21. Hiro Hamada (Big Hero 6)
Let’s be honest here. Teenagers, or at least teenagers as depicted in pop culture, are often deeply annoying. That’s more often the fault of lazy writing and directing than anything else, but it still has become a pretty tired trope.
Sometimes, however, teen characters can face some pretty steep odds. Such is the case for Hiro Hamada, 14-year-old genius and roboticist extraordinaire. His older brother, Tadashi, is no intellectual slouch himself. Tadashi works in a cool robotics lab with equally cool co-workers, for one. He’s also created a medical prototype robot called Baymax. All of these dreams and promising starts are abruptly crushed when Tadashi dies in an explosion at a science fair. Hiro, who had been exhibiting his own “microbots” at the same fair, is devastated.
Tadashi’s co-workers – Fred, GoGo, Wasabi, and Honey Lemon – team up to provide support for Hiro. When Hiro accidentally reactivates Baymax, he doesn’t have the heart to deactivate the friendly robot. Instead, after a series of increasingly strange events, Hiro, Baymax, and everyone else gets involved in a complicated mystery involving a masked man and Hiro’s microbots.
Big Hero 6 doesn’t shy away from examining the grief that envelopes and occasionally consumes Hiro. At one point, Hiro even turns Baymax into a threatening fighting machine through a misguided desire for revenge. However, Hiro learns to work with his sadness instead of letting it corrupt him.