This is a Marvel comic series adapted to the screen by Disney Animation (Frozen, Wreck-It Ralph) so it’s exciting to see how they bring it to life. I’ve never heard of it but the trailers were intriguing.
The gist. We’re in the fictional futuristic city of San Fransokyo (like a hybrid of San Francisco and Tokyo), where we meet young genius Hiro (voiced by Ryan Potter). He’s following in the footsteps of his older brother (Daniel Henney) and wants to create unique new inventions. One of his brother’s inventions is Baymax (voiced by 30 Rock‘s Scott Adsit), a medical aid robot that’s only purpose is to help and heal. When one of Hiro’s inventions gets stolen and used for evil, he must train Baymax to become a warrior. Other voices include Jamie Chung, T.J. Miller, Damon Wayans Jr., Genesis Rodriguez, James Cromwell, Alan Tudyk, and Maya Rudolph.
The essential dynamic in this movie is the relationship between Hiro and his robot Baymax. I liken this relationship (and most of the movie really) to How to Train Your Dragon. They’re great together and Baymax is going to be a star, lined up on the shelves next to Groot and Olaf. There are incredibly funny moments and some really touching moments between the two as well. This dynamic and these two characters is alone worth the price of admission.
Visually, this film is stunning. This hybrid city is fascinating and colorful and great to watch. The fight scenes are incredible, mostly due to the dynamic villain, a Kabuki-masked criminal who utilizes magnetic micro-robots who can form shapes and move like a fluid.
While the film does go to a darker place at a few points, the overall tone was much lighter (and targeted towards a younger audience) than I wanted. There are a lot of groan-worthy jokes and corny moments that make this movie seem even veered towards a younger crowd than Wreck-It Ralph, which surprised me. There is a substantial death in the movie but they tend to use euphemisms (ie, “they’re gone” instead of “they’re dead”) and it actually lessens some of the big dramatic moments. There were just some missed opportunities here.
While this won’t stand up to films like Wreck-It Ralph or the similarly-themed How to Train Your Dragon, this is still a fun movie. The effects and battles are fun to watch and Baymax alone makes this movie worth watching. If you’re bringing kids, they’ll love it, but I found it to miss some opportunities by veering towards a younger audience.