(Jeesh, that title’s a mouthful, ain’t it?)
I’m not going to do an official review of these, since Michael Crawford’s does the job nicely. This being the Weekend of the Bat, though, I thought I’d talk about them a bit in honor of The Dark Kuh-nigghit, as an outrageously-accented Frenchman might say. (Incidentally, the word “knight” comes from the Anglo-Saxon word cniht, which was pronounced “keh-nikt.” At some point English speakers stopped bothering to pronounce the “k,” thus giving modern Batman writers their beloved “dark knight/night” pun.)
I already reviewed the Movie Masters Dark Knight version of Batman for OAFE (link), so I’ll just crib that review for my basic take on the MM line.
In 2005, Mattel’s line of kid-targeted 5″ figures held little interest for collectors (outside of a not-bad Collector’s Edition figure). Collectors wanted 6″ figures with the sort of articulation that was beginning to appear in Mattel’s DC Superheroes line. Well, guess what? Mattel delivered this time around.
For The Dark Knight, Mattel has created “Movie Masters,” a line of 6″-scale action figures featuring detailed sculpts by the Four Horsemen and featuring the extensive articulation found in their comic-based DC Universe Classics line. While the initial Movie Masters waves are limited to The Dark Knight and Batman Begins, Mattel’s license extends to all the DC movies, so it’s possible we’ll see a 6″ Christopher Reeve Superman or Michael Keaton Batman in the future.
Thanks to a trade with Fwoosh member (and frequent PGPoA commenter) plain_sliced, I now am a proud owner of the Batman Begins Batman and Scarecrow. While the Dark Knight outfit certainly appears to be a step up, technologically, from the Begins outfit, I’m fond of the latter because the armor is less intricate and so, more similar to the comic book version of Bats.
While you’d think there’d be a good amount of reuse between the two versions of Batman, I’m not sure how much there really is. In fact, even the heads seem different–which makes sense, since technically the BB one is part of the cowl, whereas the DK one more of a helmet. Anyway, the sculpts do appear to be a bit different. BB Bats’s horns are more rounded and devilish and his eyes are smaller, although I will admit, the differences between these two could be due entirely to how they were pulled from the mold and the vagaries of paint applications.
Another thing to note–from what I’ve seen, all the BB Batmans released so far have their forearms on the wrong arms; the “grid” should be on the inside of the gauntlets. It’s an easy fix. Just heat up the arms with a hair dryer for about a minute, then use some sort of hard stick (I used the back of a Cross pen) to push the elbow pins until they pop out. Then just swap the forearms (you may need to heat them up again). You’ll also need to swap the hands, but again, this is easily done while the arms are hot; just be careful not to tug too hard on the wrist pegs, or they might get stretched or break.
One aspect of this figure that’s been much commented upon is that he’s even shorter than the already-shorter-than-DCUC DK Batman. Looking at the two figures closely, the height difference appears to be mostly in the torso, but overall BB Batman does appear to be a tad smaller than DK Batman. For some collectors this is apparently a deal-breaker. Since I have no plans for a figuretoon where DK Bats goes back in time to meet his earlier self, I don’t much care. But at $12-$13 a pop for these figures, if you do care, I can see wanting to skip it.
And then there’s the Scarecrow. The torso and legs beneath the straightjacket is a re-use of the Gotham City Thug body. The left left of my figure is quite bow-legged, though it’s hidden by the straightjacket. (Incidentally, although I didn’t have mine available for photos, Scarecrow would look great on the McFarlane Headless Horsemen or Toy Biz Nazgul horses.)
But the sculpting on the jacket, arms, and especially head are very good–vintage Four Horsemen, who have successfully flexed their “likeness muscles” in sculpting this line.
Unfortunately, the one place where the Movie Masters line has consistently disappointed is accessories. For some reason, instead of getting in-scale Batarangs for Batman or, for the Scarecrow, an alternate Cillian Murphy head, we get a human-sized Batarang and an oddly-sized Scarecrow fabric mask, each with a little “evidence” bag to put them in.
I’ll admit I found the Joker playing card that game with that figure and the Batarang somewhat cool–they look kind of neat in their bags, and I’ve got them taped to my wall at the moment. But the miniature masks are boring, and I really would rather have had in-scale accessories for any of these figures.
Still, it’s a minor point. The sculpting and articulation of these figures are outstanding–this is about as good as it gets for movie-based action figures these days. Kudos to Mattel and the Four Horsemen for their work on these–now just get enough of them into stores and everyone will be happy.