Reviews: Ben 10 Ultimate Alien
I liked the series before Cartoon Network milked it—everything's related to aliens now.
Who thought this show would have Milking Franchise Aliens in it? I certainly don't remember them; Gwen/Kevin being the near focus of the show or Ben being reduced to an annoying sidekick just to remind the viewers this isn't a soap opera we're watching, this is an action cartoon about aliens. Speaking of aliens—does anyone else think they've overused/overdone the "alien" aspect of the show? As in, retconning Gwen's magic to an alien grandma named Verona to fit with everything else? I like Verona, but come on...the magic aspect was cooler. I guess they think we like aliens and snotty brats for main characters now. Even KEVIN, who I honestly liked in the first Ben 10, bugs me because he suddenly has an attraction to Gwen. Also, what the hell happened to Charmcaster? She's never even mentioned anymore after her change of heart. And Lucky Girl was given just a crappy throwback in one episode. That's it. All this disrespect for Ben 10's established canon, even though the original show was ok, is giving me a severe migraine...and like the rest of you, I'm not touching Ben 10 again with a fifty-five foot pole. And the fact that they're treating kids like fat morons throughout the run of the show makes me so mad I want to bash my head into a wall. Also, WHY ARE THEY CALLING VILGAX DAGGON, OR WHATEVER?! WHY DOES HE LOOK LIKE A GIANT DAMN SQUID NOW?!
Started off really Well, but Now It's boring
Being a fan of this show has become an exercise in frustration. The first 20 episodes were really well done and fun to watch, despite having Ben resort to the Anti Hero solution that he has to kill Kevin to stop him. Not that Kevin could die, because of the FCC and standards and practices, but then they screwed up the ending where Kevin didn't even apologize to Gwen for trying to kill her. Everything went back to normal and there were no consequences for his psychotic streak that put a guy in the hospital and hurt his friends. Then the second season rolls around with abundant filler and a main plot that is nonsensical. And the Anvilicious episode Prisoner 775 is Missing is a real Berserk Button for this reviewer because she has family in the military so the "Aliens = terrorists" metaphor is poorly executed and feels out of place for this show. I swear this is suffering from the Naruto syndrome of having too much filler and dragging the story out while going nowhere. And now that Kevin has apparently lost his Black And Gray Morality, which made him an interesting character, he's become the uninteresting and boring and I've about given up on a show that I used to enjoy watching every Friday, nowadays, I just look forward to Saturdays so I can watch Deadman Wonderland. If only this show would pick itself up out of Seasonal Rot, I would have a good time watching it again if it did. A few decent episodes with a lot of filler doesn't cut it Carton Network, give us the main plot already. Now I know why I prefer anime to Western Animation, this is one of the good shows we have, it's just not living up to its potential at the moment. The only episodes I really liked out of all the new ones was "Catch a Falling Star" because it dealt with Stockholm Syndrome and it was very well written and done with respect to the subject, unlike my most despised episode mentioned above. The last two finale episode were good, but the series still ended with a whimper. Unless they make the new season very good, I'll probably just stick to the fanfics.
Ben 10: Ultimate Shark-Jumping!
The first season of Ben 10: Ultimate Alien had alot going for it. Several cool new aliens, like R'aad, were introduced. Aggregor was an interesting, intimidating Big Bad for the first half of the season, and even after losing much of that interest when he went Ultimate, he still got the job done. Charmcaster, after an incredibly stupid appearance early on reducing her to a totally unmenacing villain, rebounded with a focus episode giving her development, backstory, and even a change of heart. And of course there was Kevin's overdue Character Rerailment, finally reconnecting the wisecracking tech dealer with the sociopathic killer. But then came the finale. After angst after Wangst about how to deal with the once-again-villainous Kevin, after all the dark drama built up....a rushed conclusion brings Kevin back to normal, he and Gwen immediately get back to their horrid romance, he and Ben share a ridiculously brief apology for trying to kill each other, and it's as if nothing ever happened. Seriously, in the second season, it's not mentioned. The status quo is kept. BULL. SHIT. After all the crap Kevin pulled while insane, he goes free. After energy-raping Gwen, she takes him back. After all the serious fighting between them, the three Snap Back instantly and are friends again. After building up and advertising something epic and life-changing for Ben and the rest, absolutely NOTHING changes. This, my friends, is Jumping The Shark. And the second season proves this. Gwen has sunk into the depths of boring character-dom. Kevin has become so obnoxious that one wishes he had been killed. A threat is being built around idiots in armor, the MANY Filler episodes are boring and/or stupid, the Merchandise Driven aspect of the show has finally choked all entertainment out of it. Oh, and Charmcaster, one of the few characters with reason to care about, who was last left with the promise that the heroes would return to help her? She hasn't shown up; it hasn't happened or been mentioned, and when it does, it'll probably be boring and/or stupid as well. My guess is that the late Dwayne McDuffie had grown bored with Ben 10 at this point. Well, so have I.
Full of unnecessary and disappointing decisions
Ultimate Alien serves as a disappointing reminder of how far Ben 10 has fallen since the original. Even the basic premise distinguishing it from Alien Force (the Ultimatrix) reeks of poor judgment and suggests whoever came up with it had a major obsession with Digimon... in a series where your main character is confirmed to have over one million forms, is there really any reason why he needs to be able to power up forms he already has rather than just giving him new ones? Even adding new forms seems superfluous at this point, considering the fact that all of the new aliens have powers that are suspiciously similar to Ben's older forms. And yet, despite Ben allegedly getting all of his older forms back during the course of Ultimate Alien's run, he continues using these new unoriginal forms, denying the older fans a chance to see some of their childhood favorites. Perhaps the worst example of these new spotlight stealing aliens is Fasttrack, a blue-and-black alien with super speed. Sound familiar? That's probably because he sounds like old favorite XLR 8. Why couldn't they just use him? Who knows. All in all, this series is a huge disappointment for people who liked the original series. Don't let the title sequence fool you; most of Ben's old forms do not appear.
Creative and fun
Hipster that I am, I tend to like things that other people don't, but when it comes to this series, the flak it gets just confounds me. The first series was fun in many ways, but occasionally had trouble with its protagonists, being the stereotypical slacker and nagger. The second series was fun as well, but sometimes had trouble keeping track of its plot points. Ultimate alien rectifies both problems, giving us a steady, somewhat episodic, but continuity-heavy action/adventure series that I have no small amount of love for. The characters have matured believably, but retain their flaws in a manner that genuinely feels like they've known each other for years and have just grown to accept their differences. Rather than bickering constantly, they just run with their chemistry, deadpan snarkery all around. The adventures are creative and fun, ranging from traditional superhero plots to more personal fair, to some delightful exercises in worldbuilding. Indeed, the setting that this series has presented us with is quite interesting, showing aliens going from things to be covered up to a simple fact of life. Ben 10 as a whole has had some rough points, but Ultimate Alien has nicely smoothed out its kinks and become a solid, thoroughly enjoyable sci-fi/superheor series. While it's clear that not everyone thinks this, I urge anyone to give it a look see to see for themselves. Plus Ultraman is in it.