#1500: The Joker

JOKER

THE DARK KNIGHT (HOT TOYS)

And another hundred reviews have passed.  Would you believe I only barely remember writing #1400?  It’s been a real whirlwind of a year, let me tell you.  As is the case with all of my “monumental” reviews, I’ll be taking a look at a higher end item, courtesy of out friends at Hot Toys.  These reviews are frequently from the MCU, which makes up a sizable portion of my Hot Toys collection, but today I’m flipping over to their distinguished competition and taking a look at another figure from the widely successful The Dark Knight (which, coincidentally, was released the same summer that the MCU was launched with Iron Man).  So, without further ado, here’s The Joker!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Joker was released as part of Hot Toys’ long-running Movie Masterpiece Series line.  He was entry 68 in the line, placing him between the Original Costume Batman and the Tumbler.  He and both surrounding releases are, of course, from The Dark Knight, and this Joker represents the character as he looks for the majority of the film’s run time…more or less.  I’ll get to that. Joker stands about 11 3/4 inches tall and has over 30 points of articulation.

First up, let’s look at the headsculpt.  Right up front, this is the weakest part of the figure.  It’s not that it’s a *bad* sculpt, necessarily, but more that it’s highly inaccurate.  Look at that head.  Does it look at all like Heath Ledger?  No it does not, and that’s what makes reviewing it difficult.  See, it’s still a very strong, realistic sculpt, on par with HT’s best from a purely technical standpoint.  He totally looks like a real dude, just not the real dude who played the part in the movie.  Quite frankly, the sculpt isn’t even a half bad Joker.  I actually quite like it.  But it’s not Heath Ledger.  Even the paint sort of follows this trend.  It’s good technically, but for a Dark Knight Joker, it’s a little too clean and consistent.  If I had a guess, I’d say this whole head was largely assembled with early materials that didn’t quite represent Joker’s final look.

Joker’s outfit is made up of a shirt, tie, vest, pants, socks, sport coat, and over coat, as well as a pair of sculpted shoes.  The overcoat is probably the weakest piece.  Like the head, it’s not bad, just a little inaccurate.  It’s got the same basic look, but the specifics are a little off.  The rest of the parts are fairly decent, accurate, and generally well-tailored to the body.  His vest is a bit hard to keep closed, due to some iffy velcro.  I think snaps might have been better.  It’s worth noting that the belt is actually a superfluous piece, since he doesn’t have one in the movie, but you can remove it easily enough, and then there’s no issue.  The prints on the shirt and pants are quite impressive, and I particularly like the funky socks, a detail that most will never see.

Older HT offerings were a bit lighter than later ones.  Joker is one of the lightest in my entire collection, but he does still include two pairs of hands (one set for poses and one set for holding accessories), a deck of 13 unique Joker cards, a switch blade, and a standard black display stand with his same and the movie’s logo.  It’s not a huge selection, but it covers the basics.  Later releases offered other just about any extras you could want for a Dark Knight Joker, so there are options out there.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Joker has the distinction of being my very first Hot Toys figure, and easily one of the most difficult times I’ve had acquiring one of them.  I asked for him for Christmas the year they were released, and my parents ordered him, nut he just kept getting pushed back over and over, to the paint that I just gave up completely and ended up asking for a couple of Sideshow Star Wars figures instead.  I tried again the next year, and I finally got him that time, thus beginning my lengthy obsession with Hot Toys figures.  This figure’s started showing his age, especially in light of later Joker figures, but I still really like him, and except him for what he is.

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#0800: Two-Face/Harvey Dent

TWO-FACE/ HARVEY DENT

THE DARK KNIGHT (HOT TOYS)

TwoFaceHT1

Wow, it’s kind of a big day here. I’ve actually managed to write 800 of these things, AND it’s the last day of 2015. How about that. Well, let’s close out the year in style, with another Figure In Question “deluxe review!”

I’ve got quite a large selection of Hot Toys figures, and the vast majority are based on various Marvel Studios properties. However, the property that actually got me into the realm of high-end collecting was their rather impressive selection of figures from The Dark Knight. Wait, didn’t I just talk about how I only thought Dark Knight was okay, not great? Why, then, would I start shelling out the big bucks on figures from said movie? What can I say? My buying habits are an enigma! While everyone always praises Heath Ledger’s performance as the Joker, I’ve always found that one of the unsung parts of the film is Aaron Eckhart’s turn as Gotham District Attorney Harvey Dent, known in the comics as Two-Face.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

TwoFaceHT2Harvey Dent/Two-Face was released as part of HT’s Movie Masterpiece Series, as number 81 in the line. He’s the fifth figure from the Dark Knight sub-set, after Begins-style Batman, Joker, Dark Knight Batman, and Bank Robber Joker (and, if you count the Tumbler and the Bat-Pod, he’s the seventh Dark Knight item to carry the MMS label). Two-Face stands about 11 ½ inches tall, placing him at a height just below Batman and Joker. Going by the actor’s heights, this isn’t too far off. Going by the solicitation for the figure, he has “over 30 points of articulation,” which is the best count you’ll get barring actually stripping the figure down to count the joints (which I won’t be doing). Harvey is based on his appearance in the last half or so of the film, from right before his capture by the Joker, up through the end of the film.

Appropriately for a character such as Two-Face, this figure includes a pair of head sculpts. The first is based on his scarred look from the last third of the film, which is his more distinctive “Two-Face” look. The right half of the face is a very good likeness of Eckhart, looking rather intense and angry. The texturing on the face is a little softer than a TwoFaceHT3lot of other HT figures, but it’s actually fairly realistic, and helps to further highlight the differences between the two sides. The hair is very finely detailed, and a pretty good match for the look from the film, if perhaps a bit too neat and tidy. The left side of the face is a fairly impressive sculpt purely from an aesthetic stand point, however it has a number of inaccuracies, particularly around the nose and chin. Given how closely the figure was released to the film, one assumes a certain degree of this has to do with the final look from the film changing from preliminary designs. The overall effect really isn’t bad, though, and the sculpt truly is a nice piece of work. The second head presents a pre-accident Harvey. While you might think that the two sculpts would be more or less the same on the right side, this doesn’t appear to be the case. They’re certainly similar, but there are a few differences. The hair is (unsurprisingly) parted a slightly different way, and the general demeanor of the face is less intense. While this is in keeping with the character from this point in the film, the end result is a sculpt that I don’t feel has as strong a likeness as the scarred head. Nevertheless, the sculpt is still a very nice piece. Both heads sport some excellent paintwork, in keeping with the usual work from Hot Toys, and they both showcase incredible realism.

Harvey’s outfit is made up of seven different pieces. He has a jacket and dress pants, a tie, button down shirt, belt, and sculpted shoes. The jacket is probably the weakest piece here. The tailoring isn’t terrible, but it’s a little bunchy and oversized. To replicate the burnt nature of the left side of the jacket, it’s been coated in a rubbery sort of material. While this is nice in theory, and perhaps the most plausible way of creating the look in a mass-TwoFaceHT5produced sense, it only further bulks up the jacket, and makes Two-Face look a little flabby. The tie is oddly plastic-y, but it looks reasonable enough and does a pretty fair job of replicating the look. The shirt, pants, and belt are all pretty nicely tailored and serve their purposes pretty well. The shoes are a fairly often used piece, but they fit the part and are quite well sculpted.

Harvey is an older HT figure, so he has less extras than some other figures, but he does still have a few. He includes:

  • 2 pairs of hands
  • An extra jacket
  • 2 coins
  • Campaign button
  • Revolver
  • Display stand

The hands come with one relaxed pair, plus a right hand for holding the gun and a left hand for holding either a coin or the campaign button. Both sets of hands are pretty well sculpted, and decently sculpted, though the thumb on the left hand has a somewhat visible seam on it.

The extra jacket is the same as the regular jacket, but without the rubber coating for the burnt side. The tailoring could still use a bit of work, but it’s a better piece overall than the other coat.

TwoFaceHT4The two coins are actually the same piece twice. It’s supposed to represent Harvey’s lucky double-sided coin. In the film, the piece is scarred in the accident that scars Harvey’s face. The coin here is small enough that it’s not really clear which version of the coin it’s supposed to be.

The campaign button is one of the ones worn by various characters in the film, which says “I believe in Harvey Dent.” It’s well scaled and well painted, resulting in a very faithful piece.

The revolver is a fairly standard piece. It’s nicely sculpted and scaled. The cartridge swings out and can be removed, which is a nice touch.

Last up is the display stand, which is just the standard piece, which “Two-Face/Harvey Dent” printed on the front, as well as the logo from Dark Knight at the center.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Two-Face was my second Hot Toys figure. After getting Joker, I wanted to have a companion figure, so my parents offered to chip in half the price of the figure as part of my Christmas gift for that year. Though the figure might be worth a small fortune now, I actually got him for well below retail, since nobody seemed to want him at the time. While he’s not the greatest offering HT ever put out, and I don’t really think he warrants the high prices he goes for now, he’s a pretty solid figure, and I’m certainly glad to have him.

#0796: The Joker

THE JOKER

THE DARK KNIGHT (NECA)

LedgerJoker1

Yesterday, we looked at a figure from 1979’s Superman: The Movie. Today, we jump to pretty much the exact opposite side of the “super hero” movie spectrum, with 2008’s The Dark Knight. It’s lauded by many fans as one of the greatest comic book films of all time. You guys ready for some blasphemy? I think The Dark Knight is just an alright movie. Like, it’s not bad, or anything, and there are some moments of it that I really quite like, but as a whole, I just found it to be rather middling. Guess gritty realism just isn’t high on my list of things I want from my super hero movies. However, the movie did give us Heath Ledger’s extraordinarily memorable turn in the role of the Joker. Ledger’s Joker has received his fair share of toys, including NECA’s pretty sweet 18 inch figure. He’s gotten one more figure from NECA, in their more usual 7-inch scale, which I’ll be looking at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

LedgerJoker2Joker is the last of the three figures offered in this year’s DVD-based partnership between NECA and Warner Brothers. He was available in Warner Brothers’ eBay store in a DVD bundle, as well as at select Toys R Us stores. The figure stands just over 7 inches tall and has 24 points of articulation. Like the other two figures in this set, Joker is a scaled down version of NECA’s 18-inch figure. The sculpt is really a great translation of Ledger’s appearance in the movie. His clothing is constructed through a number of add-on pieces atop an underlying body, which results in a really authentic layered look. Each level has a bunch of texturing and fine detailing work, which really sells the realism of the clothing. The chain of his pocket watch is an actual metal chain, which can be a slight pain while posing, but is a really nice touch. The head is made up of two parts, with the main head being one piece and the hair being separate. The face has a passable likeness to Ledger; it’s not 100% him, but it’s clear who he’s supposed to be. The hair is a rubber-like material, and it does a decent job of capturing Ledger’s hair. It’s a little bunchy and thick in a few areas, but that’s forgivable in this scale, and the overall look is good. Batman had some spectacular paint work, and Superman had passable paintwork, so how does Joker measure up? Well, I think he falls somewhere between the two. The overall look is really great, and the general application is pretty clean. The detail work on his shirt and tie is really great, and the washes and such used to highlight the sculpt are mostly pretty good. There’s a small degree of slop around the collars of the jackets, and the coverage of the darker wash on the legs is a little spotty, but that’s about it. The Joker includes a knife, a handgun, and a machine gun, which is a pretty decent assortment of extras.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I missed my local TRU’s shipment of Jokers. Given my only moderate fandom of the movie, I wasn’t super bummed about this or anything, since I wasn’t 100% sold on getting the figure to begin with. Ledger’s Joker was a good performance, but appearance-wise, I don’t quite put him on the same level as Reeve and West in their roles. However, when I found Superman, there was also a fresh stock of Joker figures, and I liked the figure enough in person to pick him up. He’s definitely a solid figure, and I like how he turned out. Glad I found him!

LedgerJoker3