Two robots are battling each other in a fight to total destruction: there can be only one victor. Although these machines are not particularly big, it has to be said, but there is a lot of money riding on who succeeds, and not legal money either for betting on battling robots is against the law in the city of San Fransokyo. That's not stopping young Hiro (voiced by Ryan Potter) who presents his latest creation, he being a budding inventor, but it's such a small and simple-looking adversary that the man who has been gathering all the profits tonight laughs it practically out of the ring. However, he's not laughing when he's lost a couple of wads of cash, though Hiro isn't laughing when he gets chased away and the cops show up...
Fortunately for our, er, hero he has his older brother Tadashi (Daniel Henney) to save his skin and now their parents have gone and they live with their aunt (Maya Rudolph) he must be the guiding force in his life, which isn't always easy. Big Hero 6 was different from the usual Marvel superhero flick in that it may have been based on one of their comic books, but it was not part of the overall Marvel Universe, making for a more standalone experience, and that was something in its favour if only because you didn't have to feel like homework was necessary before you settled down with it. In addition, while there was the compulsory comic book violence, it had a different tone to it rather than "wouldn't it be awesome to smash things up?"
Since here it may be awesome to discover a source of power you never knew you had, as a wise man said with great power comes great responsibility and there were always consequences of the action, just as that action was a consequence in itself. As another man said, with every laugh, a tear, and the creators here took that to heart by adopting the typical Disney route of placing a character beloved to the lead in peril, or in this case actually bumping him off, so no sooner has Tadashi set Hiro to using his technical know-how for good by fashioning microbots that can do whatever the wearer of its telepathic control headset orders, all to be admitted to a prestigious university, than Tadashi is killed in an explosion that razes the building to the ground.
What began as an endorsement for kids to use their brainpower in a useful fashion such as pursuing science is now an examination of the grieving process, for Hiro doesn't cope very well now his father figure has exited the scene without so much as a get out clause that saw Tadashi escape into a wormhole or whatever. But he did leave a surrogate for his care, and that's the nurse robot Baymax (impeccably voiced by Scott Adsit from sitcom 30 Rock), a large, inflatable machine that will attend to any medical needs, and that includes mental needs. When it is accidentally activated, he notes Hiro is having a tough time and opts to stay activated until he can be assured his health is back to acceptable levels, which is to say this was mostly a story about how compassion can be a great healer.
But what about the superheroes, you ask? This is a Marvel movie after all. They enter the plot when Tadashi's pals from the university are recruited by Hiro to assist in battling a villain, yup, heard it all before you'll be grumbling, but stick with this because it also ties into the theme of kindness and understanding as the best medicine a damaged soul can have. Not to spoil the story, but the villain has been terribly hurt and when a red mist descends on Hiro's thoughts about what he wants to do to him, that potential violence is not your average action movie vengeance that sees the bad guys murdered with righteous fury, for we're back with the consequences. Hiro tries to turn Baymax into a killer, and you don't have to have seen a ton of Disney movies to be aware that is no help to anyone, particularly a machine designed to look after people, not slaughter them on their master's command. With the other team members (one of whom has a magic handbag, really) well defined and an overall message of "we can work it out", Big Hero 6 was bright and resonant. Music by Henry Jackman.