Ideally, an animated movie should appeal to both children and adults alike. Big Hero 6 definitely appeals more to the former than the latter. It’s a colorful and action-packed superhero spectacle and kids are sure to eat it up. But while the film looks quite good and features some fun moments, there is a lot to be desired in the storytelling department. It’s not necessarily bad, but it is pretty predictable and any discerning viewer will be able to recognize the all too familiar story beats that this film is hitting. But hey, at least it’s fun.

Hiro Hamada (Ryan Porter) is a young boy living in the city of San Fransokyo, who uses his unusual intelligence to compete in robotic fighting competitions. Hiro’s brother Tadashi (Daniel Henney) doesn’t approve of these illegal competitions, so he introduces Hiro to the robotics lab at his university. Hiro becomes infatuated with the place and decides to compete in a competition that would gain him access into the school. Hiro creates an assortment of tiny robots called microbots that can transform into any shape possible and is quickly accepted into the university. But a fire breaks out at the building and Tadashi is killed in the process. Now all that Hiro has left of his brother is Baymax (Scott Adsit), a large, balloon-like healthcare assistant. Soon Hiro discovers that someone has stolen his microbots and is going to use them to hatch some kind of evil plan. Hiro enlists the help of Baymax to track down this villain and possibly avenge his brother’s death.

One thing that both adults and children will be able to agree on is the appeal of Baymax. Initially slow-moving and monotone, Baymax gets many of the film’s early laughs. Watching him attempt to waddle away from danger is actually really amusing. The relationship that develops between Hiro and Baymax is well done and actually manages to be sweet and touching. Unfortunately, the rest of the characters in the film aren’t nearly as inspired. Hiro’s group of friends make up the majority of the film’s supporting cast and they’re particularly grating. Not only do their characters feel uninteresting and very boring, but they’re annoying, unfunny and just a pain to be around. They receive a lot of screen time in the film’s second half, so it’s not surprising that the first half is much better.

The relationship that develops between Hero and his brother feels familiar, but it’s done well and it adds another layer of emotion to the story. This is a film that tried really hard to capture the emotional poignancy of other popular animated films, but it just can’t quite live up to them. Because this film primarily deals with the formation of a superhero team, comparisons to 2004’s The Incredibles are inevitable. But while that film featured interesting characters and an engaging story, Big Hero 6 only survives on its beautiful animation and the character of Baymax, who they too often rely on for comic relief. Directors Don Hall and Chris Williams have crafted an entertaining film that’s nice to look at, but there’s not a lot going on below the surface. Baymax may be able to fly, but the film that he’s placed in mostly sputters.

Big Hero 6 receives 2.5/4

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