Ranking the Best and the Worst of the Batman Returns Action Figure Line

I don’t know about you, but I’m having a blast looking at all of these old Batman toys from years past. This week we’re headed back to 1992 for what might be the most divisive Batman movie, Batman Returns. Granted, there are better Batman movies, and there are worse Batman movies, but this one film seems to have huge fans and huge detractors, with very little middle ground in between. It’s definitely weird as a Batman movie, and one I personally have had an up and down relationship with over the years, but it’s still immensely watchable in all its macabre strangeness. Plus: Christmas movie!

It has some great toys, too, and that’s why we’re here. So without further ado, the best and worst of the Batman Returns toys.

Vehicles and Playsets

12. Laser Blade: In any other set this might rank higher. When you’re surrounded by the Batmobile, Batwing, and Batskiboat, being “miniature Batwing with foldy wings I guess?” just won’t quite cut it.

11. Sky Drop: If this had been a blimp it would be #1. Instead, it’s pretty much “Batmissile, but in the air.” It’s fine.

10. Camo Attack Batmobile: It’s the Greatest Batmobile Ever in Any Medium with a new paint job. Why mess with the classics? Still, I wouldn’t be mad about getting this under the Christmas tree.

9. Batmissile Batmobile: I’m of two minds about this one. On the one hand, it’s taken from one of the most memorable, even shocking moments of the film. Who wasn’t filled with dread the first time they saw Batman Returns, wondering how Batman was going to get out of his runaway Batmobile, only to see the sides come off to reveal a an even smaller chassis so he can narrowly avoid death? As a toy, though, all I can think is that you’re going to lose at least one of the regular Batmobile parts pretty quickly and be left with just a Batmissile. Could be worse, but it could be better too.

8. Bruce Wayne Custom Coupe: Keeping the turtleneck alive. Bruce Wayne is all about the drip.

7. Batcave Command Center: This set is definitely a victim of working backward through the movie toy lines. Had I started with Batman, the Batcave Command Center would impress with its size and additional play features. Knowing that Batman Forever has the massive Batcave playset, though, and another set that’s similar if not identical to this one, it’s just cool, not mind-blowing.

6. Robin Jet Foil: On paper, this and the Laser Blade are the same in concept, in that they’re both small vehicles that have nothing to do with the movie they’re supposedly based on. In practice, I like this more because it’s for Robin, and I love Robin.

5. Turbojet Batwing: No need for a descriptor in the title. The Batwing is the Batwing, and it rocks and sells itself.

4. Batman Sky Blade: This isn’t cooler than the Batwing, no, but it does remind me of the Whirly-Bat. That in itself makes it worthy of recognition.

3. Batmobile: The Best Batmobile Ever in Any Medium. I will not be taking questions.

2. The Penguin Umbrella Jet: This is absolutely ludicrous and completely at odds with the tone of the film. Because of that, I absolutely adore this. It is straight out of Batman: The Movie, which is more than enough to make me forgive the fact that it’s not the Duck.

1. All-Terrain Batskiboat: The unsung vehicle of Batman films, the Batskiboat is weird and impractical and limited in functionality. It also looks incredibly cool and manages to stand on its own alongside more memorable vehicles. I love the Batmobile and Batwing more, but as the Batskiboat is unique to Batman Returns, it deserves special recognition.

Figures 24-11

24. Air Attack Batman: None of the figures in this line are bad, I’ll admit, and I’d gladly own any of them. Given personal taste, though, I gravitate more toward the more traditional and classic looking figures, or those that are so outlandish and bizarre that I can’t help but love them. This is neither.

23. Polar Blast Batman: Kind of digging the strange design on the suit and the black and whitish silver of the costume. Those huge ice wings almost work too, but fall just short.

22. Aero Strike Batman: This is one of those figures that comes to mind when I think of Batman toys from this era, thanks to the that eye-catching gold.

21. Deep Dive Batman: That bright bright bright yellow cracks me up, and the accessories are kind of cool. This is just kind of arbitrarily placed here because it felt right.

20. Jungle Tracker Batman: Another figure that stands out from the era. I love the green and black together, and there’s a certain campy charm to these variant ideas used to just pump out more and more Batman toys. Even still, I’d prefer something that looks a bit more like, ya know, Batman.

19. Hydro Charge Batman: Also arbitrary. Cool little missile launcher.

18. Firebolt Batman: You know, I don’t think I’d ever even seen this figure before putting this list together. That sense of newness keeps it from the bottom, but there’s nothing that really stands out about it besides that.

17. Arctic Batman: Heck yeah. I wrote an entire post pretty much “joking” about how this suit might could possibly show up in The Flash, and the fact that it didn’t makes me sad. Cool (puns!) figure, just not very Batman Returnsish.

16. Night Climber Batman: Yet another arbitrary rank, helped out by a unique color scheme and design. Really liking the blue on the chest versus the black on the torso, and the nice if standard grapple launcher.

15. Laser Batman: Awesome texture and coloring on the suit. The third figure that springs to mind when I think of this era. It would make a good companion to that Spider-Man armor he wore for like half an issue or something.

14. Bola Strike Batman: Like Firebolt Batman, I don’t think I’d ever seen this before. Nice use of a pretty traditional Batsuit, though the huge bola launcher is kind of awkward and unwieldy.

13. Powerwing Batman: Hey, it’s that ugly copper color again, yet it… kind of works when the suit looks the same? Weird.

12. Claw Climber Batman: Really like that purple, and how the figure “climbs like a bat.”

11. Rocket Blast Batman: In true 90s fashion, this has extra buckles and straps and that’s beautiful.

Figures 10-1

10. Catwoman: A nice, clean looking figure without a lot of frills. Props for giving her accessories that are actually relevant to the movie, and I log the script used for “Catwoman” on the backing card. The figure looks just a bit too plain, though, as it doesn’t appear to have any of that weird stitching.

9. Thunderwhip Batman: The Returns Batsuit is my favorite live-action Batsuit to date, and this is a nice figure to represent it.  There are just a few better Batman toys to come.

8. The Penguin: It’s just a recolored Super Powers figure, but who cares? If you’re going to not look like the character in the film, you could do a lot worse than this. And like Catwoman, “The Penguin” script looks great on that card.

7. Bruce Wayne: All. About. That. Drip.

6. Crime Attack Batman: This Batman… attacks crime. Great looking suit, gorgeous yellow oval, and a firing Batarang? Yes please.

5. Shadow Wing Batman: Yes, the “pop-up arms” will eventually wear out, which can limit the appeal of the figure, especially if they don’t have any additional joints. I should dislike this because of that, but I can just imagine myself launching this across the room over and over again and having a grand old time with it. Isn’t that what matters?

4. Penguin Commandos: I love them. They are also hanging on my wall. Legends.

3. Robin: What a terrific figure. Hitting stores just a few months after this costume debuted in the comics, to this day this is one of the best Robin toys ever made. The suit is phenomenal, especially that two-toned cape, and the grappling hook launcher accessory is nice and sturdy. Yeah, he doesn’t appear in the film, but he was supposed to appear in the film, so it counts.

2. Deluxe Batman: Simple and clean, a great, jumbo sized figure in that great Batsuit. An accessory or two might have been nice, but it looks great as-is.

1. Sky Winch Batman: Simply beautiful. I will always go with blue and gray with the yellow oval. Throw in a grapple gun that looks like the one from the film, and a firing Batarang that also looks like the one from the film, and you have yourself a perfect Batman figure. Just… don’t look it up on eBay, because it will ruin your day.

All images were obtained from Figure-Archive.net, unless otherwise noted.