The first half to two acts of Big Hero 6 are actually quite enjoyable. It’s cute, funny (a recurring joke about fist bumping is wonderful) and energetic with some truly impressive animation. And then…the action ensues. Few things are as uninteresting to me as action sequences in animated movies. They have no weight, no stakes and devolve into action nonsense. The last half hour of Big Hero 6 is all noise. I did not enjoy this stretch of the movie at all. But the movie is still worth seeing.
I think I’m disappointed with Big Hero 6 due to intention. The movie starts as a touching story of two brothers and the robot one of them has created. Then, through a bizarre turn of events, the movie becomes a low-rent The Incredibles. I much preferred the former trajectory. I shouldn’t be surprised, though, that Big Hero 6 turns into a superhero movie (about a team of 6 science students turned supers) since the story is based on a comic from Marvel. I did not know this going in. I thought I was just seeing a traditional Disney animated movie. Oh well. The Stan Lee cameo (post-credits) is cute.
The plot in brief: Robotics genius Hiro Hamada and his friends Go Go, Tamago, Wasabi, Honey Lemon and Fred team up with Hiro’s brother Tadashi’s robot, named Baymax, to create a group of high-tech superheroes determined to solve the mystery of a dangerous villain on the streets of San Fransokyo.
Big Hero 6 won’t win any points for originality. It’s derivative of not only The Incredibles, but also other Marvel properties like The Fantastic Four as well as How to Train Your Dragon, The Iron Giant and Sky High. The movie rarely feels like its own thing. While entertaining, it’s hard to overlook that the movie feels a bit lazy and hollow. I was bored and restless once the super team assembled.
Where the movie does succeed, though, is it has a great deal of heart. The pre-superhero setup to the movie is quite sweet. I love the dynamic between Hiro and his brother Tadashi, who are supportive and encouraging of one another. It’s rare to see a movie that embraces kindness between brothers to the extent of the early going of Big Hero 6. The filmmakers at least did a great job of setting up the emotional arc to the story, which unfortunately gets lost track of in the overblown action sequences of the climax.
I also want to commend the filmmakers for the interesting messages they are stating with Big Hero 6. Like this week’s Interstellar, Big Hero 6 is also very pro-technology. This is a movie that admires and champions innovation and technological progression, but has a strong message around the responsibility of the tech’s creators to use their talents to the betterment of society. This is also the second Marvel movie in a row (after Guardians of the Galaxy) that embraces the happiness that can be brought by friendship from a communal unit. That part of the movie is touching and why I believe most people will come back to Big Hero 6 for after their initial viewing.
Note: There is a short before Big Hero 6 called "Feast," which is sweet, funny and altogether just about perfect. Here’s a brief clip. Big Hero 6 is worth seeing just to see "Feast" alone.