Like many fellow moviegoers, I really, really liked [Big Hero 6](movie:425271). The latest movie from Disney and Marvel (I'm counting it as at least partly Marvel, since it's based off the original Marvel comics and Disney owns Marvel anyway), has some fantastic animation, engaging characters, and tons of action—the movie was great. But as great as it was, there were some things missing I would have really liked to see. So, here are some ideas that I think could have propelled Hero from awesome to amazing I'd like to share with the fan community.
Obviously these are my own ideas with no real credentials behind them, so if you don't agree or think the ideas are pretty lame, it's not the end of the world. These are just a few story suggestions that I think, from a writing standpoint, would have been really cool to include. Which is why, as much as I'm itching to try out the new review format here on MoviePilot (which isn't even that new anymore, I'm just lame and haven't gotten around to it), I figured this would do better as a normal post. I didn't want to mislead readers who wanted to know generally how good Big Hero 6 was into this review that went on into specific story ideas with MASSIVE spoilers.
Seriously, guys, there are so many spoilers in this post. SO MANY SPOILERS. Turn back now if you value your innocence. Or go see the movie and then come back. I recommend the latter.
1. MORE TIME
Big Hero 6 has such delightful characters that I was bummed we didn't get to spend more time with them. They have the two battles with the villain, which is pretty standard for a superhero film, but it felt like there was something missing in between them. Sure, Hiro has a special moment with Baymax that serves as the bridge, but the team doesn't. And because of this, it feels to me like the film escalates too quickly to the final climactic battle, like the team as a whole hadn't gone through enough to earn it yet. Hiro is the protagonist so he deserves that special moment with Baymax, but I think the rest of the team should get their own moments, too.
I'm going to make a super weird statement now: I wanted Big Hero 6 to be like The Brave Little Toaster. Bear with me. Both movies feature a lead cast of 5-6, but in The Brave Little Toaster we get special moments with each of them. It's such a beautiful ensemble movie. Each character gets his/her own moment in the limelight, where they're either in trouble and we see how much the other characters actually care about them, or they get to do something heroic. Everyone is so fed up with Blanky in the woods, but when he's swept away by the storm they freak out and chase after him: that (and being found to the group's relief) is his moment. Lampy's bulb and their battery are quickly discovered to be dead, Lampy recharges it by exposing himself to lightning: that's his moment. When the entire team sans Kirby falls into the waterfall and Kirby backs up and then rushes into it, that's his moment. Radio's is when he's about to be dissected by the creepy technology guy, and Toaster's is when she sacrifices herself in the car-crusher thing so the Master does not get crushed.
Naturally my comparison doesn't transfer perfectly from Toaster to Hero: in Toaster the characters bicker all the time and so the moments on the journey are mostly for proving what good friends they actually are. It'd have to be different in Big Hero 6, since it's well established that all the characters are already good friends. The idea, though, of having individual moments and individual fears for each character to conquer is the same. Consider if perhaps Wasabi's fear of heights came up in a significant way; he had to deal with it to accomplish something only he would be able to do. Maybe Fred has always dreamed of leading a vigilante team, but he's having trouble accepting that Hiro is the natural leader, or maybe he feels overshadowed by all the super-smart-science kids he's friends with and he needs his own moment where he solves a problem.
These are the first ideas that popped into my head so they're not great, but they're a start. Giving the team more battles to fight, emotionally and physically, would add a lot of depth to the characters who are already amazing and deserve that extra level. Some more time with the team, via training or a couple more fights/encounters, would really pump up the film.
So how could we do that? I think with...
2. A MORE MYSTERIOUS VILLAIN
I don't know about anyone else, but I knew instantly the villain was (SPOILERSPOILERSPOILER) Callaghan. Krei was far too obvious, and while wearing a mask makes sense as far as Krei not being identified within that world, the film itself worked hard enough to conceal the identity of the person in the Kabuki mask that I felt a plot twist coming up. Which is fine, but the only other person of note we were introduced to was Professor Callaghan. So it had to be him.
Granted, not all of my friends thought this way, and I did arrive at this conclusion based on some cold hard story calculation. But I think the film would have been more exciting if there were some more notable characters who could have been the villain, especially since the science fair near the beginning, when Hiro presents his microbots, is a ripe environment for introducing new characters who may have a stake in those microbots. Here's a hopeful student hoping to get into the university, here's another professor who's bitter for some reason, Krei is over there...you get the point. Again, Big Hero 6 did such a wonderful job with its characters that some more side characters would have been a big plus. And if the protagonists weren't sure who the villain was out of, say, three or four suspects, then the point of the vigilante team could have been to hunt down/spy on each suspect to figure it out. (They still could have used the Baymax-scanning-the-whole-city thing too, with a little rewriting, since that was super cool). Insert some other encounters, and you get more time with the team learning how to use their superpowers/supersuits, conquering their fears, discovering things about themselves, and some more of that sweet pumped-up action Big Hero 6 did so well.
And while I really liked that Callaghan had a just cause for vengeance and wasn't completely a bad guy, I think the villain could have...
3. RAISE(D) THE STAKES
I don't mean that I wanted the whole world to be at stake (it was kind of refreshing to see a superhero film where the world wasn't at stake). But in that final fight, what exactly is being threatened? By that time, Hiro has had his emotional climax where he realizes he doesn't need to kill Krei for vengeance, which is great, but I also thought it dimmed Hiro's desperate emotional stake going into the biggest part of the movie. Sure, Callaghan needs to be stopped, but since Hiro has more or less come to terms with Tadashi's death by then, the emotional stake isn't quite as strong. Physically, Krei (and Krei Industries, I suppose) are being threatened, but we've only seen Krei once so I didn't really care if he died, and although I'm sure the company does a lot of good, we also haven't seen it really affect anything so we don't have a good idea of what the world would be like without it. Sure, Krei doesn't deserve to die and things would probably be worse without Krei Industries, but I can't say I was really worried about them.
Admittedly, part of this is because we (most of us, probably) want Callaghan (OHMYGODSPOILERS) to get his daughter back, and we feel like he deserves some vengeance on Krei. And to be honest, I'd say the real climax isn't the fight, it's (DEARGODMORESPOILERS), when Hiro is forced to let go of Baymax to save Abigail. This is great stuff, guys. I love it. Feels.
But I think the feels could have been blown off the roof with just a few tiny tweaks, namely moving the emotional climax to coincide a little more directly with the physical one. As it is, Hiro realizes Tadashi is always with him, then he fights Krei, and then he is forced to make that personal sacrifice for the greater good.
But say, for instance, Hiro had to make a more direct choice, in the moment: a choice between revenge on Callaghan, and saving Baymax. What if Callaghan were just a little more evil? What if, instead of being the indirect reason for Tadashi's death by being the person Tadashi rushed in to save and surviving while Tadashi didn't, he revealed in that final battle that he pushed Tadashi out of the way because he knew there were only enough microbots to make one shield? What if it was pure survival instinct that made him do it, and what if he's tormented by that but convinces himself that sacrificing Hiro's brother was the only way to save his daughter?
Cue scary-red-Baymax-sans-Tadashi-chip. That was such an awesome scene that I think it should have been saved until the climax. Hiro discovering that Callaghan not only survived while Tadashi didn't, but is also the Kabuki mask villain would have been enough to raise the stakes earlier in the film, especially since he's the professor/role model for all of the team's members (maybe not Fred). Hiro gets pissed (maybe everyone gets pissed), Callaghan escapes, Baymax calms him/them down with that video of Tadashi. Then in the final fight he discovers that Callaghan survived because Tadashi didn't, has a total relapse, and unleashes scary Baymax.
Ideally, the other team members would have already had their moments. This would be Hiro's, the protagonist's. He realizes as Baymax starts kicking Callaghan's ass what a horrible mistake he's made, he realizes he'd rather have Baymax, the last tangible thing he has of Tadashi, than revenge. The final battle would turn into stopping the portal/Callaghan without killing him, and also trying to turn Baymax normal again. Maybe Baymax, not thinking because his sole purpose is to destroy Callaghan, inadvertently puts himself in danger--his battery's about to run out, or a building's about to collapse, something. And Hiro has the chance to get Callaghan or fix Baymax, and he chooses to fix Baymax. He chooses to preserve Tadashi's legacy instead of pursuing revenge, in the white heat of the moment.
And then after they make all the microbots go away, and they have Callaghan, they could go into the portal, the rocket thrusters would break, and Baymax (who did ask if he hurt anyone after turning all scary and seemed worried about it), could try sacrificing himself to save Hiro and as a sort of atonement, even though Hiro would be sobbing "No, it's not your fault, I did that, I made you like that, I took out your chip, I made a mistake--" and Baymax could be like "Did I dissatisfy you with my care?" And Hiro would be like "No, Baymax, I just--I thought I needed--I can't lose you too!" and then he's like "I need you, Baymax," all quietly, and Baymax would be like "You will be okay." And their eyes would meet and Hiro would know what he has to do and he'd be like "I am satisfied with my care."
Instead of one emotional climax followed by a fight followed by another emotional climax, this scenario would present those climaxes in conjunction with each other: the instinctual need for revenge closely followed by a stronger instinctual need for comfort, then two characters making a personal sacrifice for the greater good while one learns what it means to keep bravely moving forward.
The seeds are there for this movement already; but I think this sort of confrontation would make them stronger.
But also, I just really like when climaxes overlap like that.
And maybe you disagree. Maybe you're like "picky picky PICKY, Hallie." And I sort of am. The movie was good, after all, I really loved it. I just think there was some potential left unlocked, that employing tactics like the ones listed above would have propelled it into the next level of awesome. Disney and Marvel have set quite the bar, after all.
But let's all agree that was the best Stan Lee cameo to date.