THE DARK KNIGHT RISES (HOT TOYS)
Did you see the number? Did you see it? Yes, you read it correctly faithful reader, today marks my 2000th review on this here site. That’s…well, that’s a lot. It honestly doesn’t feel all that long ago that I reviewed Rescue Cap for my 1000th, and, like that review, this one marks the departure of a consistent player around these parts. Goodbye starting numeral 1, and welcome starting numeral 2. Now, review #0001 was a Batman figure, so I suppose it’s only appropriate that #2000 should be another Batman. There are, of course, two notable differences. Firstly, as with most of my monumental reviews, this one comes from the high-end world of Hot Toys. Secondly, where that prior figure was based on Batman Forever, this one is instead from the Nolan films. Which were the most modern take on the character when I got this guy, but, alas, not the case anymore.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Batman was figure DX12 in Hot Toys’ Movie Masterpiece Series. This marks my second look at a DX figure, following up the Battle-Damaged T-800 from all the way back in review #0050. As I noted there, the DX line are an even more high-end subset of the Movie Masterpiece Series, focusing more on tentpole characters and giving them a larger variety of accessories and features. This was the third time Batman got a DX release, and it was designed to pair off with the DX11 Dark Knight Joker. Of course, seeing as this figure hit in 2012, he ended up pulling a bit of double duty. He’s officially branded The Dark Knight Rises, and is meant to go with that subset of figures. However, it’s the same costume in both movies, with only a very minor difference between them, allowing HT to tie him in with the Joker figure as well (and, in fact, this figure’s presence in the DX11’s solicitation shots let us know he was coming before we got an official confirmation). The figure stands just shy of 12 inches tall and has over 30 points of articulation.
Batman was sporting two different head sculpts for this release. The first is his masked appearance, which is, for the most part, a slightly simpler sculpt than we tend to see from Hot Toys. This is film accurate, of course, since it’s replicating his smooth-plated helmet from the movie. Prior TDK Batmen had some troubles with getting the helmet’s shape right, but it’s pretty darn spot-on here. The head is designed with quite a bit of versatility in mind. Firstly, since he’s a DX figure, he features PERS aka the “Parallel Eye Rolling System,” which allows for his eyes to be repositioned as you see fit. It works a little differently here than it did with the T-800; the head is more easily removable, so the mechanism is accessed more directly, and requires a special tool. I find I prefer this layout, since it means the head doesn’t have any odd seams. Furthering the versatility are three interchangeable faceplates, with calm, scowling, and angry options. All three have decent likenesses of Christian Bale, and they replicate his expressions from the film well enough, though they can certainly look goofy in some poses. One last notable point about the head is its connection to the neck. Rather than the usual ball-joint, it’s connected with a magnet, presumably to make for easier removal for accessing the features. Ultimately, it feels a little gimmicky, and makes his head fall of a little more than I’d like. The second head is an unmasked appearance, and it’s my favorite of the two. It’s definitely the best unmasked Bale HT put out, and matches the sort of intense stare that Bale always had in the films. It also features a removable collar piece, should you wish to use this head somewhere other than on the Batman suit.
Said Bat-suit was a major selling point of this particular release. Prior versions of this design had used a molded rubber body suit, which limited the posabilty, resulted in softer detailing, and didn’t exactly hold up all that well over time (to say nothing of the DX02’s issues of weeping plastic caused by an unforeseen chemical reaction). For this figure, the suit was built in a more film accurate fashion, using more rigid plastic armored parts glued in place on a cloth body suit. It’s still not going anywhere near super posable or anything, but the look is definitely more accurate, and it’s certainly held up a lot better over time…well, at least in the seven years that I’ve had it.
As a DX release, Batman is pretty heavily packed with extras. In addition to the two heads and extra mouth plates, he includes the following:
- 6 hands
- Grapnel gun
- Transformable sticky bomb gun
- Light-up electronic gun
- 2 Belts
- 2 batarangs
- 2 mini mines
- Connector for the Batpod
- Light-up display stand
The hands come in fists, gripping, and a open/batarang holding combo. They swap out okay, but it can get a little tricky to pop them back on. The assortment of weaponry make for some nice specific call-backs to the film, but I personally haven’t gotten much use out of anything but the batarangs. The sticky bomb gun is magnetic, allowing for it to be attached to the equally magnetic second belt…which would be super handy if the second belt on mine could actually be opened and placed on the figure. Oh well. The stand’s a pretty impressive piece, being modeled on the concrete steps where he faces off against Bane towards the end of the film. The lights are a little gimmicky, but the overall appearance is nice.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
It was the Dark Knight versions of Joker and Two-Face that got me into Hot Toys collecting in the first place, but for a while I had no Batman to go with them, because I was just never than impressed by the available Batmen. However, this one’s announcement, alongside Bane and Catwoman from the same movie, was right as I was getting into the HT thing pretty bigh, and that was enough to get me on board, and fill out my display a bit. Ultimately, I think this guy makes for a wicked display piece, but he’s not a figure you want to pick up and handle all that much. Taking him down from the shelf for this review was enough to really remind me of that. Still, there’s no denying he was HT’s best Bale Batman.