“On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your pain?”
The comic book adaptations are coming at a crazy rate these days. The bad news is, it means we basically keep getting the same movie over and over again. But the good news is, as each movie studio looks for the next big hit, they’re digging deeper and deeper into the lesser known comic book properties. Last year, it was the mega hit, billions of dollars making Guardians of the Galaxy. But just before the new year, another one snuck in. A perfect combination of comic book action and Disney animated fun at it its best, Big Hero 6.
At just 13 years old, Hiro (Ryan Potter) has already graduated from high school. But he’s bored, and hanging with the wrong crew, building and fighting robots in seedy, underground , illegal tournaments. One night, after beating the wrong person, he’s about to have his ass kicked when he’s saved at the last minute by his big brother, Tadashi (Daniel Henney). Also a bit if science protégé, Tadashi is studying at prestigious college where he and his classmates are developing the next wave of tech. There’s tough as nails bad girl Go Go (Jamie Chung), the wide eyed and nerdily hippyish Honey Lemon (Genesis Rogruigez), the meticulous and goofy Wasabi (Damon Wayans Jr), and waste of space Fred (TJ Miller).
After a visit to the school, Hiro is convinced his future is there too. With acceptance in the school only granted by winning a massive science fair, Hiro invents micro-bots. Tiny robots that can combine to become almost anything. He wins the fair and is offered a place in the school, but his celebrations don’t last long. When a fire breaks out, Tadashi rushes in to save his mentor, James Cromwell as Robert Callaghan. Soon, the only thing Hiro has left to remind him of his brother is Baymax (Scott Adsit), a robot invented by Tadashi to help heal the sick. Baymax is big, awkward and designed for optimum huggability. Soon, Hiro is trying his best to turn Baymax into a weapon that will help avenge his brother. He also recruits Tadashi’s school mates along the way.
I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed Big Hero 6, and I shouldn’t have been. Everything about its pedigree points towards me liking it. Disney has been on a roll the last few years with its animated output, with movies like Wreck it Ralph and Frozen. And while we might be a little too inundated with comic book adaptations at the moment, I’ll take the fun of Marvel heroes like Thor and The X-Men over the pseudo darkness and faux edginess of Batman any day. And Big Hero 6 is all about fun.
The only bad bits of Big Hero 6 are the exact same bad bits you get in every single comic book movie. Or at least, you get them in the first entry of every single comic book movie franchise. Hiro and Tadashi are orphans. Because apparently, no one with living parents will ever the balls to be a hero. We also get a tragic origin story / inciting event (apart from the dead parents) for Hiro that inspires him to greatness. And, of course, some object of desire that a bad guy needs to take over the world.
I stopped worrying about the details of super hero movie plots a long time ago, because they’re all exactly the same. All I hope for now is great characters to deliver that sameness in a fresh way. And Big Hero 6 gave me a whole lot of that.