I have finally seen Big Hero Six, Disney’s adaptation of Marvel’s comics. I went with my stepson to a Kids’ Club showing at one of our local cinemas. I absolutely loved it.
The main reason I loved it was how natural the diversity was. Hiro, the protagonist, is Japanese-American. Wasabi is African-American. Gogo is Asian-American. They are well drawn, likeable characters, and the diversity is just there; it’s not the point of the story, there is no moral pointed. The group are just friends fighting the baddy alongside a healthcare companion robot.
The women are also great. Hiro’s Aunt Cass, who runs a bakery, is a loving, kind woman who took over care of Hiro and his brother as a very young woman. She is slightly scatty and distracted, but doing her best. Gogo is Asian-American, a student at the San Fransokyo institute of technology, working on bike design. She’s tough, rebellious and cool. Honey Lemon is a tall, willowy blonde woman, bubbly and affectionate; a chemistry student. The women are all independent, not defined by their relationship with men, not in competition with each other, and none need rescuing.
I discovered by reading reviews that the publicity materials for the film state that Honey is Latina. This completely passed me by. I did not pick up anything from the plot, dialogue or character design that made her so. This may be my ignorance, being a white British woman, but I did wonder whether American children would pick it up.
It was a wonderful film, and a great palate cleanser after all the racism and misogyny that has surrounded the world of Superhero comics and films recently. My 6 year old stepson was enthralled, and asked to see it again.