They've also thrown out much of the story from the comics, which were a tongue-in-cheek 1990s reboot that pulled in several characters created by Marvel to capitalise on the Western popularity of Japanese culture in the 1970s and focused on a new story with the young characters. Hiro Hamada is a child prodigy who is persuaded to stop squandering his skills on illegal robot fights and enrol with the university's robotics department. But a family tragedy throws him off course, leading him to use his talents to investigate a mysterious and powerful thief with the help of four of his fellow students and an inflatable robot health assistant named Baymax.
Aside from the source material, there are lots of riffs on previous Marvel Studios movies in the mix here. Specifically, it takes all of the fun parts of Iron Man's research and development scenes, Guardians of the Galaxy's goofy sense of humour and team dynamic, and a climactic setpiece straight from the Avengers playbook, and packages it for a younger audience. However, it's got a couple of tricks of its own too.
The other big, cuddly thing in its favour is Baymax, who has unsurprisingly been at the forefront of the film's marketing campaign. Perfectly voiced by Scott Adsit, Baymax is consistently the best and funniest character, flummoxing Hiro's attempts to make him as tough as his contemporaries in more violent movies with a pitch-perfect mix of cuteness and comedy. You could build a "boy and his robot" movie around this character all by himself, but at the centre of a team movie, he easily steals every scene.
By default, the rest of the titular sextet would be less distinctive characters if not for the vocal performances and the vibrant design of their respective costumes. Ryan Potter makes a sympathetic Hiro, while TJ Miller, Damon Wayans Jr, Genesis Rodriguez and Jamie Chung keep the energy up with their cross-talk and James Cromwell brings gravitas to their wise professor. It also helps that we see some super skill-sets that haven't already been comprehensively covered in the extensive live action Marvel movies, like coming up with chemical cocktails to solve individual problems.
If any of this sounds defensive of the more well-worn story, it's not to say that any lack of originality on the film's part is necessarily a bad thing. Yes, those of us who are au fait with the ever more prolific Marvel cinematic universe have seen this kind of thing before, but Big Hero 6 does it just as well and, crucially, does it for the original target audience. Bearing in mind that most comic book movies are rated 12A and strive for Dark Knight-style political grounding, the PG market has been grossly underserved in recent years and this kind of film is invaluable to the intended demographic.
Big Hero 6 is now showing, in 2D and 3D, in cinemas and IMAX screens nationwide.
If you've seen Big Hero 6, why not share your comments below? Who wants to be the first to bet on Disney making Howard The Duck next?
I'm Mark the mad prophet, and until next time, don't watch anything I wouldn't watch.