Big Hero 6 has been somewhat of a mystery during its production. Stemming from a relatively obscure Marvel comic series in 1999, Disney have reinvented the concept from the ground up, creating a charming and compelling team of ‘nerds’ turned superheroes. Big Hero 6 is a movie no one expected, but everyone immediately will love.
We’re introduced to the young Hiro Hamada as a rebellious young intellectual, who spends his time exploring the fictional ‘San Fransokyo’ looking to bet on his own illegal Bot Fights. All the while, his older brother Tadashi keeps a watchful eye on him, rescuing him when he gets in too deep. Tadashi eventually convinces Hiro to use his intellect for the better of mankind at his university, leading to Hiro developing a new robot form for his audition. We’re shown a really special brotherly relationship, not uncommon in Disney films, but so effective the audience immediately connects with the pair.
The animation is immediately stunning, as well. From the initial robot fight sequence, to the demonstration of Hiro’s micro-bots, the whole movie is incredibly visually impressive. However, I’m sure I didn’t need to tell you how nice a Disney movie can look. The costume designs are really on point, as well, giving us a strong mix of Japanese ‘Super Sentai’ and Western superheroes for inspiration. Each member of the team looks sleek, and modern, while still retaining a delightful throwback to the characters they took inspiration from.
No Marvel comics property would be complete without some kind of personal loss to drive the protagonist, and fortunately (or unfortunately, take your pick), we’re given one with young Hiro. In a genuinely heart-wrenching sequence, Tadashi is taken from his brother in a freak fire at the University, in an attempt to save his teacher, Callaghan. After months of grieving, Hiro runs into a Kabuki mask wearing villain, utilizing the micro-bots he thought were destroyed in the fire. He figures out that the fire must have been planned, and so sets out to apprehend the villain, to avenge his brother’s death.
Of course, no movie would deliver without a strong supporting cast, and Big Hero 6 has an especially strong one. The main focus is the loveable, nurse-robot Baymax, a creation of Tadashi’s to help the healthcare industry, and better the entire world. After his death, Hiro upgrades Baymax with a sleek, Ferrari-red and purple armour, and a vast database of killer karate moves. There’s so many great sequences with this incredible character, from the hilarious ‘low battery’ moments, to the pair’s first flight together, reminiscent of the Iron Man flight sequence, that brought a child-like glee to me I scarcely get in movies these days.
The rest of the Big Hero 6 are equally as compelling as the main two, although I’d love to see them explored in further movies. We have the ‘bad-ass’ Go-Go Tomago, a ninja-like girl who wields electro-magnetic skates that serve as deadly throwing-discs, Honey Lemon, the energetic, cheery chemistry geek, Wasabi, a bumbling, friendly guy specializing in neurotic lasers, and Fred, the relaxed, mascot of the team, obsessed with nerd culture and comic books. Each character is likeable and relatable, and all serve their own unique purpose in the team.
The plot starts off fairly predictable, and during my watch I was going to mark it down for that, however it did subvert my expectations pretty radically about halfway through. There were some very mature scenes throughout, and it got pretty dark at some points, especially when Hiro finally discovers the identity of the Kabuki masked Villain. However it wasn’t too overbearing, and left us with a very touching redemption of character, that although served to appeal to a wider audience, worked incredibly well. I also have to note the trippy, acid-tinged visuals in the final scene, when Hiro and Baymax enter the Teleportation gate. Seriously, this looks like it was taken straight out of a Lee/Kirby Fantastic Four comic from the 1960’s. It’s a brilliant little touch, and made me enjoy the movie that much more.
Big Hero 6 is the movie that no one knew they really wanted. But let me tell you, after you see this movie, you will be frothing at the mouth for more. A lot say it’s just the animated Avengers, but it brings a whole lot of heart, and combines the influence of two very distinct cultures to become a very unique, very strong standing movie. Big Hero 6 is one of the best movies you’ll see these holidays, so make sure you bring all of your feels and give it a shot.