The 10 Best Movies, Ranked

Highlights

  • The first Pokemon movie, Pokemon: The First Movie, released in 1998, stands out as one of the most memorable movies in the series, with a heartwarming story that makes everyone cry.
  • Pokemon: I Choose You! is a modern retelling of how the Pokemon story began, allowing a new generation to enjoy the origins of the series.
  • Detective Pikachu, released in 2019, offers a more realistic look at Pokemon and centers around a young man’s search for his missing father, with hilarious comedic moments from Ryan Reynolds as Detective Pikachu.
  • Which Pokemon movies are the best of the best? Leep reading to find out.

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While the Pokemon anime series and many excellent video games may get all of the attention, the series also has tons of great movies. With the first movie in the series being released in 1998, the power of Pokemon has continued and grown with countless movies coming out as the years have gone on.

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Just because a Pokemon movie comes out doesn’t mean that it is one of the best in the series. There are a lot of moving parts that have to all come out perfectly in order for a great Pokemon movie to come out and take the world by storm, and here are some of the very best.

10 Pokemon: The First Movie

Pokemon: The First Movie Mewtwo blocks Ash's punch with Psychic.

Pokemon: The First Movie

Director:

Kunihiko Yuyama

Writer:

Takeshi Shudo

Cast:

Veronica Taylor, Rachael Lillis, Eric Stuart

Release Date:

July 18, 1998

Runtime:

75 minutes

One of the best places to start when talking about the best Pokemon movies is with the very first one released in 1998. Pokemon: The First Movie stands out as one of the most memorable movies in the series thanks to its release during the initial Pokemon lovefest.

Primarily sending Ash and his friends to New Island to battle with some exciting new trainers, things quickly get out of hand once Mewtwo initiates his plan to get his revenge against humans. It’s a story with a lot of heart and one surprising moment that makes pretty much everyone cry.

9 Pokemon The Movie: 2000

Lugia bows to Ash and his friends

Pokemon The Movie: 2000

Director:

Kunihiko Yuyama

Writer:

Takeshi Shudo

Cast:

Veronica Taylor, Rachael Lillis, Ted Lewis

Release Date:

July 17, 1999

Runtime:

82 minutes

The follow-up to the first movie was Pokemon The Movie: 2000, a movie that sees Ash in a struggle involving the legendary birds of the early games. A foolish Pokemon collector named Lawrence wants to awaken Lugia and plans to do so through the capture of Zapdos, Moltres, and Articuno.

This movie takes place during the Orange Islands arc and, as a result, features Ash traveling with Misty and Tracey instead of Brock. The movie also features some fun moments from Team Rocket, making it a must-see for fans of the villainous team.

8 Pokemon Heroes

Pokemon Heroes, Ash gets ready for a race

Pokemon Heroes

Director:

Kunihiko Yuyama

Writer:

Hideki Sonoda

Cast:

Veronica Taylor, Rachael Lillis, Eric Stuart

Release Date:

July 13, 2002

Runtime:

72 minutes

Taking place during Ash’s fifth season of adventures through Johto, Pokemon Heroes focuses on the two legendary Dragon-Type Pokemon Latios and Latias. As you might expect, Ash befriends the two Pokemon while everyone else around them, including Team Rocket, tries to execute evil schemes.

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After some villains manage to kidnap Latios, Latias turns to Ash for help after he previously proved trustworthy. Complete with a massive tidal wave in the finale, this is one adventure where it actually looks like Ash might lose, but of course, everything ends up right back to normal by the end.

7 Pokemon: Arceus And The Jewel Of Life

Pokemon Arceus and the Jewel Of Life promo image

Pokemon: Arceus And The Jewel Of Life

Director:

Kunihiko Yuyama

Writer:

Hideki Sonoda

Cast:

Sarah Natochenny, Emily Bauer, Bill Rogers

Release Date:

July 18, 2009

Runtime:

94 minutes

With this being the twelfth Pokemon movie, the team behind the series had to pull out all the stops. Instead of telling a simple adventure that pits Ash against a team of thieves, this one has chaos that threatens all of existence.

Essentially, Arceus is awakening, and thanks to Arceus feeling as if humanity hasn’t been kind to it, it creates a whole mess of problems. In order to avoid catastrophe, Ash and his friends are sent back in time by Dialga to fix the mess before it can even begin.

6 Pokemon: The Rise Of Darkrai

Pokemon The Rise Of Darkrai, Palkia and Dialga

Pokemon: The Rise Of Darkrai

Director:

Kunihiko Yuyama

Writer:

Hideki Sonoda

Cast:

Sarah Natochenny, Emily Bauer, Bill Rogers

Release Date:

July 14, 2007

Runtime:

90 minutes

The tenth Pokemon movie is an interesting one because much of the conflict hinges on a large misunderstanding. Essentially, Dialga and Palkia are locked in a battle that is causing various issues, and poor Darkrai ends up taking all the blame for the problems.

The misunderstood Darkrai ends up being a key factor in containing the struggle between the two legendary beasts. With Ash and his friends caught in the middle, it’s up to them and Darkrai to save Alamos Town and, ultimately, the world.

5 Pokemon: Destiny Deoxys

Pokemon Destiny Deoxys Ash and his friend

Pokemon: Destiny Deoxys

Director:

Kunihiko Yuyama

Writer:

Hideki Sonoda

Cast:

Veronica Taylor, Eric Stuart, Amy Birnbaum

Release Date:

July 17, 2004

Runtime:

100 minutes

The seventh of the Pokemon films centers around one of the most interesting legendary Pokemon of previous generations, Deoxys. Those who have seen any of the Pokemon films know that things get complicated in a hurry, with Rayquaza arriving to make the situation of the film all the more dire.

Essentially, the two legendary Pokemon come into conflict (with two different Deoxy’s being involved), one that spills over and involves none other than Ash Ketchum. It’s up to him and his friends to bring peace to the two Pokemon while also stopping malfunctioning robots from hurting anyone.

4 Pokemon The Movie: I Choose You!

Ash and Pikachu smiling from Pokemon The Movie I choose You

Pokemon The Movie: I Choose You!

Director:

Kunihiko Yuyama

Writer:

Shōji Yonemura

Cast:

Sarah Natochenny, Carter Cathcart, Michele Knotz, Carter Cathcart

Release Date:

July 6, 2017

Runtime:

97 minutes

The reason so many people love Pokemon The Movie: I Choose You is because it’s a modern retelling of how the story all began. This movie goes right back to the first day Ash Ketchum gets out of bed in order to set off on his Pokemon adventure.

There are a few changes to the story to keep things interesting in movie form. Still, overall, it’s one of the most endearing movies purely because it allowed a new generation to enjoy how Pokemon began with the generation that first experienced it in anime form.

3 Pokemon: Lucario And The Mystery Of Mew

Lucario charges and attack

Pokemon: Lucario And The Mystery Of Mew

Director:

Kunihiko Yuyama

Writer:

Hideki Sonoda

Cast:

Veronica Taylor, Amy Birnbaum, Eric Stuart

Release Date:

July 16, 2005

Runtime:

101 minutes

With how much people love Lucario, it shouldn’t be a surprise that a movie featuring the fantastic Fighting-Type Pokemon is a fan favorite. The eighth movie in the series sees Ash befriending a Lucario in order to save a mew.

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Rather than being an overly simple plot, the movie has a deep back story for Lucario that a lot of people resonate with. The surprising heart that comes from this movie makes it one that every Pokemon needs to see at least once.

2 Pokemon The Movie: The Power Of Us

Ash stands with a group of strangers

Pokemon The Movie: The Power Of Us

Director:

Tetsuo Yajima

Writer:

Eiji Umehara, Tetsuo Yajima

Cast:

Sarah Natochenny, Michele Knotz, James Carter Cathcart

Release Date:

July 13, 2018

Runtime:

100 minutes

The twenty-first Pokemon movie is a lot of fun as it sees Ash making a whole bunch of new friends despite being seemingly completely different. It falls on to a group of strangers coming together to save Fula City.

While some Pokemon movies can feel a bit too scattered with everything they try to cover, this one manages to perfectly balance all the different characters and storylines. The movie itself is a breath of fresh air for offering something different in the world of Pokemon.

1 Detective Pikachu

Detective Pikachu dancing

Detective Pikachu

Director:

Rob Letterman

Writer:

Dan Hernandez, Benji Samit, Rob Letterman, Derek Connolly

Cast:

Ryan Reynolds, Justice Smith, Kathryn Newton, Suki Waterhouse, Omar Chaparro, Chris Geere, Ken Watanabe, Bill Nighy

Release Date:

May 3, 2019 (Japan) May 10, 2019 (United States)

Runtime:

104 minutes

The 2019 live-action Pokemon movie that was inspired by the Detective Pikachu games was a surprising hit for a lot of people. With Ryan Reynolds flexing his comedic chops as the titular Detective Pikachu, this movie offered a more realistic look at Pokemon for the first time on the big screen.

Taking a simple idea and setting it in the world of Pokemon, the film centers around a young man’s journey to find his father. Luckily, Detective Pikachu is on the case, always ready to solve whatever tricky mysteries come his way, no matter how twisted the investigation becomes.

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