Toys Toy Lines That Are Better Than the Movies They're Based on  

Luke Y Thompson
428 votes 139 voters 5.9k views 15 items

Done right, movie toys can indeed be better than the actual movies. Ask anyone who owns a Darth Maul figure if their love for the character really has much to do with his three lines of dialogue and scant screen time in The Phantom Menace. Too often, they're an afterthought; part of a merchandising blitz that exists for its own sake, and not because anybody actually cared to make it good.

And then there are the lines where it's clear the toy company cared more than the makers of the film the figures are based on. Often times, the toy company has access only to early concept art and story details, and they imagine something more interesting. Or it could be that the movie studio hired great production designers and forgot there needed to be  a script too. Either way, we've collected a fair few lines over the years that turned out way better than their inspiration. Vote up the tie-in toy lines that are better than the films upon which they're based.
1 35 VOTES

Alien vs. Predator is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Toy Lines That Are Better Than the Movies They're Based on
Photo:  McFarlane/Fox
Fans clamored for this monster mashup for years, and were mostly disappointed with the actual movie, which is inexplicably set inside an Antarctic pyramid on Earth. What the movie lacked in plot, however, it made up in tie-in toys, with McFarlane Toys creating action figures, mini-dioramas, and deluxe 12-inch creatures.
11 years on from its initial release, NECA started remaking all the creatures from the movie as toys again. Apparently you can't keep a good extraterrestrial creature down, even with second-rate screenwriting.
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2 28 VOTES

Watchmen is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Toy Lines That Are Better Than the Movies They're Based on
Photo:  DC Collectibles/Warner Bros.

DC tried to make toys based on the seminal comic miniseries by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons once before, but scratched the concept after the dependably cranky Moore told all his fans not to buy them. He had no say over the Zack Snyder movie versions, however, and while comic fans were mixed on the movie, most appreciated the ultra-realistic plastic renditions of Rorschach, Dr. Manhattan, and assorted frenemies.

A few years later, DC decided they didn't care what Moore thought after all, and let Mattel make some comic-based figures. Using generic body parts, those are still inferior to the eerily accurate movie versions.
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3 41 VOTES

spawn is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Toy Lines That Are Better Than the Movies They're Based on
Photo:  Amazon/New Line

Full of severed limbs, half-naked angels, demons from Hell, and a zombie protagonist, Spawn was one of the quintessential '90s comics. The movie adaptation watered the subject matter down to a PG-13, adding a kid sidekick and showcasing some seriously shaky CGI. Obviously, it was a major letdown, but the toys were another matter.

Upping the ante on their usual level of detail, McFarlane Toys made some slick, glossy figures that looked almost like real-life mini-Martin Sheens and Michael Jai Whites... plus a devil ("Malebolgia") that looked more convincing than the movie's terrible computer-generated version.

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Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The B... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Toy Lines That Are Better Than the Movies They're Based on
Photo:  NECA/New Line Cinema

Nobody really needed a prequel to a remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, especially one which explains that the killer Leatherface became Leatherface because, well, he's just a big psychotic guy who just one day picked up a chainsaw and put on a flayed face. Nonetheless, NECA went all-out with two action figure versions of the barbecue-lovin' cannibal, including a deluxe boxed set with a skinned victim on the cutting table.

It's readily apparent that more love, care, and attention to detail went into that particular toy than the entire movie, which promptly joined Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation in a cinematic landfill of forgotten franchise horror movies.
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