to form the thought, "If somebody did that to my Charizard I would kill them," before the guy jumps him. So now there's the pokemon fight, and there's a human fight with these two dudes rolling around- which I'm just gonna say it, club dude was in the right here. I would have jumped his ass, too. But unfortunetly for him, club dude is still wearing that coat full of those viles, and in the process of the asswhooping, Tim hits him or throws him down or something, and you hear glass shatter.
The guy's like, "Well that's not good," as this gas just pours out of him, and everyone in the club who had their pokemon waiting to fight, and those pokemon themselves, start breathing it in and coughing, and then, predictibly, all hell breaks loose. Tim manages to get the man to tell him who his supplier is, but all the dude knows is that she goes by, "the doctor" and is probably a scientist, which is not super super helpful. But if that's all he knows that's all he knows, so Tim goes back to try and help pikachu.
Pikachu's plan is to piss off this magikarp that had busted out of a tank in the commotion, hoping it would evolve and go absolutely buckwild and maybe kill the Charizard, who is, you know, a fire type and weak to water, and that plan works really well. He kicks the shit out of the magikarp, which then evolves, and I think hydropumps the whole damn club full, sending them spilling out the front door. I do think that charizard is still alive though, it's tail was still on fire as it goes out the door.
And outside that door, are the cops. Because of course.
At the police station, Tim is talking to Lt. Yoshida again, and explains that the reason he was there is because he was chasing a lead on the gas, which they've been calling R because it had a R on it, not beacuse he wanted to be in an illegal pokemon battle, that he found his father's pikachu, and thinks that his father is still alive, that he can understand the pikachu as if it's speaking English, and just basically all the crazy shit that's happened to him, so Lt. Yoshida, like a normal person, thinks that his father's death has driven him mad.
Thank god for nepotism, because instead of arresting him, he just tells him that he thinks that he's having delusions because of the trauma of his father's death and he needs closure, needs to accept that Harry is not alive and well and waiting to be found, so he shows him the security footage taken the night of the wreck that killed him so he can see that he is, in fact, dead. The camera is a road camera on the bridge the car went off, so it's not the most convincing thing in the world, you don't actually see a body or anything, but you see that it was a really bad wreck, the whole car flipped and went right off that bridge, so it is highly unlikely that anyone could survive it. But Tim isn't convinced. But Lt. Yoshida lets him go and tells him to get some rest and process his father's death.
Lt. Yoshida must have really liked Harry because it is super obvious that Tim totally was in an illegal pokemon battle. And litearlly the only reason he wasn't arrested is because Lt. Yoshida decides to just let him go. I feel like that's a commentary of some kind.
I think that pikachu kicking the shit out of that magikarp to make it evolve is a reference to the pokemon TV show, because one time James got real mad at his magikarp and kicked the shit out of it and it made it evolve.
Tim and Pikachu are sitting outside the police station talking about what to do next and the fact that Tim completely fucked up his relationship with his dad, and Lt. Yoshida is kind of right, the idea that he might be dead is hitting him pretty hard, because he totally was the one who fucked up that relationship and his dad obviously loved him and wanted a relationship, and if he really is dead then Tim can never give that to him, and that makes him feel like a complete piece of shit. Which are all very valid emotions to have, because like... again, as a little kid he can't really be held responsible for that attitude, but now he's a grown ass man and he is responsible for how his action affect people. But pikachu tells him that it isn't his fault, and Harry is alive, and if he was there right now he would hug him so hard it would make his bones pop. Which makes him feel better but I don't know is the right thing to say because I feel like Tim really does need to adderss how bad he fucked up that relationship with Harry and work through it. But the fact that I can feel any kind of way about this adorable mouse's itnerfamily relationship advice should really tell you how well this movie is written. I have emotions about this. This is a human movie. I just kept noticing this trend of how all the reviews were about the pokemon, but this is a really human movie.
Then this black car pulls up and some lady with pink hair and sunglasses gets out of it and just motions for them to follow her, and they do, despite Pikachu very clearly knowing it's a bad idea to get in a car with strangers and even calls it an evil car. This seems like not a good decision to make. I would have run from this bitch as fast as my legs could carry me, and I can't run real fast or real far. Especially if I wasn't wearing a sports bra, like just in normal clothes. I got them heavy boobs like fat bitches do. I'd put an eye out bouncing trying to get away from this bitch. I would have tried it. Tim just goes with her. I guess she caught him at the perfect time.
She stays dead silent the whole ride, too, she's so goddamn creepy, and this is one of those things that makes me feel like a goddamn idiot later. I'm so stupid, Jesus Christ. But I wasn't the only one so I take some solice in the fact that this movie made half my species feel like idiots.
She takes them to none other than good old Howard Clifford, remember him, the CEO of the media corporation with the neurodegenerative disease that paralyzed him? He brought them here because he was actually the one who hired Harry, and he tells Tim that he knows what happened and the police report was wrong because they don't have all the security footage, but he does. There's no explination for why he has this. Also, his office has a bunch of pokemon statues in it of legendary pokemon known to have powers over time, space, and arceus who is basically the creator god of the pokemon universe, and they look really cool, but they're also forshadowing. And he has an eevee that he was in the process of evolving into a Flarion when they got there to really hammer home this idea that he's obsesed with pokemon evolution.
He shows them the security footage on a cool hologram, and what he has that wasn't on the police recording, is footage of Harry crawling from the wreckage with his pokemon, totally alive. Then he tells Tim to look up, which he does, and there's a mewtwo floating in the sky. Howard tells him to find Mewtwo, and he'll find his father.
So Tim and Pikachu ignore all of Lt. Yoshida's advice and instead follow Howard's advice and go to meet Lucy as planned. As an aspiring investigative jornalist, she's traced the tube of gas they found back to a pokemon research lab that she thinks was doing something fucked up, and she decides to just go to the lab right then, no plan or anything, and break in. They follow her because like, she's gonna do it and that's really all they can do if they want to find out about the lab.
They take the tiniest car I have ever seen in my life to the lab. That car must get the best gas milage because I have never seen anything like it. I don't even know where you'd get a car like that. I don't even know if my tall, fat ass would fit inside a car like that. Look at this car. This is a 4-seater. It's a hatchback, too, so there's a trunk in this car, it's where Lucy keeps her wire cutters. This is the tiniest most efficient thing I have ever seen in my life. I kind of love this car. I wonder if it could make it up the hills here in Appalachia or if it'd just roll backwards.
So they get there and break in with Lucy's wirecutters because she really does just do stuff. Pikachu says that she's a dame looking for danger and he is absolutely correct, bitch is crazy. The electricity is still on in this lab, the cameras are working and she gives exactly no fucks. Just breaks right in.
So the cool thing about this lab is that it, once again, is set so firmly in the pokemon universe. Tim and pikachu manage to get the security footage working, and the scientists there say that they've captured Mewtwo, which escaped from a lab in Kanto 20 years ago. It did. Canonically mewtwo was created by Dr. Fuji and his team, and Dr. Fuji worked for Team Rocket. So I personally like to think that the R on the gas viles stands for 'rocket', but I love me some team rocket so just let me have this.
So what that gas is, is some kind of contraption created from mewtwo that distills his psychic abilities- well, their psychic abilities, mewtwo is genderless, don't let me misgender a pokemon, allowing them to rob pokemon of their free will, which makes them super agressive. Why would they want to do that? You'll be amazed at how well all these pieces come together.
It also shows that the lab had hired Harry to catch Mewtwo. Harry was the reason that Mewtwo was captured to be used in this experiment. Which, Tim thinks, is why Mewtwo killed him.
So someone in a car who's face we don't see is watching the security footage, and decides to just go ahead and release all the pokemon who were being held in the lab as research subjects. They immediately attack Lucy, Tim, Pikachu and Psyduck, who are forced to run for their lives through one of the experimental places, which is a torterra garden that the plaque says is an experiment meant to increase their size and strength. It leads out into an outdoor area, and they keep running from these genetically enhanced greninjas.
But they're so fast and so strong it becomes apparent that they're not going to be able to outrun them, so pikachu has the idea to stress psyduck out so bad that he won't be able to contain his headache and will let out a psychic blast, so he just starts insulting him until he does, and that works. But it causes something else, too. The ground below them starts to move.
They're not actually in a forest, they're on the back of giant torterras.
The giant torterras shake them off, in a gorgeous action sequence, and pikachu gets hurt in the process, so badly it knocks him slick out and Tim is scared he's going to die. So he sees some random bulbasaur, like a wild bulbasaur that just lives around there, and begs it to help him. I, personally don't know why he does this instead of taking him to a pokemon center, but he says he needs a healing pokemon and asks the bulbasaur for help, and that's him for it, I guess. Not what I would have done but I'm not Tim and I also don't open random viles I see sitting around.
Lucy decides to take her psyduck and go back to the tiny car, so Tim just follows this bulbasaur, which meets up with a group of other bulbasaur, deeper into the woods surrounding the research lab. The bulbasaur are adorable, every pokemon in this movie looks so good.
The bulbasaurs lead him to this rock just in the forest, and then turn around and leave. Tim hollers at them to not leave because he needs help, but then he looks up and who does he see but Mewtwo? Just kinda floating there like it has every right to be there. The pokemon he was looking for because it knows where Harry is. Mewtwo uses their psychic ability to heal pikachu and then also uses it to show them what happened the night it escaped. It turns out that pikachu was the one who messed up the electricity in the lab, allowing Mewtwo to escape.
Then mewtwo is captured by those same things that Team Rocket used to capture them back in Kanto, those floating metal drone ball things, before Tim can really do anything, and Pikachu now believes that Harry is dead, that Mewtwo killed him, and that he betrayed him leading to his death, by freeing Mewtwo. Tim doesn't believe this, but Pikachu refuses to go back with him, because he no longer trusts himself to be around people and not betray them, and just runs off into the woods.
So Tim heads back into Ryme City to tell Howard that someone has recaptured Mewtwo, probably Roger, and they get back right as this big parade to celebrate 20 years since Ryme City's founding is happening. Lucy wants to get on the news and tell everyone about Mewtwo's escape, the gas, Harry's real death, all of it, so she runs up to one of the reporters covering the parade while Tim runs off to Howard's office. The lady brushes her off and tells her to go get her some coffee, because she's an intern, and gives her the coat and microphone she was holding to put in the news van, and just basically treats her like an intern. So Lucy steals the press pass on the coat and uses it to go tell the mayor, but the mayor also just brushes her off because I guess being a reporter isn't that impressive.
Tim, meanwhile, makes it to Howard's office, and he's wearing this thing that I for some reason forgot about from the lab, that goes on your head. So what you do is, you put that on, douse a pokemon in gas, and while they're in that mindless state, it allows you to control them and basically inhabit their body. SO, it turns out that Howard was the bad guy all along, and he was the one who captured Mewtwo, and now he has Mewtwo in a tank in his office, and he's got the thing on his head and mewtwo's head, and his plan is actually not to use any kind of pokemon biology to cure himself, it's to just leave his human body sitting in his office chair and be mewtwo from now on.
And Tim is, of course, like, "No! Don't do that!"
And Howard tells him that not only is he gonna do that, he's also going to use mewtwo's psychic abilities to gas all the pokemon and then put humans in their bodies. And Tim figures out that all the parade baloons are filled with that gas. And that is the real reason the gas exists, so Howard can turn all the people in the crowd into pokemon. And then when he's done with that I think he plans to turn all people in the world into pokemon, like just travel around as Mewtwo doing that.
Tim, at this point, realizes that he's an able bodied 21-year-old and this dude is an elderly disabled person and he can totally just whoop his ass, but when he goes to do that, his bodyguard, the pink haired lady, takes off her sunglasses.
She's ditto. She's a goddamn ditto. It makes PERFECT SENSE but you got me movie! You got me! His son was also ditto. Everybody was ditto. Every time you see somebody with sunglasses on, it was ditto. It's been ditto this whole time! It got me so good! And then the damn ditto starts using psychological warfare and turns into Lucy, because it thinks Tim won't fight her, and starts whooping his ass, allowing Howard to take over Mewtwo's mind. Which he does.
So now Howard is outside flying around as Mewtwo and does his plan of gassing everybody and turning them into pokemon, while the ditto keeps changing into different pokemon and just beating the absolute shit out of Tim.
Meanwhile, pikachu has come out onto a road and is walking down it, when he happens to come onto the bridge where he and Harry had gotten into that wreck. Something about being back at the scene of the trauma jogs his memory, and he remembers what really happens, and it's the second big twist of the movie.
Harry was hired to capture Mewtwo, but being a detective, he figured out what was going on and regretted it, so he went back to free them. He and pikachu saved Mewtwo, but they were pursued by the genetically enhanced greninjas, who flipped his car off the bridge in an attempt to kill him. Mewtwo comes upon them, and pikachu is fine, but Harry is hurt and actively dying from the crash. So the pikachu agrees to sacrifice himself so that Harry can live in his body. The pikachu was Harry the ENTIRE TIME.
You may be asking yourself, if Pikachu was Harry the entire time, why didn't his own son who lived with him for a good ten years, recognize his voice? UNCLEAR. The movie never addresses it even a little bit.
So now that Harry the Pikachu remembers who he is, he of course thinks, "I have to find my son and tell him!" and goes running off at full pikachu speed toward Ryme City, and that high speed stat serves him well, because he gets there right as Howard has taken over mewtwo and all the gas is coming out of the baloons. Lucy is running around telling people not to breath the gas or let their pokemon breath the gas, but it's too late, and everyone is breathing the gas, and then Howard is using his mewtwo powers to put people in pokemon bodies, so she gets turned into her psyduck. But she runs up to Pikachu and tells him what's happened, as a psyduck.
So the only thing that Harry can do at this time is try to get Mewtwo to not do his evil plan. He sees him hovering around turning people into pokemon, but notices that he's wearing the head thing, and being a detective puts two and two together. What results is another great action scene, he gets help from a wild pidgeotto, but he's really no match for mewtwo. But, during the fight inside, Tim sees him fly past and knows he's there. He also opens a closet and the real Roger falls out of it, all kinds of bound with duct tape. But now the thing about Roger is that he doesn't WANT to be bound and gagged and useless, so he gets the gag off and starts going for the duct tape with his teeth. Roger is shockingly badass.
But that ditto really is whooping Tim's ass though. And Mewtwo Howard is really whooping Harry Pikachu's ass. They're losing bigger than hell, to the point that the ditto actually knocks Tim out a window and then comes over as a cubone (this ditto can also shift into anything at any time, not just what it's looking at, it was genetically enhanced in the lab) and starts pounding at his hands.
But then Roger gets free and knocks it out the window with like, a lamp or something. It turns into a bird pokemon from the later generations that I'm unfamiliar with, but Roger bought them enough time to get the head thing off of Howard and destroy it, so ditto has to cut its losses.
Mewtwo, once they're at themselves again, undoes everything Howard did, seperating the people and pokemon, including Harry and pikachu. Tim and Lucy are heros, Howard is arrested, and the movie ends in a heartwarming scene.
Tim is at the train station with his dad, now human again and not dead, preparing to board a train and go back home to his granny and his insurance job, but he has a change of heart and decides to stay in Ryme city with his dad and his pikachu, with asparations of becoming a detective at the police department like his father, and working to rebuild their relationship. The movie ends with them going to a cafe for coffee to have their first real conversation with his father as a human.
I'm just going to say it- this is the best video game movie I have ever seen in my life. This movie was so good for a variety of reasons, but I think that the main one is that it respects it's source material. This movie is firmly set in the pokemon world. It doesn't hold your hand and explain that, it assumes that the audience will pick up on it. It doesn't feel the need to have a character say that, for example, putting out the flame on a Charizard's tail will kill it, it trust the audience to know. And it used that setting to tell a real, compelling story, with real human emotion. This is a movie about pokemon, but it's also a movie about a grieving son who is scared he'll never be able to have a real relationship with his father. And it's a real mystery that slowly unfolds over the course of the movie, it's a detective movie. It used every element in its arsenol to create a plot with real, compelling characters that we, the audience, can identify and connect with. It's not a pandering money grab, it's a real-ass movie. That's the secret. You still have to tell a good story. You still have to have compelling characters.
I honestly think that this movie has set a new standard for video game movies, moving forward. I think that before this movie in particular, a lot of people wrote them off. A lot of people were just ok with the idea that a video game movie would be bad, by nature of being a video game movie. I've heard analysis that said that it was impossible to make an excellent video game movie, because video games, as an interactive medium, were by nature more compelling than any movie ever could be. This movie proves them wrong. The secret is to have a real story set in a video game world, not to expect elements from the game to carry the movie.
Yes, the pokemon are gorgeous, the whole movie is gorgeous. But I very highly doubt that had we not had this brilliant writing the movie would have been as good as it could have been. Yes, the gorgeous visuals could have carried it at the box office, but that wouldn't give it staying power. Impressive visuals, like it or not, will always be outdone, and if your movie relies solely on them, it will eventually become outdated as technology progresses and media artists get better tools. But a good plot about real human emotion? Those are timeless.
And there's so much in the themes and symbolism of this movie to unpack, again, even without the pokemon. There's an obvious paralell between Roger and Tim, both have bad relationships with their work-a-holic fathers, but the difference is that Tim's dad, at his core, is a good person who loved his son. He'll get to have a relationship with his father. Roger's father kidnapped him, stuck him in a closet, and replaced him with a pokemon that couldn't speak, then got arrested and will probably spend the rest of his life in prison. He'll never get that kind of relationship, even though he wants a loving parent, because his dad is a straight up bad person.
The twists though, to the mystery are so good, in particular. They really got me with that ditto and I hate myself for it.
This is just a flat good movie, y'all. It's worth more than the watch, it's worth the rewatch.