Detective Pikachu Is Officially the Best-Reviewed Video-Game Movie of All Time

Critics choose Pika Pika to break the video-game curse.

by | May 13, 2019 | Comments

(Photo by Warner Bros. /courtesy Everett Collection)

Sega. Capcom. Ubisoft. Blizzard. Konami. Many have vied for the throne in the battle of the first Fresh video-game movie adaptation, and all have failed. Until now. Fittingly, it is Nintendo and its Pokémon: Detective Pikachu film that wears the crown, breaking the video-game curse. It’s fitting not just because of the ubiquity of Nintendo in pop culture for decades, but because it was their legendary 1993’s bob-omb Super Mario Bros. that kicked off the adaptation cycle in the first place.

Before we dive further into the achievement, be aware we only considered U.S. theatrical releases when ranking video-game movies. Second, the movie needed to have at least 20 reviews for consideration, the same minimum we used for our list of 41 video game movies ranked by Tomatometer. Why 20 reviews? That’s the number required to get one of our sparkling Critics Consensus summaries, and also implies that the movie generated enough interest to be reviewed by a varied swath of critics. The previous Pokémon movie, The Power of Us (in theaters for a little over a week in America, courtesy of distribution by Fathom Events), actually got a 60%…but only from 5 reviews, not enough to consider it beyond a niche novelty.

With a Tomatometer percentage hovering in the low-60s, the crown sits precariously on Pikachu’s fluffy lil’ skull. Detective is a movie that will continue to see reviews added for months, perhaps even years to come, and enough unfavorable reviews could handily plunge it beneath 60% and into zone Rotten. But for now, Detective Pikachu‘s bright visuals, gallery of lovingly and faithfully rendered Pokemon, and fast-paced kid-friendly narrative (not to mention the coup of casting Ryan Reynolds as lead voice) are good enough with critics. After 26 years and well over 30 Rotten movies – not even the Konami Code could’ve saved Hollywood – it’s been a long time coming.

But other video game movies have come close, especially in recent years. Rampage and Tomb Raider, both just above 52%, had been battling back and forth for the top spot since their releases last year. Meanwhile, 2016 had previously looked like it was going to be the year, with Warcraft by Duncan Jones (Moon, Source Code) and Assassin’s Creed (starring Michael Fassbender, by his Macbeth director Justin Kurzel), though neither landed above 30%.

See the full list of Tomatometer-ranked video game movies here. Detective Pikachu is currently playing in theaters now.

Adjusted Score: 80.33%
Critics Consensus: Pokémon Detective Pikachu may not take its wonderfully bizarre premise as far as it could have, but this offbeat adaptation should catch most -- if not all -- of the franchise's fans.
Synopsis: The story begins when ace detective Harry Goodman goes mysteriously missing, prompting his 21-year-old son Tim to find out what... [More]
Directed By: Rob Letterman

Like this? Subscribe to our newsletter and get more features, news, and guides in your inbox every week.

Tag Cloud

Sundance Now adventure technology Opinion HBO Go Western news aliens new star wars movies Arrowverse Esquire Comedy Central ratings Super Bowl FXX spanish language Anna Paquin President Crunchyroll Masterpiece sequel DGA Rock Fantasy Showtime saw Oscars Cartoon Network Film 007 OWN TCA Shondaland ESPN scary movies Photos christmas movies crossover Family game show japanese Sci-Fi Sundance Netflix twilight San Diego Comic-Con DC streaming service Holidays 2016 IFC Films BBC screen actors guild VICE classics Best and Worst best based on movie concert canceled Reality Competition historical drama The Walking Dead Fox News IFC teaser hidden camera 20th Century Fox composers asian-american Captain marvel nature comedies movies theme song 2021 blockbusters jamie lee curtis Academy Awards 24 frames reboot Apple Tarantino dramedy south america Schedule LGBT Spring TV Drama Columbia Pictures Heroines Box Office elevated horror Brie Larson films NBC medical drama Marvel Studios Dark Horse Comics Trophy Talk docudrama cancelled television worst movies Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt comiccon stop motion superman remakes The Arrangement 2019 Walt Disney Pictures binge Grammys latino Syfy Winners The Purge satire Crackle Musicals independent Binge Guide renewed TV shows TIFF cancelled TV shows Logo chucky TNT godzilla Superheroes WGN batman Amazon Prime Ellie Kemper richard e. Grant 99% sports dc TV kids werewolf Food Network diversity Lucasfilm CBS Paramount Plus halloween Certified Fresh YouTube HBO Max dragons Trivia video on demand Rom-Com telelvision VH1 BET Awards AMC Character Guide docuseries heist movie cooking PaleyFest prank YA politics indie Lifetime true crime adaptation DirecTV TLC GIFs Marvel Interview Disney E! ViacomCBS laika TCA Winter 2020 BBC One pirates of the caribbean The CW psychological thriller spinoff Video Games blockbuster Spectrum Originals Adult Swim witnail ID miniseries 2015 festivals PlayStation mutant doctor who Black Mirror 72 Emmy Awards Martial Arts Song of Ice and Fire kaiju Nat Geo Amazon Prime Video thriller See It Skip It universal monsters what to watch facebook Disney streaming service football Amazon emmy awards Bravo Music italian boxing National Geographic anthology serial killer cars period drama Television Academy TBS Disney+ Disney Plus Sundance TV RT History OneApp cartoon Infographic Marvel Television king kong Pixar WarnerMedia Vudu rom-coms Star Trek Star Wars reviews social media series halloween tv breaking bad hispanic romantic comedy french screenings First Reviews Starz die hard james bond Broadway The Academy Toys Cannes TruTV book DC Universe nfl free movies razzies kong cancelled Legendary The Walt Disney Company animated spy thriller Quiz Summer documentary Television Critics Association singing competition Teen Spike Ovation stoner book adaptation Freeform Tomatazos Black History Month Extras crime black HBO monster movies El Rey Chernobyl APB toronto Hallmark sag awards Comic Book FX comic Exclusive Video archives political drama biography Pride Month Mindy Kaling Nominations child's play psycho a nightmare on elm street golden globes New York Comic Con Pop documentaries Universal Kids & Family 4/20 Turner Country space cancelled TV series disaster Alien rotten movies we love TCM Fall TV 71st Emmy Awards game of thrones 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Action movie Countdown YouTube Premium Polls and Games 21st Century Fox mockumentary 93rd Oscars dceu dogs Mary poppins FX on Hulu canceled TV shows Creative Arts Emmys Shudder zero dark thirty Comedy TCA 2017 History finale harry potter ABC Family zombie The Witch BAFTA Cosplay Apple TV Plus Travel Channel Mary Tyler Moore casting TV renewals venice australia anime crime thriller zombies spider-man rotten Peacock travel Pop TV LGBTQ video Awards Tour MTV Britbox A&E MCU Reality SundanceTV worst crime drama Avengers First Look Horror NYCC indiana jones Turner Classic Movies hist ABC spanish green book TCA Awards jurassic park Disney Plus Biopics sequels popular GoT Rocky Endgame comics Baby Yoda Superheroe ghosts Emmys Pet Sematary VOD Mystery Funimation franchise Animation Comics on TV name the review Lionsgate FOX boxoffice hollywood SDCC Stephen King RT21 Ghostbusters TV Land YouTube Red Paramount parents Epix CBS All Access A24 fresh deadpool TV One rt archives all-time supernatural Mary Poppins Returns Emmy Nominations dark BBC America versus justice league Writers Guild of America spain USA tv talk cats golden globe awards Musical streaming joker women Warner Bros. Christmas USA Network Women's History Month BET stand-up comedy Podcast Classic Film Valentine's Day comic books revenge Fox Searchlight CMT mission: impossible children's TV E3 discovery vampires 2017 blaxploitation ABC Signature scorecard trailers strong female leads 2020 SXSW Chilling Adventures of Sabrina transformers MSNBC Nickelodeon criterion Tubi Sneak Peek Calendar Set visit cinemax critics Election festival war ITV slashers Year in Review American Society of Cinematographers DC Comics talk show unscripted Pirates CNN Premiere Dates Hulu Film Festival Thanksgiving Watching Series Hallmark Christmas movies quibi Elton John Holiday Hear Us Out cops police drama Red Carpet CW Seed Lifetime Christmas movies GLAAD foreign Acorn TV PBS science fiction Apple TV+ Netflix Christmas movies high school award winner sitcom Marathons nbcuniversal Trailer Amazon Studios robots romance Tumblr toy story fast and furious Sony Pictures Winter TV Awards directors Paramount Network television natural history Mudbound Rocketman superhero Discovery Channel cults 45 Disney Channel 2018 obituary X-Men