Big Hero 6 – Exploring the themes of grief, hatred, and forgiveness

Big Hero 6
Big Hero 6 – An American computer-animated superhero film

Synopsis – Big Hero 6

Big Hero 6 is the first Disney Animation Studios film to make use of the Marvel universe since Disney snapped it up for $4 billion five years ago. However, this film exists in a strange realm that has nothing else to do with other Marvel worlds or characters (like Tony Stark).

Big Hero 6 is a movie about loss and coming to terms with bereavement. One may think that Disney would run a mile from such a difficult subject, especially when one considers their core demographic. Yet the subject is handled intelligently and sensitively. There is a genuine sense of moral rectitude and conviction running throughout the story. It is a refreshing change to see a superhero-driven plot that has a positive message as well as the requisite action scenes.

Storyline – Big Hero 6

Being a 14-year-old orphan and teenager, and above all, a genius who’s already finished high school can be very complicated. That’s Hiro Hamada’s situation at the beginning of the movie Big Hero 6. Fortunately, he has his brother, Tadashi, to help him channel all his teenage energy into being the best version of himself he can be.

This movie teaches us about friendship, hard work, and how revenge is not the way to solve personal pain and injury. It is a movie with a variety of content to discuss. Besides the fact that the characters are superheroes, of course.

Exploring the themes of grief, hatred, and forgiveness – Big Hero 6

Big Hero 6 wraps up very serious, mature themes of grief, hatred, and forgiveness, in the lovable, huggable package of Baymax, a personal healthcare companion created by Hiro’s brother Tadashi.

All of this sets the stage perfectly to consider the film’s deeper themes.


Hiro and Baymax
Hiro and Baymax

Much of the time on the big screen, epic battles between good and evil are framed in terms of violent confrontations, even if that violence happens to be kid-friendly and comedic, as it often is in Disney films. 

Tadashi designed Baymax with something quite like the Hippocratic oath. The cuddly robot isn’t able to do any harm to anyone, not even villains. Hiro inevitably finds a way to override this, and without Tadashi’s ethics guiding him, Baymax turns into a killing machine.

In the most gripping scene of the film, Baymax is finally the pure instrument of revenge that Hiro wanted him to be. This is not anywhere fun or exciting. Instead, it’s terrifying. Baymax is created to heal and mend. He learns to fight later, but that’s not who he is. Big Hero 6 argues that violence isn’t the natural state of humanity, but it’s still one we can too easily fall into.

Revenge is not justice

There’s a moment in which Hiro wants restitution for something taken from him, and he seeks after it in a spirit of revenge rather than justice. Looking for retribution is lowering yourself to the level of the one who hurt you in the first place.

Desiring another’s harm only brings harm to our hearts. Forgives their offenses, and sets a just punishment so they learn to atone for the damage they’ve caused and do not commit the crime again. Revenge degrades you to the level of the person who attacked you. Justice draws the attacker up to your level.

The value of friendship during hard times


Those who suffer a loss require support from friends and loved ones. This is the therapy that the sick robot recommends for a hurting heart, and… isn’t he right? When you find yourself going through a night, friends can help you see the light.

Hiro’s friends push him to be the best version of himself and show him when he’s wrong. They forgive him when he hurts them and congratulates him when he accomplishes great things.

True love demands sacrifice

Disney has been reinventing the meaning of true love in many of its recent films. This is no less true for Big Hero 6, where true love often means making the ultimate sacrifice. The selfless act of Tadashi sacrificing his own life so that others might survive is the backdrop for the entire story, after all.

However, these ideals also underline the relationship between Hiro and Baymax. At one point, late in the film, the two can rescue the villain’s daughter, something that will mean diving headfirst into an unknown world to save someone they’ve never met. That in itself is an act of heroism.

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