Despite being part of The Walt Disney Company for just about half a decade, this is the first time (that I can recall at least) Disney has set about creating a feature film using Marvel characters in Disney’s visual style. And, as usual Disney has knocked it right out of the park.
Big Hero 6 is based on the Marvel comic of the same name, but after doing some research it seems that the adaptation is as loose as….well, other superhero films (although those will be getting closer to original source material now that Disney has the rights to the major characters.). The story in BH6 is about a young boy called Hiro, voiced by Ryan Potter, who at age fourteen is already constructing small robots that would rival the stuff being built by scientists who spend their entire lives dedicated to the craft. After a terrible accident (no spoilers in here) Hiro finds himself in possession of a robot called Baymax, voiced by Scott Adsit, a machine designed specifically for nursing. But when Hiro finds clues that connect both the aforementioned accident to a science project that he was previously working on which is now being used by a super-villain, Hiro sets of with a War Machine-esque Baymax and a collection of diverse nerds-turned-superhero friends to stop the bad guy.
But even with a set up as basic as it gets (Peter Parker and Bruce Wayne anyone?) Disney gets to give us one of what will be a year of great films. The big action set pieces are given their part to play in the film (brilliant as they are) but it’s the dialogue-heavy parts of the story that give the story some weight, with a confused Baymax trying to help an emotionally distraught Hiro because it’s in his programming to not stop until the patient in his care is back to their usual self. The film doesn’t shy away from the two big M’s in storytelling either, morality and mortality, with the former being an integral part of the end of the first major action set piece.
The supporting cast are characterised well, even if they do not have as much screen time as our two leads. Comedians Damon Wayans Jr. and TJ Miller fill out supporting roles Of Wasabi and Fred respectively, with the latter being a superhero geek with a room full of superhero memorabilia. Disney once again nails the balance of humorous and annoyance (see Olaf from Frozen) with these two, without either dropping into Jar Jar Binks levels of irritation. These two characters, along with Genesis Rodriquez’s manic science girl Honey Lemon, offer the films consistent laughs, however as with many jokes in Disney films, a fair few will be going over the younger viewer’s heads and straight for the adults accompanying them, with an extended “drunk” sequence involving Baymax being a highlight of the film.
Even with these well defined characters, the stand out secondary of the film is Jamie Chung’s GoGo, a woman of few words apart from the occasional cry of “Woman Up!” is essentially a Disney-fied version of Chung’s Miho in Sin City 2. The real meat of the film though is Hiro and Baymax, whose conversations and interactions feel like a blossoming friendship, with conversations taking place in the latter part of the film nearly reducing me to tears.
My only complaint with the film is its length. Unlike the slow-moving Baymax, the film hurtles towards the conclusion of the story like a freight train, leaving me, while thoroughly entertained, feeling like I had missed out on what could have been some brilliant additional scenes. I wanted to see the cast use their superpowers more, I wanted to see the gang working at school, as well as more of the city called San Fransokyo, a depiction of San Francisco by way of Japan. Hopefully Disney will add these in two the definitive sequel, but it would have been nice to see them here.
As with all Disney films, this one comes with its own short film, titled Feast, which is about a human romance from the view of a pet dog, who is obsessed with food. This little film joins other gems such as Paper Man and The Blue Umbrella in being a sweet story that you’ll want to watch again. And as with all Marvel films, this one comes with a cameo of Stan Lee himself, which veteran Marvel viewers will get a kick out of.
In conclusion, Big Hero 6 is well worth your time. Whether you are a child, teenager or accompanying adult, there is a range of jokes and story points that will resonate with people on every level.
Score: 9/10, A solid Disney superhero film, who’s only fault is not lasting long enough.