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

Luke Y Thompson
536 votes 161 voters 6.7k 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.
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.
Agree or disagree?
Green Lantern is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Toy Lines That Are Better Than the Movies They're Based on
Photo:  Mattel/Warner Bros.

DC had high hopes for Green Lantern to kickstart a shared movie universe just as Iron Man did for Marvel, but it didn't work out that way. Comic fans felt that Ryan Reynolds wasn't quite right as Hal Jordan, and that the movie tried to rush too many storylines at once. Mattel was bullish enough on the possibilities that they put out a "Movie Masters" collector figure line featuring 12 figures that all included a piece of the larger villain Parallax.

Unfortunately, the first wave hung around toy stores for months as sales were slower than expected, and collectors who wanted to finish building Parallax had to buy the final few figures online or at conventions. The figures are all very nicely sculpted, but few were willing to pay upwards of $15 each to collect them all.
Agree or disagree?
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.

More Spawn

#39 of 53 on Characters Who Are Most Worthy Of Lifting Mjolnir #9 of 102 on Comic Book Characters We Want to See on Film #5 of 13 on The 13 Most Harrowing Superhero Origin Stories #1 of 14 on The Best Spawn Action Figures Ever Sculpted

Agree or disagree?
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.
Agree or disagree?