Ryan Smythe ‘15 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Disney gave fans a few years of uninterrupted Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, but that wasn’t going to last forever. With a $4 billion cookie jar stuffed to the brim, with enticing plotlines and characters, sitting on the top shelf of their offices, how could they resist from creating more? Now with Big Hero 6, it’s time to see what Marvel story-inspired films looks like outside the PG-13 world of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Based on the Marvel comic of the same name, Big Hero 6 focuses on Hiro Hamada, a 14-year-old orphan living with his big brother Tadashi (Daniel Henney) and his Aunt Cass (Maya Rudolph). Hiro, a technological genius, is introduced spending his time betting on and fighting in underground “Bot Battles.” These opening scenes show the audience his teenage snark and skill with robotics. In addition, it also allows Tadashi to come in as a similarly skilled guardian and inspiration for the entire plot of the movie.
As much as Hiro acts the part of the main character, his big brother acts as the means to introduce the crime-fighting cast to each other, the villain, and motive for the plot to transition into an action-packed second and third act. He even creates Baymax, the inflatable robot Hiro adapts into a pseudo-Iron Man partner.
The relationship between Baymax and Hiro makes up the core of this movie. Created as a medical caregiver, Baymax’s code guiding its decisions gives it the technical capacity to function much like Jarvis from the Iron Man series, dispensing moral advice at an increasingly frequent basis as the film progresses. His robotic lack of emotion plays very well with the emotionally chaotic Hiro as he becomes more dependent on Baymax’s support and teamwork. The blueprint WALL-E laid out for how to create charming and relatable robots is in full effect, giving the supporting cast ample reason to care for Hiro’s robot.
The supporting cast serves its purpose as the crime-fighting backup, equipped with suits that ‘weaponize’ their scientific skills. Tadashi first introduces Hiro to the team working in the San Fransokyo Institute of Technology lab, the school Tadashi hopes his little brother will join him at. Go Go Tomago (Jamie Chung), Wasabi (Damon Wayans Jr.), and Honey Lemon (Genesis Rodriguez) all possess considerable knowledge of each of their scientific fields that translate well into super suits. The final member, Fred (T.J. Miller), acts more like a mascot for the team, though he does have a suit of his own. His obsession with comics has him spouting theories about the bad guy, motives, and tropes found in most comic book stories. His knowledge and constant talk of comics, and tendency to comment on what the next plot point for the team can be, can get a little annoying at times. However, comedian Miller’s voice acting manages to keep him endearing and worth keeping around.
Big Hero 6 follows Disney’s pattern very closely, starting with the introduction of a happy youth, leading into loss that sends the main character into a depression. When something from his happier past shows up to kick him into gear, he then assembles his team to tackle the sinister enemy that needs to be stopped. However, discovering who his foe is throws a new problem that the supporting cast needs to help the hero overcome before facing off with the villain one final time. Even the hero and sidekick pairing draws inspiration from past Disney movies, including Frozen and Wreck-It Ralph, two movies developed by the same team behind Big Hero 6.
Despite the familiarity of the plotlines in Big Hero 6, the writers do a good job hitting the plot points so the movie never loses its charm and excitement. The diverse supporting cast avoids making jokes at the expense of their gender or background, something Hollywood needs more of, all while showing entertaining personalities and powers worthy of a Marvel title. Especially with the current cinematic proliferation of PG-13 superhero movies, it’s good to see that Disney can still create a youth-focused offering. It’s a fantastic movie that earns both the Marvel and Disney headings; though don’t expect any jaw-dropping twists.