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.

mmbats1

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…

mmdkr2

mmdknr3

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.

mmdkr8

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.

mmdkr3

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.

mmdkr4

mmdkr5

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.

mmdkr6

mmdkr7

mmdkr9

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.

Man of Steel: Movie Masters Superman by Mattel

I’ve scrapped the intro to this feature twice because both times it deteriorated into a rant on the new Man of Steel movie. Kicking movies that I don’t like is not something I enjoy doing, so I’m happy to abstain from it. The film is obviously a unique take on the character and one that doesn’t jive with what the character means to me. Fair enough. In the multiverse of Infinite Earth’s I’m perfectly fine setting aside one for the Zack Snyder Superman to reside on, so long as I don’t have to visit it ever again. Anyway, if there’s one thing I did like it’s the design of Supes himself, and so I still wanted a figure for my collection, and that’s what we’re here to talk about, so enough said about the movie… let’s talk toys.

mmsupe1

Mattel went with a very cool presentation for this line. The “Man of Steel” title is seriously underplayed. It’s type is even smaller than the “Adult Collector” label on the top of the card. The rest of the card features a large “S” Shield, making up the back of the bubble and a flowing red cape motif. The bubble is large and shaped like Superman’s shield crest. The insert follows along with the cape motif and has “Superman” printed across it in large lettering. The package certainly works for Supes, but I think the diminished title of the movie may be a little odd for the Jor-El and Zod figures. Whatever the case, this is an attractive package and it certainly draws one’s eye to the pegs.

mmsupe2

mmsupe3

As I already mentioned, I really like the movie version of Supe’s costume. It draws a bit on the “New 52” design in that he isn’t wearing his red undies. On the other hand, instead of the panel lined light blue suit, we get a darker blue suit with a basketball like texture. There’s also some dark grey piping that runs along the sides and the back. I like it, as it gives the suit a little bit of an alien motif, although most of it is concealed by his cape. The “S” Shield on his chest is actually sculpted into the figure. It’s textured like the rest of the costume and features some nice metallic gold paint. The cape is especially well done. It attaches over the front of his shoulders and flows wide behind him. I do miss the “S” Shield on the back of the cape, but I can live without it.

mmsupe6

The portrait is surprisingly good for a figure based on a real-world likeness. I may have a number of issues with the movie, but one thing that I can’t deny is that Cavill looks good in the suit and Mattel’s sculptors did a fine job reproducing his likeness in the head sculpt. It’s not the spitting image of the actor, but it’s closer than I would have expected. I’d dare say it’s one of their best.

mmsupe4

mmsupe5

The articulation here is very close to the DCUC style, with just one real notable omission. There are ball joints in the neck and shoulders. The arms feature swivels in the biceps and wrists, and have hinged elbows. The legs have the usual DCUC style hip joints, swivels in the thighs, and hinges in the knees and ankles. Superman can also swivel at the waist. The missing POA is the chest ab-crunch. It was probably sacrificed in favor of the added sculpting detail of the suit, and I’m fine with that.

mmsupe7

Superman comes with an “S” Shield figure stand. I’m always happy to get a figure stand, but I’m not sure that I’ll use it, as he stands just fine on his own. There are no other accessories. If you want a motorcycle for him to rip apart, you’ll need to look to the 3.75” line.

mmsupe8

If you want a Man of Steel figure for your shelf, you can’t go wrong with Supes here. He is an exceptionally nice figure with a great sculpt, excellent paint apps, and no QC issues to speak of. Can this really be a movie toy? From Mattel? Well, in fairness Mattel’s Movie Masters figures are usually solid efforts and Superman raises the bar a little higher. That having been said, this is probably the only figure I’ll buy from this line, because I’m not at all keen on the other character designs. Ok, maybe I’ll pick up Zod, just so I can have Superman punch him through a city block and thoughtlessly murder hundreds of human bystanders.

On a side note, while buying Superman, I also thought I might as well get a movie version of Batman to go with him, so I picked up the Movie Master version of Batman from The Dark Knight Rises… we’ll check him out tomorrow.

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.

DSCN0425

DSCN0424

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.

DSCN0684

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.

DSCN0685

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.

DSCN0686

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.

DSCN0689

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.

DSCN0690

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.

DSCN0691

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.

DSCN0687

DSCN0688

DSCN0693

DSCN0692

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.

Green Lantern Classics Wave 2: Green Lantern G’Hu by Mattel

So, I still haven’t seen last year’s Green Lantern movie all the way through and at this point its doubtful I ever will. It can join the ranks of Ghost Rider as movies where I absolutely love the property, but simply can’t make it through the Hollywood movie treatment without wandering off to do dishes or clean out the grout in my bathtub for want of something more interesting to do. Needless to say, I didn’t collect the movie line of figures, but thanks to Mattel sneaking one into the Green Lantern Classics, I had to buy one in order to complete my C&C Stel figure. Mattel may be bastards, but they’re pretty good at forcing me to buy stuff I don’t really want.

Same packaging as last time. Its basically the DC Universe Classics style only given the lime slushy treatment. G’Hu sports something of a slight build so he’s packaged in a dorky action pose to help him fill out the card a little better. You’ll note the sticker on the bubble that reads“Sneak Peek Movie Figure!” so at least Mattel is announcing their chicanery to the buyer, because just one look at the figure inside and you can tell he doesn’t belong in this lineup.
One thing I did like about what I saw of the movie was the way it emphasized the alien nature of the Green Lantern Corps and that aspect of the movie seemed to work its way into the figures really nicely. Thus far, even the alien Lanterns we got as figures still tended to be rather humanoid, but the movie figures introduced some really wild looking aliens. I applaud that and just wish they were better figures because once I got this guy in hand it just felt like total crap to me. The sculpt is really soft, particularly in the face, which looks like it was modeled directly off of some really shoddy CG effects. Actually, I guess it was, so bravo, Mattel! The head includes a series of soft plastic tendrils that flow off the head and down the back like tentacle hair and G’Hu stands on two legs that terminate into a set of tripod feet. Surprisingly, he can stand pretty well. G’Hu has two fairly conventional arms and two smaller insect like arms coming off his shoulders.
I’m still on the fence over the reflective green used for the Lantern costumes in the movie. On the one hand, it has an ethereal look to it that emphasizes the alien nature, and that’s cool. On the other hand, it just looks junky on the figures. Even G’Hu’s flesh parts feature a purple glossy plastic that looks like it belongs on a My Little Pony figure. Either way, the glossy movie look makes this figure stick out like a sore thumb on my Green Lantern shelf, so he’s pretty useless you have other movie figures to display him with.

Due to his alien form, G’Hu’s articulation breaks from the normal DCUC formula, but then he isn’t a DCUC figure, he’s only packaged as one, so this deviation shouldn’t be surprising. He has a ball jointed neck, and ball joints in the shoulders and a ball joint in the torso. I don’t even know how to describe the joints used in his hips, elbows and knees. In fairness, you can get him into a fair number of poses and even his little insect arms move about a little bit.
Ultimately, it all comes down to me not liking this figure, and not liking the fact that I had to buy it to complete my Stel, and not liking the fact that its packaged in this line at all. If I wanted to collect the Green Lantern movie figures I would have done so. I can sort of understand the thinking here as being, “Hey, let’s get them to buy one movie figure and they’ll love it and buy the rest of the line.” But this figure is so crappy it would have convinced me against buying any more even if I was interested. There’s a reason those figures are rotting on the pegs and being clearanced out everywhere, Mattel. Nobody wanted them.

And remember kids, No G’News is good G’News without Gary G’Hu.