Big Hero 6 (2014)
Based on Marvel Comics’ Big Hero 6 By Steven T. Seagle and Duncan Rouleau
Warning: There are spoilers in this post. So if you haven’t seen Big Hero 6 yet and are planning to watch it, do not read this.
Big Hero 6 was one of those films that I definitely had to see twice while in theaters. Aside from the awesome art and the compelling storyline that brought my friends and me to tears, there was something in the film that I’ve been wondering about: what will happen to Professor Robert Callaghan and Abigail Callaghan.
After Hiro and his friends stopped Professor Callaghan—also known as Yokai–from completely absorbing Alistair Krei and his building into a teleportation portal, Hiro and Baymax jumped into the portal to save the comatose girl, Abigail Callaghan. Soon after, Abigail Callaghan is escorted into an ambulance. One of the paramedics asked for her name, and she responded, “Abigail Callaghan.” Professor Callaghan sees his daughter and mouthed out her name as he is being taken away into custody.
Now, it is clear to the audience that Professor Callaghan and Hiro Yamada are alike: both have lost a precious family member and are seeking closure through any means possible. Baymax is Takashi Yamada’s robotics project, a “health care” robot assistant that cares for sick and injured people. Yet after Takashi’s death, Baymax becomes Hiro’s physician. Baymax takes it upon himself to cure Hiro’s depression; thus Hiro and his friends plan to stop Yokai who is responsible for Takashi’s death.
As for Professor Callaghan, his intention of destroying Alistair Krei’s company is the result of the disappearance of his daughter, Abigail. Alistair Krei permitted Abigail to travel into a portal even though it was detected to be unsafe. Krei’s ambitions for power and popularity caused Abigail’s disappearance and Professor Callaghan’s revengeful vow against him.
I believe that Hiro and Professor Callaghan have the right to feel a sense of injustice because both characters lost loved one due to unfair circumstances. However, I do not think Professor Callaghan’s actions and intentions are valid and righteous. Due to his revengeful mindset, Professor Callaghan accidentally killed an innocent bystander, Takashi Yamada. Furthermore, the lost of Abigail has prevented him from moving on or continuing forward in life. Unlike Hiro, Professor Callaghan didn’t have the love and support of family members or friends to remind him that his daughter is still alive in his thoughts and memories. As a result, he blames Alistair Krei and sets out for revenge.
Back to the last scene, Hiro and his friends saved the world and got closure for Takashi’s death, but did Professor Callaghan get his closure? He got his daughter back, but at the same time, he is being held accountable for his crimes and is going to prison. If you think about it, it is a really tragic ending for him, but as an audience we tend to ignore it because we are busy celebrating the heroic accomplishments of Big Hero 6. Professor Callaghan did not get an intimate reunion with his daughter because he was hurriedly taken into a police car. Without a parent-daughter reunion scene, it prevents the audience from forgiving Professor Callaghan; as a result, he remains a villain in the audience’s eyes. However, we can assume that Professor Callaghan regrets his actions because as he was being taken away, he had a look of shame. He has to live with the mistakes he has made; in which he may not be able to forgive himself and he also feels embarrassed that his daughter has a horrible father. Yet when Abigail wakes up, she will learn about her father’s crimes. Whether she will forgive or shun her father is unknown. So is it possible for the two family members to rebuild a relationship together despite the father’s mistakes?
I think Professor Callaghan is more of a victim rather than a villain. Although his actions are reckless and evil, his intentions could be seen as understandable. Professor Callaghan is justified to feel that the lost of his daughter is unfair. Yet the way he handles his emotions is unhealthy and morally wrong. Professor Callaghan is a victim of unfair treatment; in which he attempted to bring justice into his own hands despite not being morally correct.