The Dark Knight Rises: Movie Masters Batman by Mattel

It seems to be my week for buying figures based on movies I’m not a big fan of. Oh, Dark Knight Rises was ok, but suffice it to say, I didn’t go ga-ga over Nolan’s Batman films. Nonetheless, I picked up Bane and Catwoman when I found them for cheap at Ross, and so I knew that sooner or later I would be compelled to buy Batman. Just like with Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel, I don’t have to be a fan of the movie to like the costume design, and I do indeed love Batman’s costume in Dark Knight Rises. It’s Pub Night for me, so I’m going to try to roll through this quickly.

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There’s the packaging. It’s as appropriately brooding and depressing as the movies themselves. We already saw it when I featured Bane and Catwoman a little while ago, so I won’t dwell on it. You do get a piece to build the Bat Signal, but since I’m not getting all the figures, the parts get chucked with the packaging. Let’s get Bats out and have a look…

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As much as I loved the bat costume from DKR, I don’t think I really got a great look at all of its intricacies until holding this figure. It’s a stunning piece of work, with all sorts of little plates and gubbins making up Wayne’s protective armor. Mattel should be commended for getting this amount of detail into a figure in this scale. The sculpted mesh texture between the individual armor plates give the figure a beautiful sense of depth and credibility, while the mix of matte and gloss black further compliment the complexities of the figure. There are some cool little devices sculpted onto the utility belt, which is finished off with a metallic gold paint. The soft and rubbery cape is fairly narrow, which is nice as it stays out of the way when Batman is engaged in ass-kicking.

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There’s not as much to say about the portrait, since very little of the face is showing and not much is required in the way of likeness to the actor. That’s fine, as I was never sold on Christian Bale in the role.

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Articulation is close to Mattel’s DCUC standards. There are ball joints in the neck and shoulders. The arms have swivels in the biceps and wrists, and the elbows are hinged. The legs have hinges in the knees and ankles, swivels in the thighs, and the usual DCUC hips, which allow for lateral movement. There’s a swivel at the waist, but no ab-crunch hinge in the torso.

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Bats comes with no accessories, just the previously mentioned Bat Signal part. I would have much rather had a figure stand. An EMP gun or a grapple gun would have been nice too.

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Batman is a beautiful figure and another fine addition to Mattel’s Movie Masters line. I’m happy to have him on my shelf beside Bane and Catwoman, and I’ll likely throw Man of Steel Superman into that display as well to round out my DC movie collection. Wait a minute… does this mean I need to finally break down and buy a Hal Jordan Movie Masters figure from that shitty Green Lantern movie. Oh, f’ck… I think it does.

The Dark Knight Rises: Movie Masters Bane and Catwoman by Mattel

The Dark Knight Rises came and went and you didn’t see any of the toys covered here. Some of you know I’m not a massive fan of the Batman fiction these days, but I’m even less a fan of the pretentious and depressing Nolan films as a whole. Not to overstate things, I happen to think The Dark Knight was excellent, but Batman Begins put me to sleep, and I thought The Dark Knight Rises was a drawn out snooze fest. Obviously, I’m in the minority opinion on this one, so try not to hate me for it. Nonetheless, I turned these figures up when I was at Ross the other day looking for more Transformers. There weren’t any more Transformers, probably because I already bought them all, so I decided I could find a place for this pair on my DC shelves.

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The figures come on these generic cards with printed inserts with the specific character’s name. The packages are as grey and depressing as the films, so I suppose that’s a good marketing tie-in. The insert also advertises the fact that each figure comes with a piece of the Collect & Connect Bat Signal. I think that’s a pretty cool idea, although I’ll never buy all these figures so and I have too many spare parts rattling around my DC accessory drawer, so these went right into the trash. Let’s start with Bane.

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Oddly enough, I’m more of a Bane fan than a Batman fan these days. Most of my Bane love comes from having read Gail Simone’s awesome Secret Six and her wonderful portrayal of the character. It’s probably that very reason why I took so much issue to the Nolan redesign. Before seeing the movie, I hated Bane’s new look. It was more like a Mortal Kombat reject than the Bane I knew. After seeing the movie, I still wasn’t crazy about it, but Hardy did such a great job with the character, I was willing to be more accepting. His performance, along with Michael Caine’s, are the only reasons I made it all the way through that film. Nowadays, the film has so saturated the media, that for good or for ill, I find myself more accepting of the design.

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Mattel’s version of Bane is a fantastic representation of the character from the film. It’s often hard enough to get a likeness right, but when all you have to work with are the eyes, well that makes this figure all the more impressive because I can definitely see Hardy in the eyes. The face harness is what it is. The rest of the figure features excellent sculpted detail for his various straps and rigging and his pants and boots. The jacket is a soft plastic sleeveless piece and figure’s arms are sculpted like the sleeves to the jacket. We’ve seen this method plenty of times from both Mattel and Hasbro. The effect works fine, and while you can take the jacket off, he looks silly with the sleeve arms still there. Both of Bane’s hands are just balled into fists, which I guess is appropriate enough. Even the paintwork on this guy is a homerun.

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Bane’s articulation is fairly similar to the DCUC system, with just a couple of cutbacks. He features ball joints in the neck and shoulders. The arms have hinges at the elbows and swivels at the wrists. The legs have the usual DCUC hip joints as well as swivels in the thighs and hinges in the knees and ankles. Bane can swivel at the waist and he has the usual ab-crunch hinge. The only things conspicuously missing are the swivels in the biceps.

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Next up is Catwoman. Catwoman is actually one of the few DC books I’m still reading on a regular basis. Sure, the Nolanverse is different from the New 52, but at least I can better relate to the character on some level. Anne Hathaway was certainly nice to look at in the suit, although the portrayal of the character really didn’t break any ground or do a lot for me. Mattel delivered a solid enough figure here, although she isn’t as impressive as Bane. The likeness is ok, but not spectacular. I will say I’m rather impressed with the detail on the mask and “ears” even if they are stuck in the upright position. A swappable head would have been nice, but I’m guessing Mattel shot their load with the Bat Signal.

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Obviously, Catwoman doesn’t require as much sculpting or paintwork as Bane. She’s just wearing a textured black suit and a belt. The figure barely manages to capture some of Hathaway’s impossible curves, while still being appropriate to hang on the pegs in the toy aisles. There are some nice little touches, particularly the way the spiked heels came out and the texturing on the suit. Unfortunately, there’s a nasty flub of flesh paint on my figure’s torso, just under her chin. I may be able to clean this up, but considering how few paint apps Catwoman has, it’s disappointing that Mattel couldn’t get it right.

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Catwoman features the same articulation as Bane, only she managed to get the bicep swivels that Bane missed out on. I guess it makes sense. After all, Catwoman should be more poseable than Bane. On the other hand, her sculpted hair severely inhibits her neck articulation.

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Apart from a little limited articulation on Bane and the paint app flub on Catwoman, I think these figures turned out pretty damn well. I love the fact that they fit in nicely with the DCUC line  I was really surprised Ross didn’t have Batman, seeing as the pegs of my Target and Walmart were always clogged with Batman and no one else. I hunted around, but just found a couple more Banes. If they did have Batman, I would have definitely picked him up too, as I do like the Nolan Batman design and the only figure version I have of it is the 5” figure from the second film. Either way, I like this pair enough that I will probably hunt down a DKR Batman to go with him. He shouldn’t be hard to find.