One of the most beloved rarities among action figure collectors are action figures of supporting cast characters. I don’t mean sidekicks or team members, but “everyday” characters such as Lois Lane, Jarvis, Uncle Owen, and many others. Such characters rarely get figures, for a few reasons. Though popular among diehard fans, casual fans are rarely interested in them. There’s little chance of a casual toy collector picking them up because there’s nothing particularly interesting about them in and of themselves–often they’re just a person in a suit (seen any Movie Master Harvey Dents at your local TRU?). The figures aren’t eye-catching, so parents ignore them.
In the 1980s, such figures, if they were made at all, were usually mail-away exclusives. So it’s worth appreciating the fact the Mattel has provided fans with the much-requested Movie Masters Jim Gordon figure as part of their new Batman Legacy line, which incorporates versions of Batman-related characters from the comics, movies, and videogames of the Bat-franchise.
The two-pack also includes Prototype Suit Batman, which was already released years ago at retail as a single-packed figure under the name “Survival Suit Bruce Wayne.”
Packaging: Each Batman Legacy package is based on the franchise that inspired it. These are Movie Masters figures, so the packaging resembles that line. It’s not nearly as awesome as the comic packaging, but it won’t look out of place alongside a MOC Movie Masters collection.
Design & Sculpt: I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that Gordon was not sculpted by the Four Horsemen. The decision to put Gordon alongside the Horsemen-sculpted Prototype Batman is a bit mystisfying, in that not only is there a more desirable figure for the two-pack (“Fear Toxin” Batman) but the excellent 4H sculpt of Christian’s Bale’s head only highlights the inferior quality of the Gordon headsculpt.
That’s not to say it’s terrible–but it’s not good. It does look roughly like Gary Oldman from Batman Begins; if you handed him to a random geek and asked him or her to identify the character, he or she would almost certainly get it right. But to say the likeness is as good as the 4H’s Bale sculpt is risible.
Gordon also suffers from 6″ Figure with Giant Thick Glasses Syndrome (though Gordon’s glasses are pretty thick in the film, so it’s not as bad as it usually is). Raise those glasses off his eyes and any Gary Oldman likeness vanishes, leaving you with a complete stranger.
Gordon’s legs, pelvis and torso are all reuses from Harvey Dent/Two-Face, which comes as no surprise. The left leg of my Gordon figure curves inward, making him duck-footed; if you want his feet to look right, you’ve got to turn it to the left, revealing the ugly cut joint on the thigh. Fortunately it’s mostly hidden by the trench coat. The coat sculpt is fine, but it kind of awkwardly hangs over the reused Harvey arms (I remember Two-Face is a lefty in The Dark Knight, but is Gordon?).
I never picked up the Prototype Suit Batman, so while I would have preferred a Fear Toxin Batman, I don’t mind getting the Prototype Suit. It’s a fantastic sculpt, with lots of detail and separate parts. Most of it is a reuse from the Batman Begins Batman, except for the upper torso, head, and “survival” gear. The one bad part of the sculpt–and this appears on all use of these arms–is the big gap between the biceps and the shoulder.
The Bale head sculpt, as mentioned, is superb. The rubber mask looks a bit goofy when put on his head due to size issues, but it’s not that bad.
Plastic & Paint: As a guy in a suit, there’s not much to Gordon’s paint work. The trench coat is molded in a pliable gray material. As you can see in the headshot pic, the paint on his mustache is uneven and his mouth is a creepy little slit.
By contrast, the paint on PS Batman is pretty sharp. There’s not much slop on the belt details, and the eyes and eyebrows look fine.
Articulation: Both figures have a ball and socket neck; ball and hinge shoulders; hinges at the elbows, knees, abdomen, and ankles; and swivels at the biceps, wrists, thighs, and waist. The waist on Bruce Wayne is restricted by the gear.
Accessories: Aside from Batman’s ski mask, the only other accessory is a pistol for Gordon. While I appreciate actually getting a damn accessory for one of these Movie Masters figures, it turns out Gordon can barely hold the gun. It’s balanced very precariously in that one pic.
As for Prototype Suit Batman–couldn’t we have gotten a stapler? That would have been a great little add-in.
Quality Control: Batman’s left leg is very slightly warped, and as I mentioned above, Gordon’s left leg is warped so as to duck-foot him.
Fun Factor: Quality of the sculpt aside, these Movie Masters figures have plenty of articulation and playability for a kid who loves the Nolan films. I plan to replace Gordon’s gun, though.
Overall: I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the team that produced Gordon is the same one that is currently working on Mattel’s movie Ghostbusters line now. The likeness is soft, and the Four Horsemen would have done it better. Mattel should have ponied up the dough to at least have them sculpt the head.
So while I’m happy to have a Gordon figure in the Movie Masters line, the figure itself is disappointing.
Though the Prototype Suit figure is fine, there’s one very simple thing Mattel could have done to make this set far more desirable: giving us the rare “Fear Toxin” Batman variant instead. I suppose that would have cost the set a certain thematic coherence, but if you can sell more sets with the Fear Toxin Batman, who cares about supporting a theme? It’s a no-brainer.
Where to Buy:
- Amazon.com has them for $30.
- Entertainment Earth has them for $31.
- You can also find them fairly easily at your local Target or TRU.