'Detective Pikachu' becomes the first widely-released "fresh" video game adaptation in Rotten Tomatoes' history
No well-reviewed film adaptation of a video game has ever achieved a combined positive review score of 60%, the threshold needed to count as "fresh" on Rotten Tomatoes. Until now.
With 158 of 242 reviews from professional movie critics at least somewhat positive, the first live action Pokémon movie, Detective Pikachu, has managed to squeak into the "good" side of the Tomato-meter with a score of 65%. Its average critical rating is lower, at 5.97 out of 10 - not every critic assigns a movie rating. However, its Audience Rating is much higher at 83%! (Although the Audience Score is notoriously vulnerable to "review bombing", Detective Pikachu was never likely to be deliberately targeted.)
Rotten Tomatoes has put together a list of every video game adaptation to accumulate 20 professional reviews. It isn't pretty. Besides being the sole "fresh" video game adaptation, Detective Pikachu is only the third to achieve a score of over 50%, with two of last year's movies, Rampage and Tomb Raider, both reaching scores of 52%, the latter with a handful more reviews. Before 2018, 1995's Mortal Kombat held the record as the "best" video game adaptation for nearly a quarter of a century at 46%.
Detective Pikachu also has the distinction of being the best-reviewed Pokémon movie. Conveniently, Rotten Tomatoes counts the franchise's previous movies as adaptations of the Pokémon games, so they're on the list. Before Detective Pikachu, 2001's generically-subtitled Pokémon 3: The Movie was the critical "favorite" at 21%. (Recent efforts The Power of Us [2018, 60%] and I Choose You! [2017, 43%] didn't make the 20-review cut; few movies in the franchise saw wide release in America.)
The 3DS game Detective Pikachu is adapted from is also well-reviewed. It has a combined score of 71% percent on video game review site Metacritic, giving it a "mixed" level of reception. Metacritic also collects movie ratings as a rival to Rotten Tomatoes, and gives the movie a Metascore of 53%, again qualifying as "mixed". Metacritic draws reviews from a much more selective pool of critics; it also takes ratings into account when assigning scores, rather than tracking them separately like Rotten Tomatoes.