As a film fanatic, it has been brilliant as my children get older to be able to share the cinema experience. No longer do I have to sit through some dull, life affirming but soul-destroying cartoon - now I can take my kids to films that I'd actually want to see if I wasn't a parent.
My nine-year-old son and I are really looking forward to Iron Man 3. We have both the first two films on DVD and they are one of the few film series where the sequel is even better than the first film. So by the law of averages the third one should be even better, right? That's what we're hoping.
And we were pretty chuffed to be sent some Iron Man 3 toys from Hasbro to try out in advance of the movie. Because let's face it who wouldn't want a little Robert Downey Jr of their own to keep at home and play with?
Just me then.
Our previous experiences of movie-based merchandise has been a mixed one. The Batman toys were OK but didn't ultimately inspire a lot of imaginative play. The Hobbit toys were beautifully recreated but lacking in a Gollum.
How would the man of iron fare when recreated as a man of plastic?
We were sent two Iron Man 3 toys to review:
Sonic Blasting Action Figure
At 15 inches tall this is a pretty massive action figure - so much so that the feet don't even fit in the box and have to be attached separately. If you are looking for a big boxed gift to make a mini Marvel fan's eyes light up, this will definitely do it.
It's a solid plastic figure - my son noted that the legs don't move much, so this limits the movement. He's an action hero but he's no Action Man
You will need 3 AA batteries for this (they're not included, which is disappointing for a toy that retails at around £30 ).
Once you insert the batteries, Iron Man's eyes and chest button light up in blue. The weapon attached to his arm turns and fires missiles quite a long way across the room. He can fire 5 missiles at a time, and there are 5 red and 5 blue ones included, so you do have some spares for those inevitable moments when they disappear under the sofa.
We thought this toy was pretty cool and a lot of fun.
We were also sent the Iron Man 3 battle vehicle, which retails at around £20 (no batteries required). This is basically an ejecto-seat type of car. It comes with changeable arms, footplate and weapons, so lots of potential for storytelling and imaginative play.
And if you want to see these toys in action, here is my son AKA Mr Turtle, to demonstrate:
Hasbro's Iron Man 3 toys are available now online from a wide range of toy shops. Iron Man 3 opens in the UK on the 25th April 2013 and we will be right at the front of the queue. Might have to buy an extra ticket for Sonic Blasting man though - he's big enough to need an extra seat.