Big Hero 6 is easily one of my most anticipated films of the fall. It’s Marvel and Disney’s first joint foray into an animated film in the Marvel Universe. Inspired by the obscure Japan based superhero team the film is an adaptation that reimagines most of the series. During New York Comic Con I was one of the lucky few invited by Disney to go see the flick. We saw the film with all of the main cast and crew, except Damon Wayans Jr., and we were their first audience for the film. They asked that we not review the flick right away that it was for their audience that night. Out of respect I have held my review for some time.
Big Hero 6 has been in development for three years. Once Disney bought Marvel we knew it would only be a matter of time before they brought out animated features. Many of us hoped to see Pixar be the studio behind the first Marvel animated film but since the brilliance of Wreck-It Ralph the faith of most g33ks has been restored in the House of Mouse. The film sported a great teaser trailer featuring Hiro Hamada (Ryan Potter) and Beymax (Scott Adsit). All we knew was that Beymax was seemingly soft spoken, huggable and kind; and Hiro was attempting to upgrade him with armor and turn him into a warrior. That little teaser trailer was enough to get most kids and kids at heart on board for the film. No one knew if it would be a full fledged Marvel film or fall more along the side of a classic Disney piece but it held promise.
The story of Big Hero 6 is focused on the relationships between Hiro, his brother, his friends and of course Beymax. Hiro begins the film as a 14 year old genius on the wrong path. He lives in the city of San Fransokyo with his older brother Tadashi (Daniel Henney) and his aunt Cass (Maya Rudolph). Hiro graduated from high school at 13 and has been spending his free time as a battle bot fighter in dangerous underground fight clubs. His robotics skills are phenomenal but as a teenager this life is too dangerous. His brother Tadashi rescues him from getting his robot and money stolen and tries to convince him to do something more important with his life. In an attempt to straighten him out he takes Hiro to the San Fransokyo Institute of Technology.
While at the robotics lab Hiro meets four of his brother’s closest friends and sees the cutting edge work they are pursuing. Hard Edged Go Go Tomago (Jamie Chung) is working on an electromagnetic racing bike, fastidious Wasabi (Damon Wayans Jr.) demonstrates his laser grid, Honey Lemon (Genesis Rodriguez) is a chemistry expert, and Fred (TJ Miller) is their school mascot. Once Hiro has seen their work Tadashi finally introduces him to his greatest accomplishment, a nursing bot named Beymax. Beymax has been built by Tadashi to save lives and help as many people as possible. He challenges Hiro to use his genius to do something better. Hiro dedicates himself to creating a project so cutting edge that he can earn his way into the robotics program. At his presentation things do not go to plan and Hiro has to decide what kind of man he is going to grow up to be.
The film is a full blend of both Disney and Marvel. Both companies have a legacy of making fun movies that can also become dramatic or even exceptionally dark. Big Hero 6 is no different. Hiro’s life is full of tragedy, but also amazing friends and a wonderful family. Beymax is going to compete in a very crowded year for most loveable character. The villain, Yokai, is silent, powerful and terrifying. Hiro’s friends are loveable and become his extended family but nothing is more gratifying than watching him grow with Beymax. Their connection is the foundation of the entire film.
It’s not part of the main Marvel Universe and it shouldn’t be. In that same manner it shouldn’t be judged against those particular films as well. That said Big Hero 6 is funny. It’s action packed. It’s moving and heartfelt. It’s a Marvel movie with a Disney heart. It’s a great flick all around. Go see it you’ll love it.