#0424: Batman – Video Game



The last several reviews highlighted some of the positives of Mattel’s hold of the DC license. So, hey, for a change, how about a discussion of how they totally suck? That’ll be a real change…

Mattel’s DC license has exclusivity built into it. This means that DC won’t license to anyone who would provide Mattel direct competition. The larger scale stuff is a bit more open, but anything under 12 inches is pretty much Mattel’s game. Given Mattel’s lackluster offerings as of late, this kinda sucks for DC fans.  For years, fans have wanted proper figures based on the 1989 Batman movie, specifically Michael Keaton’s take on the title character. However, when Mattel finally released a Keaton Batman, it was A)in 3 ¾ inch scale, rather than the preferred 6-7 inch range, and B) not very good. Enter NECA.

NECA, who are known for their killer movie sculpts, produced their own Keaton Batman, but due to the Mattel license, it had to be 18 inch scale. But, NECA is the king of making impossible things happen (Sigourney Weaver likeness FTW!), so they were working on a way to get out a 7 inch figure. As it turns out, while Mattel’s license covers all of the comics, the movies, and the cartoons, it only covers some of the video games. In particular, it doesn’t cover the 1989 NES game done to tie into the movie. So, by painting up their Keaton sculpt in those colors, they were golden. He was just sort of wonky colored…

(Incidentally, about a week after this figure was released, it was announced that NECA had worked out a deal to have a properly colored version released with the new Batman Blu-ray release. So, yeah.)


Batman here was a special single release from NECA, but he follows the theme set by previous NES-style releases. Batman has the notoriety of being the first such figure to feature a new(ish) sculpt. I don’t usually discuss packaging, but it’s actually pretty cool here. It’s been done to look like the box for the original game, and it looks really cool. The only downside is that it’s shrink-wrapped, which means looking at the figure inside won’t happen until you’ve actually purchased it. This might up deterring some potential buyers, which is a bummer. The figure is a little over 7 inches tall and he features 25 points of articulation. So, you’ll notice up at the beginning there I referred to the sculpt as “new(ish).” This sculpt is essentially the same as the one used for NECA’s awesome 18 inch Keaton Bats. However, this is the first time it’s been seen in this scale, and it’s received a number of tweaks to make it work at the smaller size. Whatever its origins, it’s a really good sculpt. The coolest thing is that it’s not lots of straight pieces, it’s pieces on top of pieces, which gives it the appropriate amount of depth and layers. It really adds to the realism. What little can be seen of the Keaton likeness is spot on, and the figure’s proportions in general look to be a great representation of the actor. The sculpt is topped off with a cloth cape. It’s serviceable, though the hole for the head can show if you don’t have the figure posed properly. Paint is the one area where NECA sometimes has issues, but this figure has not been struck by any such issues. Overall, everything is very cleanly applied, and there aren’t any issues with slop or bleed over. The paint is also what makes the figure so distinctive. The colors are bold, and just wacky enough to make this figure the highlight of any Batman collection. Batman is armed with a grapple, a batarang, and two hands to hold them.


This figure is my lone Black Friday purchase. This was the one. I got him from my local Toys R Us, late in the evening, in between rounds of rapid Christmas decorating. I’ve been waiting for this figure to be released, pretty much since it was announced. What’s funny is, I actually hadn’t gotten him yet when the proper colored one, which I thought I wanted more, was announced. But, after seeing both of them, I just can’t get as excited about that one as I am about this one. I just really like the colors, and the general uniqueness of this guy. Another winner from NECA!

One response

  1. It might be a sad commentary about Mattel that a purple and blue Batman based on a 25 year old movie is one of the best made in recent years. NECA did a really great job on the sculpt, and I really love the purple cape for some reason. This is the first “Video Game” figure I’ve purchased from NECA, and I really don’t regret it, even after the release of the normal Batman figure. I’m looking forward to NECA’s upcoming Flame Damaged Robocop which looks pretty cool too.

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