Since Disney bought Marvel in 2009, the two have remained separate entities. Big Hero 6 is Disney’s first direct foray into adapting a Marvel property; an experiment which succeeds triumphantly.
Fourteen year old inventor Hiro Hamada loses both his brother, Tadashi, and a revolutionary micro-bot technology, in a lab fire. Baymax, a large marshmallowy balloon robot created by Tadashi for medical purposes, becomes a surrogate of sorts to Hiro. With Baymax’s help, Hiro comes to suspect foul play and enlists Tadashi’s four closest friends - all scientists with their unique skills - to form a superhero group: Big Hero 6.
The film acts as a love letter to Japanese culture, taking place in the fictional ‘San Fransokyo’, full of cyberpunk-like technology, with a contemporary Japanese motif running through the film. Baymax is the highlight, cerebral with hilarious physicality. Nowadays, the best physical comedy is showcased in animation.
Big Hero 6 is a wonderful film with a lot going for it. It’s funny, exciting and touching and smartly plays with film tropes. With this and others like the Lego Movie entertaining kids while being profound, I wonder if we might be entering a renaissance for computer animated films.