Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Toy Review – DC Multiverse Batman v Superman Batman from Mattel

Of course I’m excited about Batman v Superman: Damn of Justice. How could I not be? It’s a live action movie starring Batman and Superman. And, to some extent, Wonder Woman. And maybe Aquaman, Flash, Green Lantern, Cyborg, Doomsday, Darkseid, and for all I know Beppo the freaking Supermonkey.

I’ve made it known over the past several years that I think that Christopher Nolan’s Batman films are awesome action flicks about a rich kid that becomes a ninja, but utter failures as Batman movies. I wrote about it here and here.

As such, I was excited for a new Batman. I never wanted the Nolanverse Bat back. Can you imagine how limiting a world that grounded in reality would be for the DCU? Ugh. Plus, I was never really in love with Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne or as Batman. He was fine and I like him as a performer, but I’m not attached to his Dark Knight whatsoever.

I got behind the idea of Ben Affleck as Batman immediately. Is he perfect? I don’t know. We’ll find out in a couple of months. So far it looks like he’s portraying angry old Batman pretty well. I suppose the question of his casting is directly related to which Batman he’s portraying, and this seems to be a good fit.

I hadn’t really planned on buying these figures, but I realize now that at least one was going to end up on the shelf. Boba Fett, Batman, and the Gill Man are characters that I will buy any cool toy of , regardless of whether or not I’m collecting the lines they are part of. So of course when I saw this Batman for MSRP on Amazon, I ordered.

I like the design of the Batman v Superman Batsuit, even if I am a little confused by the materials being used. It looks sort of like wrinkly, stitched-together garbage bags. I’m sure there’s a good reason for that, though, and the rest of the suit design is great. We are finally getting more than just a black Batsuit. It’s delightful. I’d love to see some kind of flashback scenes where he’s wearing dark blue or maybe even has the trunks.

Yes – I know that neither of those things is going to happen.

FIRST GLANCE

We’ve seen a number of pictures of this Batsuit now, as well as a few trailers showing it in action:

But this is the first chance I’ve had to really examine it. I doubt Mattel had access to every little detail and, being Mattel, I’m sure there are details they chose to leave out. But This is still the most thorough and easy to examine representation of the Dawn of Justice Batsuit I’ve seen. I would’ve bought this figure just based on being a cool-looking Batman.

With really weird eyes.

PACKAGING

This is the same new DC Multiverse box that Wonder Woman came in. I like it and it certainly draws the eye at retail (now that I’ve seen some at retail).

I didn’t examine the back as much on the Wonder Woman review because I was distracted by the hilariously awkward synopsis on the side. The centerpiece is a picture of the “YOU MUST BUY THEM ALL” item – Batman’s Grapnel Blaster. It looks cool, but it isn’t going to compel me to buy any figures I don’t want.

Under that we have pictures of the four figures in this wave and a promise of four more to come. I was discussing the next four with Needless Things’ Head of Research Ryan and his guesses were Aquaman, Lex Luthor, and Doomsday with no clue about the fourth. I say we’ll get Knightmare Batman (in the trench coat), Evil Superman, Doomsday (if that’s what that awful CGI thing is), and Lex. And I think even if Lex uses some kind of power suit in the movie (and I don’t think he will) it will be a regular Lex in a hoodie or whatever they have him wearing.

Ugh. I am not excited about Jessie Eisenberg as Luthor. And I really like that guy. I just don’t like what I’ve seen of him as Lex so far.

Side Note: Apparently Walmart is receiving some really interesting case assortments of these. I am waiting until I see Superman in person to buy him, so when I saw these on a lower shelf I went through them. There were around forty figures and they were all Batmans – this one and the armored version (which I’ll be reviewing soon). Not a single Superman or Wonder Woman. And this looked like a freshly set up shelf. You know things don’t stay neat and pretty for long in Walmart.

LOOKS

Those eyes are weird, man. I think they’re too big. The sculpt should have featured larger openings with the flesh around the eyes exposed (though painted black). Instead we have these giant eyes that take up the entire eye holes and it doesn’t look right. He looks like a Mexican bootleg.

Side Note: I hate to throw another one of these in so soon, but now that I’ve seen the basic versions of these figures, they look better. Wonder Woman has a much better head sculpt and skin tone and the same goes for this Batman. They aren’t as detailed or articulated and they don’t have as much color or texture, but they also don’t look like they’re chromosome deficient.

The shape and texture of the cowl is very good. I like the short ears and the brow that isn’t quite as angular and defined as what we’ve seen in the past. While those eyes are bad, pretty much everything else is good.

Once you get past the head, everything else is very good. This Batman looks thick and powerful and doesn’t have the heavy armored look that we’ve seen over the past decade. The Batsuit has a lot of odd seams and is covered with texture, but it looks like a Batsuit. This is something a guy could run and jump and fight while wearing. It has an almost reflective sheen to it, which seems like an odd choice, but as an action figure it is striking and looks great.

The Bat Symbol is one of my favorites that I’ve seen. It’s huge and sculpted. There’s a crosshatched texture that gives it a reinforced look I like. I don’t want the standard Batsuit to be armor (that’s just for special occasions), but this is one bit that should have that look to it. And let me reiterate – it is not just painted on.

Batman’s cape hangs nicely and almost to the ground. It’s flat black and has no texture, but it looks great. There is a clear sculpt (and articulation) line between the cape and cowl that makes it clear that they are intended to be separate pieces. The hem appears to be ragged rather than scalloped. This and a few other details lend this Batsuit an aged appearance. If you look at the length and the folds, it appears that this is the biggest movie cape we’ll have seen. I’m interested to see how it looks in action on screen.

The boots have the same texture as the cowl. The cut is reminiscent of what we see in the comics, but without the slightly impractical pointed top. There are caps on the toes. These are washed with gold, which I find to be an odd choice. I can’t find references, but I’m assuming the color matches the movie design. I would’ve gone with silver, but I have to admit that it gives the boots more character and the way the gold is sort of sloppily applied suggests wear and tear. Batman has kicked many things and people with these boots. The soles have treads on the bottom, which is something I always appreciate.

Batman’s gauntlets also have the same texture. Both the boots and gloves have sculpted seams, which I like. The fins are sculpted to look like a separate piece and are short. There are caps on the knuckles to match the toes. I like these a lot. I still think that gold was an odd choice, but their presence again helps with the idea that this suit has been around and that you do not want trouble with Batman.

There are two issues with the gauntlets – at the elbow hinge the paint does not match the sculpt, leaving Batman with these two weird grey stripes that shouldn’t be on his gloves. The other is that the figure’s right hand is posed to hold a grapnel gun and his trigger finger is all mangled. Normally I would just heat this up, fix it, and move on, but the figure – being from Mattel – did not actually come with a grapnel gun. So it’s doubly annoying.

Batman’s utility belt combines capsules and pouches to be the most practical version since Adam West’s. That weird gold rub that’s on the toes and knuckles is here, as well. It seems a little stranger in this context, but maybe once I’ve seen the suit in action it will make sense. I do like the width and thickness – it has a more substantial presence than a lot of belt designs and I find it appropriate for this Batman.

ACCESSORIES

Batman comes with a big, golden CLONK.

There are no actual accessories with this figure, despite the fact that the Grapnel Blaster is heavily featured in the promotion and merchandising, and the fact that the figure’s hand is posed to hold a Grapnel Blaster.

Obviously this is Mattel at their Matteliest.

Instead, this figure comes with a big, stupid golden Bat that is the stand for the Grapnel Blaster build-a-replica (see? There it is again!), the parts for which are spread out over the eight figures in this line. Personally, I would rather have had the figure-sized Grapnel Blaster than the likely-too-small prop, so if this was a cost issue (which I’m sure it was), Mattel made a dumb call. Because I also don’t think that the prop is going to be a compelling “collect ‘em all” motivator for anyone.

This figure fails the accessory test.

FUN

Batffleck has the same basic articulation as Mattel’s DC Universe Classics line. The thigh swivels are a bit further down the leg, which I think looks better. The head takes some work to loosen up, but it has a pretty good range. I am surprised that in this day and age a “Collector Oriented” figure has swivel wrists with no hinge.


OVERALL

If you compare this figure to comparably priced offerings from Funko or Hasbro, it falls far short of what it should be. This is something I didn’t take into account with the Wonder Woman review because I was so delighted that it was a good and different Wonder Woman figure. But I’ve owned hundreds of Batman figures over the course of my life and the familiarity caused me to ponder that.

Imagine what this Batman would look like if it were from Hasbro or Funko. Then again, Hasbro also produces Marvel Legends at the same price point and those don’t compare to Star Wars Black, another interesting point that just occurred to me. And I have to admit – this Batman definitely competes with Marvel Legends. Heck, it’s better than some that I’ve bought over the last few years.

Unfortunately, between the eyes and what I can only refer to as a missing accessory, this figure loses big points.

3 out of 5


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