Ah, the ’00s. Everyone was wearing Livestrong bracelets, Lost was ruling TV, and superheroes were becoming en vogue. With movies such as X-Men and Spider-Man ruling the box office, superheroes began to pop up everywhere, especially in the toy aisle. Kids from the ’00s were inundated with an abundance of Marvel and DC toys, and every red-blooded American child snagged an X-Men or Batman toy. But that’s not to say that every superhero toy that came out in the “aughties” was destined for popularity. In fact, plenty of of the action figures in the ’00s were downright lame!
Yes, for every pair of Hulk Hands, you’d have an odd superhero toy that no ’00s kid would touch with a 10-foot pole. These unwanted toys were often too weird, too ugly, or too darn boring to capture the interest of ’00s kids. After all, who would pass up a Spider-Man figure for a Hector Hammond toy? Who turns their nose up at Wolverine for a toy of Bruce Banner’s Dad? These toys cluttered the racks at your local Toys ‘R Us, and would inevitably end up in the dollar bin within a month or two. Whatever their reason, these toys were just too lame to survive in a decade filled to bursting with cool superhero swag. These 15 superhero toys weren’t on any ’00s kids Christmas list, and it’s easy to understand why: they truly, absolutely, remarkably lame.
15. WOLVERINE SKIN SUIT MYSTIQUE
Sometimes, you don’t realize how horrifying a combination of words are until you see them. Such is the case with “Wolverine Skin Suit.” Sure, Wolverine Skin Suit might sound like a band you’d stumble upon on Bandcamp, but this nauseating word combo actually refers to a truly bizarre (and truly lame) ’00s toy.
In theory, the toy worked: the Mystique figure came with a rubber “Wolverine,” which could be slipped over the Mystique toy, allowing her to “transform.” In practice, it was horrifying. The “Wolverine” was perpetually stuck in an unnerving smile, and when Mystique “transformed,” the Wolverine skin would hang loose and floppy from the figure, only adding to the grotesque display. Ridiculous, terrifying, and super lame? You couldn’t pay ’00s kids to want this toy.
14. KAYAK SPIDER-MAN
Peter Parker, your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man! Whether he’s thwipping around the Bronx or spinning a web any size in Manhattan, Spidey helps to keep the neighborhoods of New York safe. But what if he needs to venture outside of New York? What if he needed to fight crime on a river, or perhaps on a small lake? Well, that’s a very specific hypothetical, but allow us to introduce you to Kayak Spider-Man.
Outfitted in his best swim trunks, Kayak Spider-Man patrols the water in a blue, web-covered monstrosity that is less of a “kayak” and more of a “gun-mounted water tank.” Looking like an extra from Waterworld isn’t a good way to drive sales, causing ’00s kids to turn their noses up at this lame toy.
13. CATWOMAN BARBIE
Catwoman from 2004 is a glorious mess of a film, filled to bursting with terrible acting, bizarre character reworkings, and hilarious pick-up basketball games. While the movie has endured as a classic of bad cinema, the same can’t be said for the unfortunate Catwoman Barbie.
Releasing alongside the film, Catwoman Barbie saw everyone’s favorite fashion doll slipping into Halle Berry’s torn leather pants and assuming the role of the titular woman of cats. With her poorly fitting mask and her perpetual smile, the figure just looked awkward and out of place. Ultimately, even the Barbie brand couldn’t save this misfire of a collaboration, and kids the world over stayed far, far away from this unfortunate ’00s toy, much like viewing audiences did with the film that spawned this mess.
12. HECTOR HAMMOND
When launching a superhero film franchise, it’s important to pick a villain that will help to establish the tone of the hero’s adventures. Green Lantern apparently didn’t get this memo and opted to use an evil high school science teacher with a giant head and a scuzzy mustache. With a description like that, what child wouldn’t want a toy of Hector Hammond?
While Hammond has served as a classic villain for Green Lantern in the comics, he didn’t quite translate to the silver screen, and this toy is a perfect encapsulation of why. With his bulging forehead, his neck gobble, and that John Waters mustache, Hector Hammond veered more towards “goofy” and less towards “terrifying.” No ’00s kids would be caught dead with this laughable toy!
11. SLIME TRAPPED JEAN GREY
We’ll take “toy that probably awakened something in people” for $500, Alex. Yes, this toy was intended to recreate a brief scene from 2000’s X-Men, but it ended up just looking like it had crawled out of the dark side of DeviantArt.
Packaged alongside a perfectly normal Cyclops figure, Slime Trapped Jean Grey found a toy version of the X-Men’s fiery redhead trapped in a coffin of goo. The toy was inspired by the fight between Grey and perennial lackey Toad, in which Grey’s mouth was sealed shut with a well-placed spit of goop. The toy interpretation, however, took things in an uncomfortable, thoroughly yucky direction. We can’t imagine ’00s kids were itching for “superhero encased in slime” figures, so fans stayed far, far away from this lame toy.
10. ZEN DRAGON BATMAN
Water is wet, the sky is blue, and a Batman toy line is going to have at least one figure of Batman clad in unnecessary armor. Over the years, Batman has received armor for lava, for underwater adventures, for the arctic tundra, and even armor to go inside a computer. But in the ’00s, Batman received a particularly ridiculous set of armor, becoming Zen Dragon Batman.
Inspired by the ninja craze of the mid-’00s, Zen Dragon Batman outfitted Bats in a ninja-esque mouth-guard and metallic armor. Also, he came equipped with a net. Does Batman, world class martial artist, need a comically large net to throw over his enemies? Probably not. Does Batman need an entire set of lame new armor just to justify a net? Probably not, which is why ’00s kids stayed away from this toy in droves.
9. SILVER AGE GWEN STACY
Imagine, if you will, that it’s the year 2000, and you’re looking to buy a toy. As you peruse the aisles, marveling at all the Spider-Man and Batman figures, you spot a figure so boring, so completely lame, that it causes you to freeze in your tracks. That figure is the Silver Age Gwen Stacy.
Immortalizing the winner of the prestigious “Most necks snapped in the category of Spider-Man girlfriends” award in plastic is a fine idea and all, but this figure just exudes bland. Trapped in a sassy pose that says “You just made a poor financial decision by buying this toy,” Silver Age Gwen Stacy is the textbook definition of “blah.” Even the most dedicated Gwen Stacy fans knew better than to buy this lame ’00s toy.
8. SCOOTER SPIDER-MAN
Remember that scene in Sam Raimi’s 2002 film Spider-Man where Spidey, dressed in his costume, hops on a scooter and drives around, all while launching pizzas from a pizza launcher on the back of said scooter? No? Well it happened, but only in toy form!
Yes, in the avalanche of toys that followed the release of the mega-popular Spider-Man, Scooter Spider-Man stood out for his confusing accessories, strange concept, and utter lameness. Ostensibly inspired by Peter Parker’s day job as a pizza delivery boy in the film, the toy’s interpretation took some liberties, putting Parker in full wall-crawler regalia, and making the scooter capable of shooting pizzas. While Spider-Man may have had its issues, we’re not sure if a scooter riding Spidey hurling pizzas around would have improved things.
7. HOLOGRAM JOR-EL
Superman Returns was not a very toyetic film. With no memorable villains or side characters to give the toy treatment to, Mattel got desperate, giving every costume change and character action a corresponding toy. But the company clearly had to scrape the bottom of the barrel, which would explain Hologram Jor-El.
Yes, the hologram of Kal-El’s dearly departed Dad got a toy treatment, and it’s about as silly as you’d expect. Looking like a marble statue someone threw a shiny bathrobe on, Hologram Jor-El wasn’t likely to entice kids away from the toys of Superman and Lex Luthor. Turns out, fans weren’t interested in Superman’s Dad in a bootleg Ric Flair robe, dooming this lame toy to a lifetime in the dollar bins.
6. AIR ASSAULT DRONE
Remember that scene in Iron Man 2 where Iron Man had to fight a bunch of Hammer drones? That was cool. But in a movie filled with characters like Iron Man, War Machine, and Whiplash, the Hammer drones weren’t exactly the most memorable enemies to pop up. These faceless robo-goons basically exist just to be blown up. Apparently, Hasbro thought children in the ’00s were itching for figures of generic robo-goons, leading to the Air Assault Drone.
Looking like a poor man’s Transformer, the Air Assault Drone was basically the definition of “nondescript.” The figure’s packaging advertised a “removable jet pack,” but kids could smell the generic from a mile away. The Air Assault Drone isn’t just lame, it’s completely forgettable, and that’s so much worse.
5. VENTRILOQUIST AND SCARFACE
Batman’s villains are legendary; considered the gold standard in bad guy-ery, villains such as the Joker, Mr. Freeze, and Scarecrow have set the bar against which all comic book baddies are judged. But that’s not to say that every Batman villain is perfect. That, of course, brings us to the Ventriloquist and his suitably lame toy.
When ’00s kids perused the aisles of their local toy store, they likely weren’t looking for a toy of a shlubby old man and his doll. But this toy of the Ventriloquist, spawned from the oft overlooked The Batman, ensured that kids looking for a toy of a pudgy old man in a bowtie could scratch their itch. Sure, the Ventriloquist can be a fun villain, but this toy looked so utterly boring that even the most dedicated Ventriloquist fans avoided this figure.
4. DAVID BANNER
“Hey kids,” a toy executive likely once asked, “do you wanna play with a toy version of a character who physically hurt and abused Bruce Banner as a child? A character who undergoes a transformation intended to represent the greedy nature of the character, who strives to take everything away from his son?” That market test group likely responded with an overwhelming “No,” and yet, here we are.
Yes, to tie-in with Ang Lee’s critically reviled Hulk, a toy line was launched, which included Bruce Banner’s father, David, in his monstrous Absorbing Man form. With a chest like an open wound and an expression permanently locked in “disappointed,” doesn’t this toy just scream fun? Shockingly, kids avoided this lame toy like the plague.
3. SHARK TRAP SPIDER-MAN
We’re not sure what it was in the mid-’00s, but toy executives apparently became convinced that Spider-Man needed to embark upon more adventures involving water. This led to the lame Kayak Spider-Man and, eventually, gave the world the even lamer Shark Trap Spider-Man.
Packaged with a symbiote-infected shark (which, if we’re being honest, is actually kind of rad), Shark Trap Spider-Man rocked a skin-tight wetsuit, complete with razor sharp arm blades for… reasons. The toy’s piece de ridiculous was a shark cage, which, if you’re not aware, is used to keep sharks out. It is not used to trap sharks. That is not how it works. This toy is so lame it makes our heads hurt.
2. BRUCE BANNER
When Ang Lee’s Hulk was gearing up to hit the big screen, ToyBiz was scrambling to create enough toys to satiate the inevitable fan demand. Problem was, Hulk was ultimately critically panned and something of a flop at the box office, leading to an abundance of Hulk toys that no ’00s kid wanted to buy. But if ’00s kids didn’t want toys of the titular green monster, they definitely didn’t want a toy of Bruce Banner.
Yes, ToyBiz thoughts movie fans would be clamoring for a toy version of Bruce Banner, leading to the toy company releasing a figure of the unassuming scientist. Did it have any cool accessories or interesting features? Nope! It was just a bland, do-nothing figure. Even the most diehard Hulk fans would find this toy offensively lame.
1. WEAPON X
Before Logan came along and redeemed solo X-Men films, X-Men Origins: Wolverine managed to take a movie prominently featuring Wolverine and Deadpool and turn it into a cinematic dumpster fire. But kids were still excited for Origins, and excited kids meant an avalanche of toys for the excited kids to buy. But even merchandise-hungry ankle-biters have their limits. Case in point: Weapon X.
Kids wanted Wolverine toys, but they seemed to prefer Wolvie “clothed” and “not half-naked and manacled,” which made Weapon X a hard sell. Clad in underoos and not much else, Weapon X brought all the fun of a bare-chested Hugh Jackman in leg cuffs home. With a smorgasbord of Wolverine toys to pick from, no self-respecting ’00s kid was reaching for this lame Wolvie.
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