Think about it — Star Wars figures are nice and fun to play with, but what we’d all really like to have is our own lightsaber.
?Generally, role-play toys are an irresistible part of many toylines, both for nerds and for kids. When done the right way, these weapons and accessories enhance one’s ability to feel like the protagonist (or villain) of the movie/cartoon/whatever, and get lost in another universe. Plus, they typically add a bit of variety to toylines that would otherwise solely include action figures, vehicles and playsets. Role-play toys are fun, but more than that, they’re cool.
Of course, as with most things, there are two sides to this particular coin; while certain toylines feature some excellent recreations of the gear their characters wield in their respective franchises (or gear reasonably inspired by said franchises), other toylines include role-play items that were hopelessly botched from the start and/or based on nothing more than a naked cash-grab. Here then, for your consideration, are 10 such cases where toymakers tossed canon — and common sense — out the window in pursuit of the easy buck.
10) TMNT Raphael’s Spy Goggles
?As any TMNT fan will tell ya, Raphael isn’t the first turtle who comes to mind when the words “stealth” and “spying” are mentioned. Chances are he’d rather jump into the fray and start beating dudes up instead of skulking around in the shadows and carefully plotting out the next move like some master tactician. So why the toy gods (or Donatello) thought he’d be the best fit for a pair of spy goggles is really beyond us. That, and we’re not terribly sure how helpful these goggles would be on an actual mission as they look better suited for a Nickelodeon game show than detecting the minions of the Shredhead. Maybe we’re just jealous, because frankly they’re still kind of awesome in their own terrible way.
9) Spider-Man 3 Bug Vacuum
?During Spider-Man 3, Spidey had his hands full fighting off the combined efforts of Venom, Sandman and James Franco while simultaneously attempting to balance out the drama unfolding in his personal and professional life. Somewhere in all of that downtime, he apparently also had a chance to craft a custom tool for vacuuming up bugs. Why would Spider-man have this? Does he hope to quit superheroics one day to become an entomologist? Does he secretly enjoy eating flies, and wants a quick way to collect them? Or is he hoping to find another radioactive bug to get more powers from? Don’t be greedy, Parker.
8) X-Men Magneto Kidsize Helmet and Disk-Shooting Glove
?If Magneto were named Magdisko, and his mutant ability involved shooting disks from a robotic glove worn on only his right hand, this would be a pretty rad toy. As it stands, it couldn’t really have less to do with the Master of Magnetism. While we concede that it would be difficult for a plaything to capture Magneto’s god-like power, there had to be something that conveyed it more accurately than a wrist-mounted disk shooter for the X-Men’s chief adversary.
7) Iron Man 2 Iron Strike Nerf Blaster
?At different points in the Iron Man flicks, the suits of Tony Stark’s shiny alter ego demonstrate their in-house ability to handle essentially any situation where a projectile could be useful. So naturally, the one role-play accessory Iron Man 2 doesn’t need is a gun. His guns are built into his armor. He’s wearing guns. Many of them. Yes, Nerf is generally awesome, but think how awesome this thing might be if it made any sense at all.
6) Power Rangers 2010 Deluxe Dragon Dagger
?We’ve talked about this one before, but it bears repeating: no one wanted a Dragon Dagger with a protrudable lightsaber knock-off hidden in its hilt. Nor did anyone ask for one that didn’t play the correct tune from the show. But of course, that’s exactly what we got when this mess was released in the ill-fated nostalgia preying cash grab known as the MMPR 2010 toyline. Hear that? It’s the cold, distant echo of countless childhood memories shattering.
5) Superman Returns Shield Blaster
?Typical Superman – flying around, rescuing Lois and Jimmy Olsen, saving the city by blasting his shield-themed gun at his powerful adversaries – yep, just another day in the life of the Man of Steel. While we know it’s just a summer toy, this weapon is still a pretty dumb concept and has nothing to do with Supes aside from the ridiculous S-shield projectile. But hey, at least it’s not a utility belt that doubles as a machine gun.
4) The Dark Knight Wayne Tech Rapid Fire Utility Belt
?You may have missed it, but when push came to shove in The Dark Knight, Batman unclipped his utility belt, fed it into a small, golden VCR and started mowing down the bad guys. Oh, you thought the utility belt was there to store his crime-fighting gadgets and throat lozenges? Wrong! It’s a machine gun in disguise. If you were any kind of fan you’d know that shooting dudes with fragments of his belt is what Batman’s all about.
3) Real Ghostbusters Ghost Spooker
?Ignore the legitimately creepy threat (“I’LL GET YOOOOU!”) on the box for a moment. The point of this thing is to spook ghosts? How does that even work? And it does this by making “your voice sound like scary ghosts”? Wouldn’t they be comforted to hear the sound of a fellow ghost? But if it works, how is scaring a ghost useful? Aren’t you supposed to lead ghosts to your trap, not away from it? And what happens if the ghost’s fight-or-flight instinct turns to fight? The poor Ghostbuster’s hands would be too full with this stupidity to defend himself. Yeah, bring out Vigo and get it over with. We’re all screwed.
2) TMNT Don’s Sewer Squirter
?First, we’d like to give it up to Playmates. As monstrously idiotic as this thing’s intended function is, its design is pretty sweet, demonstrating a lot of what we loved about the original TMNT toys. Alas, we still can’t help but look at the Sewer Squirter’s intended use — namely soaking baddies in water contaminated with human urine and feces — and cringe. This is genius machinist Donatello we’re talking about here. Is making the Foot Clan smell worse the best attack he can come up with? Why not stick to the staff? There’s no way to prove it, but we have a feeling things didn’t end well for Donny or his shit sprayer.
1) Dark Knight Wayne Tech Tri-Fire Blaster
?It’s a tale as old as time: vigilante swears never to use guns, toy manufacturer proceeds to make guns in toylines based on said vigilante forever. And why not? Guns sell. Or you’d imagine they’d have to, considering how often they appear in places completely out of Bat-canon. While this thing bears a passing resemblance to the sticky bomb weapon used in The Dark Knight, it’s still clearly a gun that shoots (Nerf) bullets and missiles, famously a no-no in Batman’s code of conduct. The gang behind this may have thought they’d found a way around the issue by calling it a Wayne Tech weapon, but they messed that up when they decided to emblazon the gun with the bat symbol. You don’t have to be the World’s Greatest Detective to figure that mystery out.