#2724: John Blake



Man, remember when DC movies weren’t totally divisive and the subject of much ire between fandoms?  Me either.  But I do remember Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy, and there are certainly opinions about that one, aren’t there?  Personally, I break from the few agreed upon ideas about the trilogy, namely that I’ve never been that terribly impressed by The Dark Knight (not that I think it’s a *bad* movie by any stretch), and I actually quite like it’s rather divisive follow-up, The Dark Knight Rises.  Amongst the things that I really enjoy in Rises is Joseph Gordon Levitt’s turn as GCPD Detective John Blake, the closest thing this incarnation of the franchise got to a Robin (and as much as I enjoy the film, even I will admit that reveal was a little bit ham-fisted).  Mattel actually went pretty in-depth for their Movie Masters component to the film’s tie-in toys, covering most of the major players, John included.  I’m taking a look at him today.


John Blake was released in the third round of Mattel’s Dark Knight Rises Movie Masters figures, technically alongside Ra’s Al-Gul, though that implies that the two of them ever shared any shelf space at retail…or made it to retail at all, for that matter…This line was a little bit mismanaged to say the least.  The figure is just shy of 6 inches tall and he has 23 points of articulation.  As a Mattel product, especially from their movie lines, it’s probably not a huge surprise that his articulation doesn’t have the greatest range of motion.  In particular, the ab-crunch and elbows are quite restricted, not that any of that was surprising for this line.  Blake gets two distinct looks for the movie, his standard GCPD officer’s uniform, and the more dressed down attire he gets after being promoted to detective.  At the time, Mattel was doing pretty much everything they could to put as many of these guys as possible on the standard suit body, but despite that opted for Blake in his GCPD attire.  It’s his slightly more distinctive look, and the one used for most of the promotional stuff for the movie, so that made sense.  It also meant he got a surprising amount of new parts, with only the lower half of the figure using the suit body pieces.  The rest was new, and honestly not bad for Mattel’s usual output from this era.  The head’s got one of Mattel’s better likenesses for Movie Masters, and actually kind of looks like JGL.  He’s still perhaps a little on the cartoony side, but it’s pretty close.  His paint work is all pretty basic, but not bad.  It more or less gets the job done.  The hands are painted, rather than molded with makes them a little thick and devoid of detail, but it’s not terrible.  Blake was originally packed with part of the Bat Signal Collect-N-Connect scene, and that was it.  No character specific extras or anything, which feels kind of lazy.


I really wanted this figure when it was released, as I’d really enjoyed the character in the film, and I’m just generally a fan of Joseph Gordon Levitt as an actor.  Unfortunately, I never actually saw one at retail, nor did I even really see him on the secondary market, even for inflated pricing.  He was just rather uncommon.  I resigned myself to not have the figure, and kind of forgot about him.  That was until the same collection the got me yesterday’s BAT, also had this guy.  Huzzah, finally a John Blake!  Ultimately, he’s not really much to write home about, but he’s probably one of the best Movie Masters Mattel did during their tenure.

#2000: Batman



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.


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.


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.

#0845: Batmen




Batman’s had his fair share of wacky variants over the years. Some are actually pretty cool, and some are really far out there. And then some are just super lazy. Today, I’m going to be looking at one of the super lazy ones (alongside a fairly standard one), courtesy of Mattel’s tie-in line for The Dark Knight Rises.


DKRBats2Batman (and Batman) were part of the “Basic Series” of Mattel’s small-scale The Dark Knight Rises line. These were the cheapest figures available, as they were mostly just recolors of the basic Batman figure. The figures stand 3 ¾ inches tall and have 7 points of articulation. The articulation is kind of odd; the figures lack any sort of elbow movement, which is incredibly limiting. The knees, hips, and shoulders are rather simplistic, but the neck joint is inexplicably a ball joint. Moving past the articulation, the sculpt actually isn’t that bad. It does a pretty good job of capturing the design of the bat-suit from TDK and TDKR, and it actually features a pretty great depth of fine detail work. The head, specifically his exposed mouth, does look a bit weird, like the mask doesn’t fit right, but that’s the only real “down” to the sculpt. The capes are both cloth; they’re just simple scraps of black cloth, cut into vaguely the right shape. Cloth very rarely works well at this scale, and these two show why. The capes are fairly rigid looking, and don’t do anything but hang there awkwardly. The paint is the dividing point for these two. The black one is a fairly standard Batman, looking more or less as he does in the film. He’s not really painted as much as he is molded in the proper colors. The parts that actually use paint are fairly basic, but well applied. The other one has a strange aqua sort of coloring to him, which is, of course, totally made up for the toy. It looks a bit more vibrant than the black one, and it has a few more paint apps, but some areas, such as the face, are a bit sloppier on this one. Neither of these two includes any sort of accessories.


Dark Knight Rises came out well after I’d stopped buying weird Batman re-colors (well…mostly), so I didn’t get either of these figures new. Instead, I actually got these from my girlfriend’s dad, who found them at the super market and thought of me. How kind of him! Can’t say I would have ever gotten them for myself, and one really has to wonder who the heck Mattel was hoping would be buying these, but they actually aren’t that bad.

#0200: Selina Kyle/Catwoman



Wow, looks like I’ve made it to 200 reviews! It seems like just yesterday I was writing my last Hot Toys review for my 150th review. Since this is another milestone review, I’ll be doing another “Deluxe Review.”

It’s another figure produced by Hot Toys, a Hong Kong based toy company known for their very high-end action figures. They have a tendency to pick up the licenses for the various Super Hero movies, and this time around, I’ll be taking a look at Catwoman from their subset of Dark Knight Rises figures.


Selina was released in HT’s Movie Masterpiece line, designated as figure MMS 188. She’s a little under 12 inches tall and features 28 points of articulation (At least, according to Hot Toys. I haven’t undressed the figure to check this, because that seems weird.). She’s based on Selina’s Catwoman look from the film.


The head is a very nice sculpt. HT’s strong suit is usually how close to the actors they look. I’m not sure if Catwoman’s head is a spot on Hatheway likeness, but it’s very close. The paint may also be a contributing factor to the somewhat off likeness. Typically, HT excels at paint, but in Selina’s case, they seem to have done something wrong with the eyes. Maybe the pupils are too small. The hair is not sculpted, but instead is rooted, in a similar fashion to a Barbie doll. Yeah, I know, it even further blurs the line between doll and action figure. However, it was the right call here, because sculpted hair would have severely limited the neck pose-ability and made the removable goggles impossible. Speaking of the goggles: yes, I’m sorry about the lack of sans-goggles pictures. I forgot to take them before putting the goggles on, and I certainly wasn’t going to try to take them back off.


The costume is made up of six pieces: a jumpsuit, a belt, gloves, and boots. The jumpsuit is made of a nice textured cloth, and looks overall accurate to the one from the movie. My one complaint would be that the zipper seems a bit too bulky to be in proper scale. This is unfortunately one of the downfalls of attempting to work in this scale, but I feel it would be better served if they hadn’t actually made it a working zipper. The belt is a nice sculpted piece, and sits appropriately for the character. The gloves are simple slip-over pieces, held in place by the hands. The seam is cleverly hidden in the folds, which helps with making the figure more convincing. The boots are an impressive piece of work, being made of a leather like material, with a set of feet in the bottom, and plastic soles placed to keep the whole thing together. One issue I do have is that the costume does seem to look rather bulky around the torso. It’s not a huge issue, and it can be alleviated with a good pose, but I wish it was a little better.


Selina features a decent assortment of accessories, but not quite as many as some of the previous HT figures I’ve reviewed. They are:

  • Goggles
  • 7 interchangeable hands
  • Hand gun
  • Batman Cowl
  • Display Stand

The goggles are the most important accessory, as they complete Selina’s costumed look. They are a bit difficult to get on the figure, and quite fragile, so take care. Once they’re on the figure, they fit pretty snuggly, and look accurate to the source material. The arms allow you to flip them up out of her face, re-creating her “cat-ear” look from the film. It’s a nice feature, but it does mean that the piece is quite prone to breaking if you aren’t careful.

There are seven hands: two fists, two open gesture, one with a trigger finger, and two gripping. The fists and open gesture allow for a nice selection of basic poses. The trigger finger holds the hand gun pretty tightly, which is nice. The gripping hands were meant to work with the Bat Pod released around the same time. I don’t have it, so they aren’t of much use to me, but they are a nice inclusion nonetheless.

The hand gun is the usual HT fair. Moving parts, removable clip, and crisp details. Not much new here.

The empty Batman cowl was the item included with the release of this figure available exclusively through Sideshow Toy’s website. It’s based on The DKR Batman figure released around the same time. It’s a nice piece, and it is surprisingly sturdy. Not really of much use to Selina, but a great add-in if you have the complimentary Batman.

Lastly, Selina includes a display stand with her name on it. It’s a pretty cool stand, designed to vaguely emulate the early teaser posters featuring the character smashing a batarang under her heel on a rainy surface.


Selina was ordered from Sideshow’s website pretty much as soon as she was up for pre-order. I knew I wanted the figure as soon as I saw the movie, and I definitely wanted the extra Batman cowl to display with my Batman figure. Overall, the figure isn’t perfect, but it’s a good figure overall, and she really looks great when displayed with Batman and Bane.