Kids love to recreate the storylines of their favorite movie characters. And plenty of adults love to collect them. That's probably why action figures are one of the most popular-and largest-categories in all toys. This is play that can last a whole life long as kids begin a relationship with their favorite characters... and never grow out of it. From the most popular, classic characters from Marvel, DC, Disney and more to some that have a smaller but very loyal fan base and whether for action-packed play or creating a dramatic display; when it comes to movie inspired action figures, our toy reviews are here to help you find the right ones for the fans in your life.
Click on a toy below to watch a video review and learn more about the toy. Our experts demonstrate everything from functionality and durability to repeat play and fun features. With this type of 'insider knowledge' you're sure to have a smash hit each time you're in the market for a new movie-based action figure.
from Hasbro $19.99
from Hasbro $24.99
from Fisher-Price $44.99
from Fisher-Price $14.97
from Mattel $59.99
from Mattel $69.99
from Hasbro $24.99
from Mattel $29.99
from Mattel $9.99
from Mattel $29.99
from Hasbro $19.99
How to Shop For Movie Based Action Figures
Action figures are easily the ultimate fan toy. When a kid (or a grown up for that matter) really loves a movie or a character, they often want a version of that character for play or display.
For as popular as they are today, however, movie-based action figures are really something relatively new. In fact, the first major movie figure was a 12-inch action figure inspired by Sean Connery as James Bond. (He was 12-inches tall and dressed in a tuxedo.) Figures from earlier movies were introduced later on, and action figures really took off in the 1970s. Of course, when Star Wars action figures came on the scene, that propelled the category and made stars of the screen stars of the toy box as well.
Finding the figures you want from the huge cast of characters out there can be a little bit daunting. That's why we've created an easy and fast guide to shopping for movie based action figures.
Start Shopping By Size
Action figures come in every size and theme to suit a wide range of tastes. All you have to do is 'figure' out what kind of 'action' you're looking for based on where and how your children like to play. The standard for many years has been 3.75 inches tall, but recently we've seen 12-inch figures making a comeback-and figures that are virtual statues at 3-feet all or more are popular, too, though those are more used in décor than in play.
Miniatures are perfect for fanatic film fans that want to have every character in every outfit and not take up a ton of space. The adventures can sprawl out across that floor, over the couch, or through the jungles of your backyard. Because of their size they can easily be transported from one place to another so Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker can battle it out anywhere.
Larger scale toys are great for bigger blockbuster fun. One of the advantages of this size is that more detail can be seen for a more realistic experience. When kids can see the folds of a beloved hero's cape and the details of a villain's weapon, they can truly themselves in that world.
Look for Different Features
Interactive options can be extremely entertaining for kids. When the character can react to your child their play becomes a more immersive experience. Kids can not only move them around, they're also able manipulate their toys in a responsive way. From a talking Buzz Lightyear to a robot that can glide across the floor, the characters truly come to life.
Many of these characters have electronic chips in them that allow them to say movie phrases (sometimes with the real actors). There are also mechanical elements that allow figures to have some literal action involved. You'll find these features in some small figures, but for the most part the mechanical, sounds and lights are in the 12-inch figures. These cost a little more generally, but for fans the added play is definitely worth it.
Playsets Let Kids Build out the World
Playsets can take a child's imagination to a whole new level. By bringing the actual film set and accessories off the screen you're providing a backdrop for a whole new narrative. Scenes can be recreated and reimagined for a more innovative form of play. Children can even bring characters from multiple films together for a cross-over experience. Whether it's setting up Gotham or pretending to set sail on a pirate ship, these sets inspire imaginative play. You'll also find sets that are designed just for play and may be mash ups of lots of different popular environments for kids.
Finding Great Collectibles
Collectibles can be satisfying in many ways. They allow adults to keep a relationship with the characters. You'll find high end collectibles made form a variety of different materials, such as die-cast metal. These tend to have a lot more detail, and interactive features aren't as important to collectors because they're for display rather than play. You may want to buy these for older kids who enjoy quality and are also big fans.
Many people think that action figures will increase in value over time. That may happen, but one of the reasons that action figures become more valuable is that they were played with hard by kids who loved them and there aren't that many around that are still in new, or like new, condition. Our advice is always to buy figures because you love them and want to have them to own or play with. An increase in value is a bonus, but don't count on it.
After all, it's the love of these characters and the toys that inspired them are what last a lifetime.
By using these steps, buying action figures from popular movies will be help you get the perfect cut each time. The only thing left is for you to scroll back up and find your child's next favorite 'featured' friend.