Rapid Fire Thoughts on Ben 10: Alien Force

On April 18th, 2008 found the premiere episode of Ben 10: Alien Force and I thought to do a little recollection of it. Here are all my uncensored, rapid fire opinions.

1. A New Direction

The biggest thing which stuck out was the art style. It made sense. Ben was 5 years older from the original series and in many ways was more mature. This really stuck out to me as it marked a very important part of growing up. The new aliens included: Swampfire, Echo Echo, Humongasaur, Big Chill, Jetray, Chromastone, Brainstorm, Goop, Spidermonkey and Alien X. Later followed by Lodestar and Rath. Ben 10 and Gwen stayed as the main cast while Max was replaced with Kevin. The main villains were the DNAliens, the Hybrids and Vilgax.

2. The Negatives

I hate the Plumbers’ Helpers. Instead of bringing back the aliens they packaged them in a bunch of unlikable characters. They didn’t even look appealing. You could blame it on the art style of the show, which is the second negative. It did come off as bland at times, but these guys brought nothing new to the show. Above and Beyond though was an amazing epsiode which kind of redeemed them for me. Fighting an evil Ben really added something new to the show.

A thing about the new aliens were how they were many times brushed aside. Sometimes when Ben would turn into them it didn’t matter. And the change in Omnitrix’s rules was a major letdown. It made the device a bit more boring as getting rid of the simple yet fascinating rules made it far more interesting whenever Ben would have to figure out something else.

Next, the Hybrids and DNAliens overstayed their welcome. Spending 2 seasons on them made some episodes feel like fillers. It could have been wrapped up much nicely. Now for me, the recurring worst villains who originated from Ben 10 did come in Alien Force.

I am of course talking about the Vreedle Brothers who were never funny, had boring and cliche personalities. Every time their episode would come on I’d get annoyed. There was nothing to them other than being stupid villains which isn’t new nor funny. I did like when they tried being Plumbers sadly, that character development was taken away from them.

This romance? Even as a kid I cringed because it was so rushed. Nothing is creepier than Kevin whispering out loud to himself he’ll go anywhere Gwen goes half an hour after he pretty much meets her again. And Kevin? He became less cool by 25% because he felt like he underwent some non-existent change with Ben. Maybe if he had been a bigger jerk and later started to ease in with the group by episode 5, then it could have truly felt natural.

Gwen’s sudden shift to discount magic seemed like a lazy move which was made to make it easier on the animators.

“Everything is alien! Everything is alien when you’re part of a team. Everything alien! When you’re living a dream!”

Kevin? Alien. Magic? Alien. Everything else? Alien. Making almost everything connected to aliens ironically enough made the universe smaller. Remember how rich in lore the world of the original series was because there were more ice cream flavors to choose from? That’s an analogy by the way.

SCREW CONTINUITY

Anyone else get extremely mad when they would suddenly retcon certain established key things for no good reason? In flashbacks the Plumbers wouldn’t have the older suits like they did in the original series and for some dumb reason their badges resembled the Omnitrix which made zero sense given A) they wouldn’t know how the Omnitrix looked like B) in the past the Omnitrix didn’t exist.

This scene alone had me facepalming so hard I got brain damage. Every time Ben would overdo his good guy it would be so cringey. The writers trying Ben to show restraint by wanting to use the watch, but stopping himself was the opposite of subtle. And if the silly preaching which a normal person would never say in the way like he did wasn’t enough for you, everyone who watched it starts cheering like he was their hero. Ugh! And anyone remember Ben’s monologue about Grandpa pushing his bicycle? Until this day it feels awkward.

This series had plenty of these moments especially in season 1 & 2. Ben would have episodes when he overexcaggerated the morality police like some Social Justice Warrior. He would even blame himself for things he had no control over. Or he would go into long monologues why he needs to be a better leader that came out of nowhere. Kevin would also get infected by a smaller dosage of these.

It kind of felt saddening when they started to overuse Azmuth in the series as a whole since his Alien Force debut. The creator of the Omntrix shouldn’t pop by every now and then. Also the way in which they reintroduced him was done so casually without any gravitas it honestly let me down as a kid.

3. The Positives

The team had a very strong connection, chemistry and believable motivations made me truly invested. The alien designs were missing characteristic looks to Ben like the original, but they made up for it by giving many of its species complex mythos. I am of course talking about Big Chill, Chromastone, Alien X and Rath.

Paradox was an amazing new character who introduced a new layer to the show which end up really paying off in the long run. That concept being time. I also liked Julie’s introduction as a potential love interest for Ben. They really had a thing going between the two.

If the show wanted to it could be really good. Luckily, it was for the majority of the time. It wasn’t afraid to test new ideas and delve into them deep. I also enjoyed when we would see old comers return. It would be those fan service moments that made me really happy.

For example when Ben turned into Cannonbolt in Alien Force I literally lost it. It was so amazing! The show knew how to reward its viewer in the best way possible. Then when I saw Upchuck, Way Big or Dimaondhead I would just get overly excited. Now time to talk about the….

INFAMOUS SEASON 3….

I honestly love it and if you have a problem with that then too bad. I loved seeing Ben 10 acting more like himself and even though that first scene of making that “cute” face made me wanna punch him, for the rest of the season he was pretty normal. I don’t see how it overall made him a less responsible being. Season 3 was clearly more laid back with the more mature tone, but sometimes the tone of season 1 & 2 was trying too hard.

This on the other hand didn’t take itself too seriously, it tried fixing many of the season 1 & 2 mistakes. And guess what? For that I respect it. Also 80% of the action scenes no longer took time during night time. The action scenes actually had some variety to them. At least as much as you could have with this art style.

The Plumber’s Helpers actually were fixed for me in season 3. More episodes started taking place in more places than just Bellwood or Bellwood look-alikes. It brought back some exciting villains from the original like evil Ghostfreak, Charmcaster and more importantly Vilgax. Hey! In the episode Vendetta it even made Kevin’s behavior more consistent to his original series self. And Ben started watching Sumo Slammers yet again.

It honestly was as good if not maybe better than season 2. Anyway, I honestly believe that if you were to rewatch it, many of you would grow to love it. Kind of like I did with Ben 10: Omniverse by giving it a second chance. Oh and surprisingly Alien Force had some good comedy moments. Overall it had great things to offer. And listen, I know there were particular episodes in season 3 that were pure garbage. There is no denying that, but as a season I thought it stood the test of time.

The first two scenes in this I find terrible.

4. WRAPPING UP

Overall, Ben 10: Alien Force was a great show with a couple bumps on the road in EVERY Season (not just Season 3). It is a worthy continuation sadly, it doesn’t match the quality of the original series. There is so much more I could talk about. I mean I didn’t even get to talk about my favorite episode!!!!! But maybe for another time? Sorry for the rushed blog, but I hope it was still quality enough. I just wanted to something for such an important day in Ben 10 history. Tell me what you thought this series in the comments below.

I also wanna thank Man of Action, Dwayne McDuffie, Tera Strong, Yuri Lowenthal, Kuro the Artist and everyone involved on making anything Ben 10. Your creativity all means something to us. Peace out.

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