Big Hero 6‘s poster boy, the robotic Baymax, is the sole reason you need to see this film!
Young tech prodigy Hiro Hamada and his brother build robots, one of which is called Baymax, designed to be the best in the field of medical care. But disaster hits the city of San Fransokyo when a masked villain steals experimental technology from them. Hiro must group together his friends to battle the menace.
Unless you have been living under a rock you should be aware that since Avengers Assemble in 2012, Disney has owned Marvel comics film studios, and as a result Big Hero 6 is the first reciprocation of this agreement. Marvel makes its live action films with Disney funding, while Disney make Marvel property into cartoon movies.
Big Hero 6 is one of the more obscure franchises in Marvel’s universe, but you don’t need to be too concerned: the similarities between this and comics are mostly in name only!
The film however is a lot of great fun; a bouncy, bright and fast paced. It is gorgeously rendered, designed and animated with characters that really pop and become instantly familiar. Hiro and his friends are geniuses and wizards with technology (except maybe Fred, who is a comicbook geek) and their team behaves like some sort of Marvels junior ensemble.
But easily the greatest thing about the film, as if you need me to tell you this if you have seen the trailers, is the robot Baymax. Designed to be a caring, nurturing medic, the teenage Hiro immediately finds himself with not only a clingy and protective parent, but also a bumbling and slow servant. He has armfuls of personality, the running jokes, sight gags and slapstick are all masterfully done and hilarious. He had the whole audience brought near to tears with laughter, myself included.
But (and there is always a but) this hilarity with Baymax only makes the opening half of the movie, and as good though it is, things get a little bit samey after the team is assembled. Yes, this is a superhero film and complaining that it does the usual antics is a bit far fetched but… there are still problems.
Our team isn’t that fleshed out: we have tech they like and names assigned to them and colourful, distinct designs but really nothing else. The villain too, as with so many Marvel films (it is actually getting frustrating now) isn’t very interesting and motivations are vague at best. Hiro’s parents had died when he was three, but they are never explained or referred to beyond that, we never know who they were or any sense of real relationships. All of this makes the second act quite laborious compared to the amazing opening.
The third act is what you expect, spectacular action sequences that likely work well in 3D (see How to Train Your Dragon) and was very well implemented.
Overall I had a lot of fun with Big Hero 6; it is a “forget your troubles” sort of experience, a comedic, bright, action-driven cartoon that should have the whole family entertained.
Additional Marshmallows: Just don’t go researching the comic for any more understanding… you only get more questions!
Consider this a very good four star rating. It would have gotten 4.5 had there been a little more work done on the supporting characters, and a five had the villain been given more to work with.