A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
Parents and caregivers: Set limits for violence and more with Plus
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Ben 10 vs. the Universe is an animated movie in the Ben 10 universe that follows 10-year-old Ben (voiced by Tara Strong) has he ventures into outer space to save Earth from an archrival determined to destroy it. Expect constant cartoon violence as Ben and his friends and family do battle with a tentacled bad alien named Vilgax (Yuri Lowenthal), among others. Characters get thrown around and fall from high places. There are vehicle chases and explosions. Some of the aliens might be too scary-looking for younger/more sensitive viewers. There's also name-calling, as Kevin calls Ben a "loser," and potty language (i.e. "butts"). Teamwork and cooperation are highlighted, and there's a positive moment of representation featuring a same-sex couple. Overall, the movie is best for those already familiar with Ben 10 and his Omnitrix: The story and backstory may not be easy to follow for those coming into Ben's world for the first time.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In BEN 10 VS. THE UNIVERSE, 10-year-old Ben (voiced by Tara Strong) has grown jaded to the drudgery and predictability of workaday heroism. He's eager for new challenges, and while complaining about this to his cousin Gwen and Grandpa Max, they get a call from Phil (John DiMaggio) about an impending crisis. A meteor is heading straight Earth, one large enough to destroy the Earth. With some upgrades and space training, Ben's ready to stop the meteor. But as he goes into space, he misses the meteor and goes through a wormhole, ending up on a spaceship where aliens believe that he's the supervillain Vilgax (Yuri Lowenthal) in disguise. Meanwhile, the meteor has landed on Earth, and while the planet isn't destroyed, Vilgax is the one inside the meteor. Now Ben, with some unexpected allies, must find a way to convince his alien captors that he's not Vilgax, then return to Earth and stop the real Vilgax.
Is it any good?
While this is an entertaining movie, for those new to the of Ben 10 world, Ben 10 vs. the Universe isn't the most accessible entry. It starts out simple enough: Our young hero Ben is having his mid-life crisis at least 30 years early, jaded and bored of the drudgery of workaday superheroism. When a planet-destroying meteor is discovered to be hurtling through space toward Earth, Ben sees this as his chance to really shine. This is easy enough to understand, but then it gets into Omnitrix-this and Antitrix-that and the tangled web of story and backstory and the shifting relationships of characters, and what should be a engaging story of saving the world becomes confusing for everyone but superfans of the television series and subsequent movies.
That said, superfans should enjoy Ben 10 vs the Universe. There are new developments to the characters, new superpowers, and constant action and peril. There's a wink-wink humor throughout that keeps it fun, and almost fun for everybody else. But that's the problem. Watching this feels like going to a party in a strange town where everyone is conversing about the goings-on of that town, and it's nearly impossible to get up to speed. In this case, the best thing to do is to sit back and watch the characters fight, and take solace in at least knowing the difference between the good and bad guys, even if it's not always clear how we got to this point.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about movies based on a TV series. What would be the challenges in making a full-length movie starring characters who appeared in a show running over the course of many episodes?
Do you think people unfamiliar with Ben 10 would enjoy this, or do they need to watch the TV show first to understand what's going on with the story, the characters, their special powers, etc.?
Did the violence seem necessary to the story? How does it compare with the violence in other animated movies and TV shows, past and present?
- On DVD or streaming: October 27, 2020
- Cast: Dee Bradley Baker, Greg Cipes, John DiMaggio
- Directors: Henrique Jardim, John McIntyre
- Studio: Cartoon Network
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Superheroes, Brothers and Sisters, Friendship
- Run time: 90 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: October 29, 2020
Our editors recommend
For kids who love superheroes
Themes & Topics
Browse titles with similar subject matter.
Top advice and articles
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
Streaming options powered by JustWatch