The Pokémon video game series graced the world, emerging from Japan as an unlikely favorite for budding video game fans, in 1996 with the release of Pokémon Red and Blue. Not even a year after the release of the original video games, an animated television series launched. Its main characters, Ash Ketchum and his electric sidekick Pikachu, are now iconic symbols of the franchise even as it has rapidly expanded.
Originally, the series had only 151 Pokémon to boast. Now in 2022, there are roughly 905 Pokémon in existence – and there definitely will be many more to come. The anime series has evolved to these changes in location and friendly creatures, but the much-loved movies also are an indicator of shifting tones, themes, and Pokémon in this shared universe. Here are all Pokémon movies, ranked.
23 Mewtwo Strikes Back: Evolution
Mewtwo Strikes Back: Evolution is a throwback for the older fans who recall when the very first Pokémon movie was released. This movie is a remake of the original Pokémon movie, and it chooses to update it with a computer-animated style. However, the remake fails to deliver any new content outside the lore fans already know.
22 Pokémon Black and White
These movies are two sides of the same coin, released under Pokémon the Movie: Black — Victini and Reshiram and Pokémon the Movie: White — Victini and Zekrom. The movies follow a basic plot and diverges when it comes to their respective legendary Pokémon, but they lack any substantial differences that warrant making two movies out of the same concept.
21 Pokémon Ranger and the Mystery of the Sea
This film marked the arrival of the legendary Pokémon Manaphy into the Pokémon universe, as it hatches from an egg at the beginning of the movie. Pokémon Rangers also appeared in the story, allowing the franchise an opportunity to branch out even further. However, the story is bogged down by a lack of momentum to keep the pace alive.
20 Pokémon Heroes: Latios and Latias
Back in 2002, there were only five Pokémon movies, and Pokémon Heroes was one of them. Set in the Johto region era, the film offers questionable stakes in an attempt to keep the plot going, but fails to have a cohesive story that is genuinely interesting.
19 The Power of Us
Released in 2018, The Power of Us is the 21st film in the movie series. Similarly lighthearted like many of the other Pokémon movies, it shifts away from the dazzling aspects of the Pokémon world and narrows in on humans themselves. One of its defining aspects is the extensive character development embedded inside its brief run time.
18 I Choose You!
20 years after its debut as a television series, I Choose You! flings fans back to the beginning of the series in an alternate retelling. It cashes in on the nostalgic factors brought on by the older elements of Pokémon‘s history, but also updates it with new characters and the most recent Pokémon discovered.
17 Secrets of the Jungle
Secrets of the Jungle is the most recent Pokémon movie and tackles the topic of relationships between Pokémon and humans. The film has a lush and deep array of highly captivating visuals, and content that connects emotionally to everyday life outside a fictional world.
16 Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction
2014’s Pokémon movie Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction shows one of the few times Team Rocket may be a threat to world peace. Unfortunately, the film tries to introduce too many characters and conflicting villains, making it slightly unforgettable in terms of content.
15 Pokémon 4Ever: Celebi – The Voice of the Forest
Legendary Pokémon Celebi is introduced in Pokémon 4Ever for the first time, and, naturally, this cute little creature is sought after by some evil forces. Although emotionally disconnected at times, diehard fans of the series would find a lot to offer.
14 Volcanion and the Mechanical Marvel
Volcanion and the Mechanical Marvel rehashes themes and stories seen in other Pokémon movies, but it still manages to offer complexity within its plot compared to some of its predecessors. With some battle scenes that have not been seen in Pokémon for a hot minute, it’s worth watching.
13 Pokémon: The Movie 2000
Pokémon: The Movie 2000 centers itself around the legendary birds (Articuno, Moltres, and Zapados) and Lugia. It was the second movie in the franchise, but still lacks any real stakes to make the villain’s motives sinister.
12 Kyurem Vs. The Sword of Justice
From the X and Y portion of the video games and anime series, this movie makes the legendary Pokémon Kyurem its primary antagonist. Perhaps the best part of Kyurem Vs. The Sword of Justice is Keldeo, the legendary pony trying to stop Kyurem.
11 Hoopa and the Clash of Ages
Released in 2015, Hoopa and the Clash of Ages may thrill fans as it brings back old legendary Pokémon from years past. One of the movie’s main highlights is the fight between them, which takes up a large chunk of the run time.
10 Giratina and the Sky Warrior
Giratina, Shaymin, and Dialga all make guest appearances in Giratina and the Sky Warriormaking it an entertaining movie even if it does not have a lot to offer philosophically.
9 Genesect and the Legend Awakened
Released in 2013, Genesect and the Legend Awakened is a pretty substantial movie, especially in terms of its direction story, and plot-wise. It does seem, however, a bit geared towards newer fans of the franchise.
8 Arceus and the Jewel of Life
With the release of Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, Arceus was introduced as the creator of the universe. The graceful Pokémon made its film debut in this movie, which happens to be striking visually.
7 Jirachi – Wish Maker
Jirachi – Wish Maker brought out the powers of Jirachi, a legendary Pokémon from the Hoenn region. Not only is Jirachi an adorable Pokémon, but the movie itself proves to be quite memorable in the franchise lineup.
6 Destiny Deoxys
A meteorite is prepared to strike the world, but do not worry: this isn’t Do Not Look Up. While its plot opens with a series of misunderstandings, the heartwarming prospects of an antagonist and protagonist unifying is simply too great to ignore.
5 The Rise of Darkrai
Darkrai makes its feature film debut in this movie, which happened to be the highest grossing anime film that year. While its pacing is a bit off at times, it exposes that no one is truly a villain and instead a product of their circumstances.
4 Zoroark – Master of Illusions
Although the movie has a tendency to lean towards violence, Zoroak – Master of Illusions is a pretty epic Pokémon movie. It even has messages about mass media and propaganda, making it relevant in today’s world.
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