Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Toy Review – Dark Knight Rises Movie Masters Batman By Mattel

I am a big fan of Mattel’s Movie Masters line.
Yes, I know I sold all of my Green Lantern Movie Masters on eBay. But that movie absolutely sucked balls and the toys just sort of sat there on the shelf reminding me of that fact. They were perfectly good, they just represented suckage. Also, it would have taken way too much effort on my part to complete the line and I couldn’t just have an unfinished set. And, if I had finished the set I would have had to build that utterly retarded Parallax build-a-figure and I didn’t want that piece of shit anywhere near my nice toy collection.

But the Batman Movie Masters are another story. Those movies are really good and the figures themselves are much nicer than the Green Lantern ones. Also, they are characters that actually did stuff in the movie as opposed to aliens that had approximately 4.8 seconds of screen time before they got vaporized by a giant, yellow infant head.
I’ve got a decent collection of the Batman Movie Masters – Batman, Gordon, Bruce Wayne in the Stealth Suit (or whatever), Joker, Scarecrow, and the Batpod (I still think that’s a stupid name). I was pretty excited to be adding the new figures, not to mention what is probably the coolest build-a-thing that Mattel has produced – a functioning Bat Signal.
Once again Mattel is releasing these things in waves that will make some of the figures very difficult if not impossible to find. This is because Mattel are stupid dicks. Seriously – I can’t think of a better answer. The first case assortment is:
Batman x 3
Bane x 2
Alfred x 1
Meaning you had better happen to hit a store the second they open the case or the only thing you are ever going to see is a shelf with eighteen Batman figures on it. The really awesome part is the way the Bat Signal pieces are packed. There is a base, a support, the signal itself, and apparently three other pieces. You could get by with just the first three. But Alfred comes with the actual signal, meaning the most important part comes with the figure you are never going to see at retail. So far I’ve found three different stores with these figures in stock and I’ve seen two Banes (one of which I bought), zero Alfreds, and nine Batmans (one of which I bought).
First Glance: This figure looks shinier and more detailed than the one from The Dark Knight. It’s a nice-looking figure – very accurate to the movies. I’m interested to see the differences in the Batsuit.
Sculpt: There are no differences in the Batsuit. This is the exact same figure that was released in The Dark Knight Movie Masters line, just with a slightly different paint deco. I’m not proclaiming this to be a bad thing. If he’s wearing the same suit in The Dark Knight Rises this is perfectly legit.
(The one on the right is the new one. I know he looks taller but I cannot find a single different part. It's weird, like an Escher piece.)
Batman sports basically the same articulation as any DCUC figure. He has ball joints at the neck and shoulders. There are swivels at the biceps, wrists, waist, and thighs. The elbows, abdomen, knees, and ankles pivot. The hips are that odd ball joint analog that Mattel and Character Options both use. The joints on my figure are mostly tight except for the forward/backward motion on the hips. Those are pretty loose.
The actual sculpt of the figure is fantastic. The cowl looks great, and despite the coverage of the face and the scale, what is exposed looks like Christian Bale. The Batsuit is massively detailed and looks pretty much exactly like what you see in the movies. The lines and armor are slick and accurate and the points of articulation are worked into the design. There are so many different textures in this figure it’s pretty amazing. From the hard sectional armor to the mesh underneath – it’s all there. I spent several minutes just examining the gauntlets and all the detail on the hands, forearms, and fins.
The utility belt is a separate piece of softer rubber that is permanently attached to the waist. It has all of the little storage pieces sculpted in and the buckle even has lines to denote the clasp. I like very much that the belt is separate. It gives the figure just a little bit more depth and a sense of realism.
I hate the cape. I understand Mattel’s avoidance of soft goods. I’m not even really a fan of soft goods at this or smaller scales. But I have seen fabrics done right at the six-inch scale and I think this figure would have benefitted greatly from a cape that didn’t look like a piece of black Hot Wheels track. It doesn’t look horrible, but it just doesn’t do anything and it prevents the figure from looking good doing anything other than just standing there. The cape doesn’t interfere with articulation a whole lot, but it isn’t at all flexible. So nothing the figure does other than stand looks acceptable. Even when you lay Batman down on the Batpod it looks stupid.
Design: The sculpt on this figure may be exactly the same as the previous version, but the paint is a bit different and much better for it.
The head is the same. The cowl is flat black and the face paint stays within its borders. The eyes are white with pupils, though my pupils are a bit off. Nothing too terrible.
The Batsuit and belt are where the changes come in. The suit now has a few different glosses of black paint and it makes a pretty big difference. The plating is a high gloss black, the mesh is flat, and the boots are sort of in-between. It looks very good and makes this figure superior to the older one.
The belt is also slightly different. It is more of a bronze color and the silver highlights are brighter and more defined.
The paint on mine is tight and accurate, though honestly there wasn’t a lot of opportunity for flaws.
I hate the number stamped on the back of Batman's calf, but I love all of the detail surrounding it.
Accessories: Batman comes with the main base of the Bat Signal. It looks fine and actually has a bit of deco on it.
I’m not gonna lie, though. I think it sucks donkeys that this guy doesn’t come with a Batarang or grapple gun or anything. I don’t think it would be out of line to expect an alternate Christian Bale head.
Packaging: The packaging is very nice. The blister is in the shape of Batman’s forearm and is eye-catching and cool. The art looks good and is more mature than the other Batman product out there. This package would almost be too subdued if it weren’t for the shape of the blister. The back features the other figures from the first wave as well as a picture of the fully assembled Bat Signal.
There is also a sticker on the blister with a code to get Movie Cash for your ticket to see The Dark Knight Rises. I thought this was pretty awesome, so I pulled out the laptop and logged onto the site as soon as I could. Unfortunately the promotion doesn’t go into effect until 7/1/2012, so I’ve got to hang onto these stupid blisters until then. I know what you’re thinking – why don’t I just write the codes down? Because I’d lose them. I know I would. I guess I could make a note in my phone’s calendar, but that seems like so much work.
Overall: Aside from the cape this really is a fantastic figure and a pretty decent improvement over the The Dark Knight version. Granted, I wouldn’t have bought it if I had known it was the same sculpt and hadn’t wanted the Bat Signal, but it really is a great figure. If you collect Batmans you should certainly own one.
4 out of 5
No, really. I like it that much. But don’t buy one now. I have no doubt you’ll be able to find them on clearance by the dozens at Christmas.
P.S. - You might have noticed the different backgrounds in the pictures. It's because Lil' Troublemaker really wanted me to go ahead and open them but I just didn't feel like going downstairs to the "photo studio". So I made one up.

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