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Looking back to the series that started it all there are several issue. First all, the villains are all very well designed: you can distinguish them from one another with just a look, and there isn't one I'd call bad. The problem is that their characters are all as thin as the paper they were drawn on: Kevin 11 was probably the closest one to a complete personality, and that is very sad.
The heroes are only marginally better in this regard: Ben and Gwen have distint personalities, but if you are looking for Character Development of any kind you are in the wrong show. Not helped by Ben's inability to remember a lesson, or Gwen's incapacity to be wrong or not immediatly be the best at everything, which does not make easy getting invested in her. Their continuosus bickering doesn't help, especially since it never goes away in 4 season.
So, is this a bad show? Absolutely not. It is better than average, but its reputation has probably grown more that it deserved. Enjoy it for what it is.
I admit I'm looking from my nostalgia glasses in this review, so it's probably a biased review. And since this is my first review it's probably gonna be crap, but wishful thinking if this works. (Spoilers for a show that's around 10 years old)
Ben 10 was the show that started it all, but what made it so loved by all? They'll probably tell you its the Omnitrix and they're probably right. The Omnitrix is a device that lets Ben turns into several different aliens with their own superpowers, in short Ben can be everything he wants such as: a living bowling ball, a mermaid(man?) fish thing, the list goes on. The Omnitrix is a pretty interesting device and honestly who wouldn't want one of these?
The eponymous character (Ben) is a hyperactive and impulsive boy with chronic hero syndrome (possibly trying to relate to the demographic) who I found to be entertaining when he acts like an idiot, although he can be interesting sometimes (refer to "The Alliance") but sadly those moments are rare.
Gwen plays as Ben's opposite in almost every way: mature, less impulsive, and naturally talented at almost everything. Gwen fits more as the Action Girl and is even more competent than Ben, like Ben though she has her moments (refer to "Tough Luck") and like Ben those moments seem to be rare.
Grandpa Max takes the spotlight for me. He works for the Plumbers, an underground organization that fights against aliens. Max is already experienced against several aliens during his Plumber days; making him the one who guides Ben on the "heroism" thing.
Ben 10 normally makes small progresses such as the addition of Cannonbolt or Ghostfreak's escape from the Omnitrix, but the show likes to keep several things the way they are: Ben and Gwen's relationship, Ben never learns his lesson so he'll remain an idiot, the seemingly never-ending summer vacation (if you count "Goodbye and Good Riddance" as non-canon), and exploring the Tennysons' lives outside of their summer vacation would be a warm welcome (Which unlike "Goodbye and Good Riddance" actually plays it seriously)
I like Ben 10, it's no classic I'll admit but it's something I can treasure despite its flaws. The show suffers from Aesop Amnesia, Ben eternally bound to the idiot ball, the Black and White Morality, and its fight scenes can be a little weak. But there is a reason Ben 10 was a hit.
Ben 10 is a series that is basically a homage to "Dial H for Hero" WITH ALIENS! However, it's much Better Than It Sounds. It was created and produced by Man of Action, which is actually a group of four former comic writers. And it has a sort of "classic comic book" feel to it, like how alot of good comics were before the medium decided that Darker And Edgier was the best way to go.
The hero is Ben Tennyson, who is 10 years old and posseses the Omnitrix, which can transform him into 10 different kinds of alien. Gee, wonder why this show is called Ben 10? He is on summer vacation, travelling the country in an RV with his 10 year old cousin Gwen and their Grandpa Max, who is a retired member of a Men-In-Black-esque organization. The settings for stories are limitless, there is a big Rogues Gallery collected and contended with, and quite often the stories range from decent to really good, especially in the first two of four seasons.
Now, this show definately has it's flaws. The biggest one would be the progression of Ben and Gwen's characters and relationship. At the start, their constant bickering with each other is funny, and endearing considering it's obvious that the two really love each other (No, not in THAT way...at least, I don't think so.) However, as the show goes on, this relationship remains exactly the same and doesn't develop in any real way. As a result, the arguments become less funny and more annoying. Ben and Gwen's personalities don't mature much either past the first two seasons, something that's particulalry irritating with Gwen because she is seldom called out for it, reaching Canon Sue levels in the process.
Also, while the Rogue Gallery's "Big Three" (Vilgax, Kevin 11, and Ghostfreak) are appropriately villainous, it would have been nice to see more villains that had humanizing qualities. As it stands, the only two in the show that have them are Enoch of the Forever Knights, who holds his honor as a knight in serious regard despite doing bad things, and Charmcaster, niece of her abusive uncle Hex and who, though also evil, is ultimately against him as well and more interested in self-gain crimes than world domination.
Ben 10 ain't perfect. But as it is, it's one of the better animated shows in recent years, and I'd personally recommend checking it out.
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