Movie Reviews

The Next Superhero Movie Franchise Should Be Painfully Obvious (So Why Hasnt It Happened?)

Summary

  • Ben 10 has all the ingredients for a great live-action franchise, from unique abilities to compelling villains and a strong support system.
  • Despite having two live-action TV adaptations, Ben 10 has yet to reach its true live-action potential with a big-budget theatrical release.
  • The reluctance to create a big-budget live-action Ben 10 movie may stem from Cartoon Network’s concern about risking its reputation and the series’ limited reach.



It is obvious what the next superhero franchise should be, making it hard not to wonder why it has not happened yet. Although superhero live-action movies have been around for quite some time, they have garnered immense popularity in recent decades, allowing the sub-genre to become a dominant force in Hollywood. While some have welcomed the sub-genre’s growing popularity with open arms, others have been fairly critical of its booming momentum. In recent times, however, the superhero genre has become overly saturated, leading to audiences feeling fatigued by the regular fare of superhero flicks.

This saturation does not necessarily mean that the superhero sub-genre is reaching the end of its reign. However, it highlights how new franchises must emerge and offer audiences something more than they have seen in the last few decades. One superhero franchise has the potential to offer exactly that and also seems scalable enough to become the next big thing in the subgenre. Surprisingly, though, it has not yet been given the opportunity to shine on the big screens.


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Ben 10 Would Make For A Great Live-Action Movie Franchise

Ben 10 Has All The Right Ingredients For The Live-Action Medium

Given how many live-action superhero franchises have emerged in recent years, it is hard not to believe that even Ben 10 would traverse well into the storytelling medium. A close look at the animated series reveals how it seemingly has all the makings of a great live-action movie series. For instance, Ben Tennyson’s origin story of finding the Omnitrix and gradually learning to control it is no less fascinating than the beginning of Peter Parker’s journey as Spider-Man.


Ben and Gwen’s sibling dynamic also adds a layer of comical fun and relatability to the series, which can easily be captured in the live-action medium.

Instead of being similar to the regular fare of superheroes, Ben 10 is also unique in the sense that he possesses myriad abilities because of the variety of alien transformations his watch offers. There is also always an element of surprise to Ben 10‘s transformations during his early years with the Omnitrix because he is rarely able to control which alien he can transform into. In many ways, Ben 10 is also a combination of several heroes instead of just one singular entity because each alien transformation has a distinct personality.


Like every great superhero, Ben also has a solid support system, which includes his cousin Gwen and grandfather Max. Apart from guiding Ben, the two even bring their unique set of skills to the table when Ben faces alien threats. Ben and Gwen’s sibling dynamic also adds a layer of comical fun and relatability to the series, which can easily be captured in the live-action medium. Throughout its runtime, the Ben 10 animated series also introduces several compelling villains, like Vilgax, Kevin 11, and Dr. Animo, many of whom can be realistically portrayed in live-action.

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Ben 10 Already Got The Live-Action Treatment Twice

Both Were Television Movies

Ben (Graham Phillips) holding up a flaming arm in Ben 10 Race Against Time.


Most viewers would only be familiar with the original Ben 10 animated series and perhaps the animated movies. However, the franchise also includes two live-action adaptations. The first of these, titled Race Against Time, premiered in 2007, while the second, Alien Swarm, was released in 2009. Both films were directed by Alexander Winter, who is best known for portraying Ted in the Bill & Ted movies. While the films did a decent job of bringing the essence of Ben 10 to live-action, they did not tap into the franchise’s true live-action potential.


Since both were television films, they likely had budgetary limitations that prevented them from exploring the full-scope and visual spectacle a live-action film can offer. A full-fledged theatrical release of a Ben 10 movie with a big budget could not only please viewers who are familiar with the original animated series but also garner the attention of new viewers because of the franchise’s mass appeal. Unlike the previous live-action adaptations, a new live-action Ben 10 film could also riff on more superhero tropes to appeal to global audiences.

Why Ben 10 Still Hasn’t Gotten A Big-Budget Live-Action Movie

It Seems Unlikely It Will Ever Get A Big Budget Live-Action Treatment

Four Arms, Gwen, and Grandpa in Ben 10


Why the Ben 10 franchise remains significantly untapped in the live-action medium remains unknown. However, since it has been one of Cartoon Network’s most consistent franchises for years, it is possible that the network does not want to risk ruining its reputation with a live-action movie failure. Since the Ben 10 animated series was also targeted more towards younger audiences, its limited reach and scalability may be another reason it has not been transformed into a full-fledged live-action superhero franchise.

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