I’m back and today we’re checking out Hot Toys’ Bruce Banner! This figure was available for purchase either by himself or bundled with The Hulk. I’ll be honest, I went into The Avengers not giving a crap about who the latest actor was that they tapped to play Dr. Banner and I came out of the movie totally blown away by Mark Ruffalo’s treatment of the character. One might expect to spend every moment Banner was on screen waiting anxiously for him to turn into Hulk and start smashing things, but I was captivated by Ruffalo’s performance. He did an amazing job and there was no doubt in my mind that I wanted a figure of him to add to my Hot Toys Avengers shelf. It’s not like we’re going to get him in any other action figure line, right?
There he is! And yes, to the uninitiated, this is a very expensive figure of a nerdy looking guy in a suit. But we know he’s so much more than that. He’s the unassuming vessel that holds the pure rage of The Incredible Hulk. Let’s face it, Dr. Banner and The Hulk may be the same person, but they’re definitely two different characters. And my Avengers shelf would never be complete without this guy. Let’s start with the portrait.
Hot Toys got a lot of guff among collectors over this portrait and I honestly cannot see why. No, it’s not one of their absolute best. Yes, it has it’s good angles and bad angles. But all I can say is in person I think it’s a solid representation of Ruffalo. At first I thought the complexion might be a little too dark, but the more I look at the more I think it’s just right.
Banner comes wearing the clothes he had on when he boarded the SHIELD Helicarrier. The suit is absolutely fantastic. I genuinely believe it’s a lot easier for sixth-scale figure producers to tailor some of the crazy armors and outfits than it is to do a simple suit. In fact, one of the minor gripes about my 11th Doctor figure from Big Chief was that the tailoring on the jacket was rather puffy and the collar wasn’t quite right. Of course, that was Big Chief and this is Hot Toys and the tailoring on this suit is superb. The trousers and jacket are wonderfully proportioned and I always thought the purple shirt was a nice nod to The Hulk’s traditionally purple pants. The jacket is also pretty easily removed for when you want Banner to roll up his sleeves and start doing science. The entire ensemble is punctuated by a pair of stylish loafer feet.
What about accessories? Well, Banner is not exactly weighed down with extras. You do get the ubiquitous figure stand with “The Avengers” on it and a nameplate that reads “Bruce Banner.” You also get a ridiculous number of hands. Four sets of hands! Why??? There are two open hands, two item clutching hands, and two fists. I will never use most of these.
You also get two tiny pieces that are basically part of Dr. Banner’s wardrobe. First, there’s the amazingly detailed wristwatch and second there’s the eyeglasses. I don’t have anything to say about the watch, other than it looks great and it comes in handy so that Bruce knows WHEN IT’S TIME TO DO SCIENCE! The glasses are nicely done for such a tiny accessory, but they don’t interact well with the figure at all. There are two tiny and very shallow holes in the figure’s hairline where the arms of the glasses are supposed to go. They fit fine, but there’s not enough depth there to hold them in place. It took a lot of angling trickery just to snap a picture of him wearing them. You could have him holding them, but even with four sets of hands, none of them seem particularly well suited to the task. I’ve decided they look best just tucked into the top button of his shirt collar. I wear glasses most of the time, but I don’t need them when I’m reading, so I tend to tuck them in there.
The only big and noteworthy accessory is the Chitauri Spear. I’m pretty sure this is a straight repack of the shorter of the two spears that came with the Avengers Loki figure. I’m not complaining, mind you. It was a good accessory to include since Banner was holding it in the lab while the team was bickering. I’m also glad to have it because I didn’t buy the Loki figure from The Avengers, and I will likely buy The Dark World version and just give him this spear.
In the end, I really dig this figure a lot. At around $190 by himself, he’s among the least expensive figures Hot Toys has put out lately, but that’s to be expected since he is just a guy in a suit. Nonetheless, had Hot Toys not offered The Hulk bundle I would have still ponied up for him alone, but that’s just because I never expected Banner to be so well integrated into the movie and I just loved the portrayal of the character. Thankfully, Hot Toys did offer the bundle and while $529 shipped is a hell of a lot to pay for a pair of action figures, The Avengers has become one of my favorite movies of all time, so it’s a solid investment for me. It’s an even better deal when you consider that The Hulk is selling for around $400 or so on Ebay all by himself, making this two-pack the most economical way to get him. As of today the set is still available through Sideshow Toys, but it’s been marked with the dreaded, “Hurry less than 90 remain.” Anyone regretting not picking The Hulk up the first time around should definitely give this set a look. I’m certainly glad I did!