And so, ten years after Disney/Pixar’s The Incredibles hit movie theaters, Disney has unleashed another team superhero film upon the movie-going public in the form of Big Hero 6. However, beyond their fluffy, robotic mascot Baymax (Scott Adsit), what else does Big Hero 6 have to offer audiences?
The answer is not much. That doesn’t mean that Big Hero 6 is a bad movie, far from it, it just has a strong feeling of “been there, done that.” Many of the story beats are predictable, but the film isn’t really for adults that might pick up on that. This is a film squarely aimed at kids and has a good message about brains over brawn and the power of friendship. It’s also a lot of fun, but as I said, we’ve seen a lot of this before—some of it in this summer’s Guardians of the Galaxy.
Loosely based on the Marvel comic of the same name—which may be why Disney kept Marvel’s name out of most of the marketing—the movie focuses on boy genius, Hiro (Ryan Potter). Hiro and his older brother, Tadashi (Daniel Henney), live with their Aunt Cass (Maya Rudolph). Tadashi goes to a prestigious science school and has built a puffy, inflatable robot called Baymax to act as a medical bot. This inspires Hiro to build his own robots and try to win a place at the school with Tadashi’s friends Wasabi (Damon Wayans Jr.), Go Go (Jamie Chung), Honey Lemon (Genesis Rodriguez), and Fred (T.J. Miller). However, when tragedy strikes and Hiro’s robots are stolen, he and Baymax team with their new friends to stop the mystery villain.
The runaway star of the film is the adorable Baymax. This is both a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing in that he’s a highly entertaining character with no ceiling on how great he can be. It’s a curse because the film suffers greatly when Baymax isn’t front and center. Hiro is a good protagonist, but much of his appeal comes from his interactions with Baymax and their bond. The other characters are very one note and could have been interchanged with any number of any other characters and nothing would have really changed. Also, for a group of super geniuses, these kids make a lot of dumb decisions and don’t come off as very intelligent unless they’re dealing with tech. They certainly couldn’t see the softball plot twists telegraphed from miles away. But that’s another issue with the film. In gearing it solely for kids—which is fine—the story is a little too simplistic. That’s why the mention of The Incredibles at the start—Disney’s already done this movie better. They’ve also done the friends forming a family trope better this year with Guardians of the Galaxy.
The voice cast is good, with Adsit stealing the show as Baymax. Everyone else does a decent job, but it’s all pretty vanilla. Miller has some good comedic moments, though.
Overall, I was expecting a little bit more from Big Hero 6 and it just didn’t deliver. There are several fun parts and I loved Baymax, but Disney and Marvel have done this film better before, making Big Hero 6 feel like an also-ran. The Lego Movie was great for kids and adults, but Big Hero 6 is solely a kiddie affair. Take them to see it—they’ll love it.