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THE DARK KNIGHT RISES

BATMAN

A toy review by Mark Patraw
Posted on 1/23/14


Packaging

This 2012 Mattel The Dark Knight Rises Batman action figure comes sealed inside a relatively small blister card that only measures about 4.9" (12.5 cm) wide, 6.3" (15.9 cm) tall, and 0.9" (2.4 cm) deep. To Mattel's credit, instead of going with a typical rectangle, the die-cut card has a more interesting irregular shape to it, particularly on the left side. There's artwork of Christian Bale, as Batman, in the upper left, but, other than that, the design is pretty plain in appearance. The back of the card is printed entirely in black and white (doubtlessly to save money) and has a brief summary of the movie's premise. The plastic bubble is glued to the front of the card on the top and sides, while the lower flap wraps around the bottom and is sealed to the back of the card. Interestingly, there are eight circular "breathing" holes in the bottom of the bubble. That's not something that I've ever seen before; perhaps they were put there to vent plastic and/or paint fumes (toys have a tendency to stink when you first open them). All you have to do to free Batman is rip the bubble off and remove the piece of tape connecting his cape to the cardback; there aren't any twist ties or rubber bands holding him in place.



Awful considerate of Bane to provide some ventilation for Bats, eh?

Batman

Batman's sculpt is very well done. There are lots of intricate details in all the little panels, ridges, and textures of his armored batsuit. The finish on the left ear of my sample is slightly chipped, and there are bits of plastic flash (artifacts left behind after removing the figure's component pieces from the injection molds) here and there, but, overall, he looks good. At the top of his pointy ears, Bruce stands 4.2" (10.6 cm) tall. As he's mostly just the color of the black plastic that he's made from, there's not much in the way of paintwork, just his eyes, lower face, and belt. However, what's there is clean and applied well. Batman's articulation is relatively limited, especially in comparison to similarly-scaled toys such as Hasbro's Star Wars or Marvel Universe lines. The Dark Knight's got rotating cut joints at the neck, shoulders, and hips and pin joints in his knees. You can vary his pose a bit, but, he's certainly not as limber and versatile as he could be. The addition of elbow, waist, and ankle articulation, and the replacement of the cut joints with ball joints, would have done much to improve his mobility. His permanently-attached cape is unhemmed fabric with a scalloped edge at the bottom. I prefer capes made from real material like this because (1) they don't impede the figure's articulation and (2) compared to a heavier, molded rubber or plastic cape, it's less likely to unbalance the toy. The lack of any accessories is also notable, as Batman figures typically come with at least a batarang, and his hands are posed to accommodate such items.






Cost and Value

I got this figure for free from my Mother, as it was a leftover potential Christmas gift that she ended up not giving to any of her grandchildren, so, she offered it to me instead. The Dark Knight Rises film came out a while ago, that being the case, I'm guessing that you could probably find him for pretty cheap, as the toys are likely clearance priced at this point. Batman could have used more articulation and an accessory or two, but, other than those two relatively minor quibbles, he's a decent enough toy, provided you don't pay too much.



Scale comparison with the 13" (33 cm) tall Batman Begins Action Cape Batman.


For Parents

Mattel recommends this Batman figure for ages 4-and-up. He doesn't have any accessories, so there's nothing tiny enough to pose a choking hazard, but the package does warn that "small parts may be generated", which probably refers to a child breaking something off, but he seems pretty sturdy to me.


PROS
CONS
  • Excellent, detailed sculpt. Mattel's artist(s) really did his intricate batsuit justice.
  • Paint is minimal, but applied cleanly.
  • Fabric cape looks good and doesn't impede mobility like a sculpted one would.
  • Relatively limited articulation. You won't be getting too many exciting poses out of him.
  • No accessories. At the very least, I think Mattel could have included a small batarang for Batman.


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