Echoing Hayao Miyazaki's My Neighbour Totoro (1988), Baymax stands in the magical woodland spirit but is cast in a similar role of protector. This is introduced in a medical sense, but Hiro's growing attachment to his rotund chum further explores the great lummox as both brother surrogate and, in the film's whizbang storyline, literal hero. Perhaps it is this that has prompted evocation of the Samurai tradition - not to mention the influences in Baymax' suit - but in actual fact such readings are lost amidst the winning humour and the emotional journey. Sadly, those are themselves undermined by the more conventional aspects of the now rote superhero origin story.
Whilst the obligatory personal tragedy fits well with the predefined structure, the side characters don't feel rounded - or indeed, funny - enough to warrant their increasing screentime. The villain also fails to impress - a flaw evident in much of Marvel's cinematic output, it seems - even if his motives are tied neatly back into the central concerns. He and the other five members of the eponymous team are an ideal outlet for the stunning animation of course, particularly in their two impressive showdowns, but they can't help but remind of the humans who encroach on the audience's quality time with Wall-E (2008). It is, after all, the Baymax show - and he is cute, cuddly, comedy gold. Fortunately, although Big Hero 6 has various flaws, he's generally on hand to patch them.
Ben Nicholson | @BRNicholson