Mature Ben or Cocky Ben
There's been a debate that I've noticed for a while in regards to which type of Ben is better. Many fans point out that the more mature Ben from Alien Force is the better Ben because they say it shows how he's developed and grown from the Original Series. Many fans point out that having the "cocky" Ben, or the more impulsive and fun-loving Ben, is the better Ben because they say it makes him a more enjoyable and fun character to have around.Well, here's my take on all of this and, in my opinion, who is the better and best Ben.
So let's start off with the more mature and serious Ben as seen in Alien Force. Honestly, I don't like Ben as this type of person because to me, it contradicts the type of person that Ben really and truly is. To me, it discredits him as a character. He just felt bland and generic and likely even cliched. Too serious to be a fun and enjoyable character to have interest in. It felt more like Cartoon Network just simply changed Ben instead of actually developing him. Now, this would be justifiable if maybe this was because something major happened that made Ben into the type of person that he is in Alien Force, likely even related to why Ben took the Omnitrix off before the events of the show, but this is never explained at all. However, this next point is where things get really contradicting for Ben. Remember when Ben met his future self for the first time in the Original Series? Remember when Ben 10,000 acted way too serious about his hero work and it made Ben view his future self as a jerk? That was the big kicker to me with Ben in Alien Force. Even though Ben's future self became one of the greatest heroes out there, he doesn't want to become that very person. He doesn't want to become too serious in his hero work because he doesn't want to become a jerk that lacks the fun and enjoyment in his life that he really enjoys. Despite the huge hero status that he gains, Ben doesn't want to become like Ben 10,000 and yet this, for the most part, is the very person he became in Alien Force. Again, this could be justified if something happened in Ben's life that made him that way but Cartoon Network never seemed to bother explaining what happened. Ben in Alien Force never actually grew up and never actually developed. He was changed into mostly a different person. One that he doesn't want to become and doesn't represent who he truly is and what made him such a great character in the series. That is why the more mature and serious Ben doesn't really work for him as a character and for the series.
So what about "cocky" Ben, huh? What about the side of Ben that is impulsive and fun-loving? In some cases, it was better but in other cases, it made Ben as a character even worse. This was most especially in Omniverse where Ben would just act so ignorant and arrogant and so immature and it quite often made him a more obnoxious character in the series. It still didn't feel like that this was the actual and true Ben. It felt like that everything that he learned and went through in the Original Series was thrown out the window. This included how Ben and Gwen's relationship developed in the Original Series. Ultimate Alien was more balanced with this but there were still times where Ben just ended up being more obnoxious than fun and enjoyable to watch. Cartoon Network just ended up dumbing him down way too much, in my opinion, and just also doesn't really represent what made him such a truly great character in the Original Series.
Ok so, if neither mature Ben nor "cocky" Ben in the sequels worked for the series and made as great of a representation of him as a character as the Original Series did. So what made Ben in the Original Series great, then? Well, it wasn't that he was mature and serious or impulsive and fun-loving but instead it was that he was both. Ben enjoyed having fun yet he takes the very situations that he's in serious enough to not let his ego get in the way. Early in the Original Series, he acted arrogant, ignorant, and immature but as the series progressed, he grew and developed and improved himself to take his hero work more seriously and be more intelligent and strategic in tackling each of his battles yet he still remained the same person that we saw him as at the end of the Original Series. In the Original Series, he never changed as a character but better yet improved himself as a character. That is what I mean by Ben being at his best when he is both impulsive, egocentric, and fun-loving character yet also shows to be mature and serious as well. It made Ben both an enjoyable and fun character yet a strong and well developed character as well.
There's my take on this debate. In my opinion, it's better for Ben to be both mature and serious and impulsive, egocentric, and fun-loving. This allows him to be both an enjoyable, fun, and entertaining for the viewers yet also give him a chance to grow and develop and improve himself as a character and that is how he was represented as in the Original Series. If anyone has any thoughts and opinions on this subject, feel free to comment about it.
Later on, I'll be making another discussion page where I discuss a weird yet surprisingly popular concept about Ben and Gwen being in a romantic relationship, even though they're cousins, and my opinions on this concept and why it's so popular amongst fans. I have discussed this on my GoogleDoc article (which I left a link to on my "Addressing the Ben 10 Reboot" topic page) but I'm going to make a page about it to give others a chance to discuss their thoughts and opinions on this concept as well.
chronosapien234 last edited by
I believe that the omnivese ben was a combination of both kinds of bens, given the fact that he accepts his responsabilities while cracking a joke at the same time
Tactical Ochoa last edited by Tactical Ochoa
@chronosapien234 Yes, there are moments in Omniverse where Ben does act more mature. However, he more often acts ignorant, arrogant, and immature and it all eventually overpowered his maturity. He was more obnoxious in Omniverse and even often or sometimes in Ultimate Alien than mature. You know when you have a problem with Ben when he does a lot stuff like playing with a Sumo Slammer toy as if he's 5 despite actually being 16-years-old. Many, if not most, fans quickly grew to dislike Ben in Omniverse because of how Cartoon Network dumbed him down too much and made him act more of an obnoxious, immature idiot. Ben does have his good moments but it's not enough compared to how he was treated in Omniverse.
Well, at the very least, Ben was less bland and generic and more enjoyable in Omniverse than he was in Alien Force and Ultimate Alien. It was just that CN did too much to him.
I like a mix of the two because no one can be that serious especially in a show about aliens. Being comical is how i would get through things and would just be serious when you need to be. Although ov might have gone to far with the cocky/Comical ben thing. So yeah a mix of mature and cocky ben is when ben 10 is best.
Tactical Ochoa last edited by Tactical Ochoa
@Omni-Triforcer Damn straight. The sequels just didn't do a great job of balancing out Ben's mature and comical sides. The Original Series has that great balance on Ben. Well, really, the Original Series has such a great balance on pretty much everything or almost everything. Really hope that the reboot has that great balance with Ben's maturity and impulsive and fun-loving behavior along with everything else like the Original Series did.
I'll be working on the Ben and Gwen romantic relationship discussion page soon. Hopefully, I'll get it done tonight.
Rexfan1333 last edited by
I'm a fan of both versions, but the one I like most is mature Ben. AF did a okay job with developing Ben's character in my opinion.
coreofthesun last edited by coreofthesun
I always had problems with AF S1 and 2 Ben and my outward reasoning was because he felt too generic and boring, but I knew that there was something else to it but couldn't quite place my finger on it. Then when rewatching Alien Force there's a scene when Gwen is trying to convince Ben to ask out Julie, in which she says:
"You're weird, funny, sensitive, well mannered."
This quote by itself made everything click in my mind. The reason why AF Ben doesn't fully work is because the writers were going for a completely different kind of protagonist than the one whom we saw in the original series.
Is Ben weird? To a degree I guess but I don't see him as being overly weird, if he was going on a date I see him more as the kind of guy who tries too hard to impress the girl
Is he funny? Ok maybe.
Sensitive? Err...I don't think that we're talking about the same person here. Original Ben was anything but sensitive a lot of the time, with personal feelings not usually being the first thing on his mind (although he still cared deeply for others close to him). Obviously 5 years quite a bit of time to be humbled by life experiences but I don't think that Ben would lose his headstrong nature completely.
Well mannered? Again, people do change and Ben obviously wouldn't be brattish anymore and would be more careful about what comes out of his mouth. But his rebellious streak and slight arrogance are some of his defining traits which it just feels weird to see disappear.
So from that I can conclude that they were trying to make AF Ben an introspective, slightly awkward, and serious teenage protagonist. In fact with this in mind, it is really evident when you see Ben on screen in AF that they were going for this kind of character. I'm not saying that it's bad to have that kind of protagonist in a story at all (AF Ben is probably what I would be like if I were in his position lol. ). But it isn't who Ben is - in fact it's very much the opposite of who Ben should be. Ben is a headstrong, extroverted, fun loving main character with a slight touch of arrogance, but when it comes down to it he knows where his responsibilities lie just like Spider-Man. Ultimate Alien and Omniverse Ben came far closer to this but what the writers did not fully understand is that cockiness and immaturity are not one and the same. UA and OV Ben both had some great moments where the balance was found, but more often than not they ended up being skewed one way or another: UA swayed massively from Ben being obnoxious one episode to being overly serious in the next, OV Ben was usually aloof and also obnoxious to the point of being irritating.
This is meant to be Ben's story and it's a shame that the titular character himself goes through so many regressions and changes to his personality throughout. Even the original series wasn't perfect when it came to this with Ben suffering a bit of regression and developing an slightly annoying egotistical nature in OS season 3 despite having learned his lessons. But the original definitely nailed who he is as a character the best, and I believe that teenage Ben is perfectly capable of being mature at the same time as being headstrong, rebellious and intriguing as a character.
@coreofthesun Yup, that pretty much sums it up with Ben in Alien Force. I guess to sum it all up here, Ben in Alien Force isn't Ben. He very much feels like a different character instead of being Ben. There's allowing for a character to grow and develop, and then there's straight up changing that character so much to the point where he doesn't even feel like the same character that we've been following. Go ahead and let Ben grow, mature, and become more responsible as he gets older, but make sure that Ben is still the same old Ben that we all like as well.
You're right about cockiness and immaturity as well. They really aren't the same and Ben can be both mature and cocky. You pointed out Spider-Man and he seems like a good example of this. Spider-Man is a mature and responsible individual driven by the death of his uncle to be a better person. Spider-Man is also known to be quite a cocky individual as well, much to the annoyance of his enemies. I think Spider-Man is always going to be one of the best examples of the type of person that Ben should be; especially considering how incredibly similar those two characters are to each other to the point where Spider-Man could've been used as inspiration behind the creation of Ben. If you haven't seen it yet, I made a page on here going into those very comparisons back in 2016.
coreofthesun last edited by coreofthesun
@Tactical-Ochoa I am a huge Spider-Man fan and yeah, the comparison is excellent. Although there is slight difference because Spider-Man has a very clear double life: as Peter Parker he is actually very much like Alien Force Ben in that he's shy, observant, smart, and more mature than those around him. But when he dons the costume his more exuberant side comes out, he has the nerve to joke around and wisecrack while fighting his villains all of the time, but when the stakes are high he knows what he needs to do as a hero. Paraphrasing something that I read on some old forums a while back: "When Spider-Man stops quipping, as the villain you know that you're in for it." However both sides of his life share that general maturity and drive to do the right thing.
Ben is obviously not completely the same though given that while he does try and keep his secret, he doesn't wear a costume or anything and so his personality will remain the same because he always has the Omnitrix on, so yes having a personality like Spider-Man works very well for him.
Another thing that I'll point out in the similarities is that the reason that Spider-Man jokes around so much when in the costume is to hide his fear and distract himself from the gravity of the situation. At first he actually does it out of nervousness but as time goes on it becomes a staple of his character. Well what do you know, that's what Ben does as well. By being fun-loving and not taking everything completely seriously, he's making sure that a situation doesn't crush him mentally. I'm fairly sure that there's an episode of Ultimate Alien which touches on that.
Though there is a significant difference between Ben Tennyson and Peter Parker: Peter is incredibly intelligent. I'm not saying that Ben should be dumb by any means and he's witty and smart in his own right, especially when it comes to resourcefulness while in battle, but he's never meant to be the thinker of the team. That's Gwen's role, or at least it should've been until they made her into a token girl in Alien Force . Ben is more of the "talk/fight first, answer questions later" kind of guy. There were many moments in Alien Force where Ben was coming off almost as too smart compared to the others.
@coreofthesun There are some differences between Ben and Peter, and there should be. Ben should have some elements of his character that would make him more distinct compared to Peter.
In regards to why he acts so cocky, Ultimate Alien does cover that but I think they missed the point there. At least as far as I can tell, Ben acted cocky, impulsive, and fun-loving even before he got the Omnitrix and started being a hero. Even then, Ben was being cocky, impulsive, and fun-loving even when he's not performing heroic acts. I can see Peter being cocky and witty to help cope with the danger and stress of being a hero. Ben does it because he's simply being Ben.
coreofthesun last edited by
@Tactical-Ochoa Though I never said that there was anything wrong with Ben being different from Peter , just pointing out their differences.
That is a good point, Ben has always been attention-seeking and cocky but unlike others who could've been stuck in his situation, he keeps that trait with him even when in the tensest of scenarios and to an extent his natural personality acts as a coping mechanism for him when in battle. So yes, he is behaving like that because he's "being Ben" , but inadvertently by seeing his heroism almost as a game at times, the mental side of it doesn't crush him.