Welcome back for another action figure review. Today, Dan's ToyBox is taking a closer look at the McFarlane Toys DC Multiverse "The Batman" movie action figure. I will say that I've not yet gone to see the movie, but everything I'm hearing tells me this is a really good film. Hopefully it will make up for the shortcomings that this figure possesses. So, for now, let's take that deep dive into the plastic version of Robert Pattinson's Batman!
We all know how Bruce Wayne* came to be Batman*, so rather than the typical synopsis, allow me to share with you the movie synopsis, as printed on the back of the Data File card show above: "The Batman is two years into his role as Gotham's* embodiment of vengeance - a nocturnal vigilante who strikes fear in the hearts of criminals. A reclusive scion of Gotham's richest family questioning his family's legacy. The World's Greatest Detective* stalks the streets at night employing a lethal combination of mental mastery, physical strength and expert technology on his journey to becoming the City's symbol of hope." *Credit to McFarlane Toys for the information printed on the included card. All Batman related terms are trademark of DC Comics.
Well... now that we've cleared up that bit of information, what can we say about McFarlane Toys latest offering in the DC line? As avid readers of this column know, we measure the figure based on Accessories, Appearance, and Articulation, after which I'll discuss the cost of the figure and after taking all of the above into consideration give the figure an overall rating on the "Toybox Scale" One (1) being..."Nope, I don't want to keep that in my toybox" to Five (5) being..."That's a MUST HAVE toy!!!" How does the McFarlane Toys DC Multiverse "The Batman" action figure stand under this scrutiny?
"For my next trick, I'll make the Bat-Grapnel magically appear"
As far as our first A... Accessories is concerned, this figure is definitely lacking. The Batman comes with a grapnel launcher, the black disc display stand, and a collectible card. The card is actually pretty neat, with a CG display of the figure using the grapnel to ascend up the middle of a circular staircase and the back side as the aforementioned "Data File" information which I shared at the beginning of this review. The black display peg disc has the DC logo and not much else. The peg can port into holes in the bottom of either of Batman's boots. Lastly, included, is his trusty grapnel gun and this is part one of my disappointment with the figure. The grapnel has a peg on one side, which ports directly into a hole in Batman's right, flat, hand. He actually cannot hold the grapnel in the other, fisted/grasping style hand (which looks more like he's ready to grab a hot cup of coffee... but I digress.) The plastic used to make the grapnel is somewhat flimsy and I actually bent the gun trying to port it into his fist. Thankfully a quick heat up with the hair dryer allowed me to get it back into shape. The sculpt on the grapnel is done fairly well, for such a small object, but overall, these are disappointing accessories, and the design of the character hand makes for an awkward looking display. (Granted, I don't know how he used the grapnel in the movie yet and perhaps it deployed from his wrist, making this accurate?) But that being said, I feel this is lazy toy-making. The Batman doesn't come close to earning an A for Accessories.
Ok, so though I'm not terribly impressed with the accessories, I will admit, McFarlane Toys can sculpt with the best of them. I do not own many McFarlane figures (aside from this, I have the first Superman and the first Flash and none else.) Mainly because I do try to limit my collecting to specific lines, with the occasional "one off" purchase. With that in mind, when I first saw this figure, I was immediately drawn to the look and figured that it would be a fun addition to the collection. I am willing to give McFarlane props where they are due and the overall look and sculpt of this figure is top notch... with one notable exception. (I'll get to that momentarily...to let the suspense build!) The only splashes of color on this figure are the flesh tones used for his jaw and lips and the silver on the darts on his wrist bracers. Other than that, the costume is in a deep gray, with both glossy and matte black highlights. His cowl, boots, and utility belt are a rich gloss black, while the bat emblem, shoulder pauldrons and his gloves are a matte black. The rest of the costume is a charcoal gray which actually helps emphasize the black pieces. The paint applications are very neatly applied with no slop at all around the cowl/jawline. Even his lips have a touch of color to them, giving him a lifelike appearance. My only real problem with the paint applications come when you look at his eyes. Evidently, this Batman is a big fan of the old "side eye." On this figure, his eyes are pointed toward his left side, which makes him look silly when posed with his right arm outstretched with the grapnel. A friend sent me a picture of the Unmasked Bruce, in costume and the eyes are looking in the opposite direction. Not sure what the point of it is, but it's a major detraction for me, especially when posing this figure for a specific look.
"What's over there?!?"
Aside from the eye issue, the only other paint problem I had was the silver on the wrist darts looked to be unevenly applied, with more black showing through than I'd have liked. Now, on to the best part of this figure's appearance...the SCULPTWORK. I have to confess, the amount of detail from the cowl stitching down to the wrinkles is incredible. This is what McFarlane does best. If I've nothing better to say about the company, the one opinion that I will always be vocal about is that they really know how to turn out good looking figures. I had some of the first ever McFarlane Spawn figures and was just blown away by the amount of detail packed into them... now, many years later, the level of intricacy continues to impress. Even down to seeing Bruce's nostrils under the cowl is really detail attentive. There are so many lines on this figure from the costume design to the belt and even the neck piece, covered mostly by the cape. The cape itself is also attached to the figure on the back and looks very sharp draped the way it's designed. The eye to accuracy on this design is exceptional. So, "side eyes" notwithstanding, I will happily give this figure an A for Appearance.
While there are great examples of articulation on this figure, it's not without limitations. I have mixed feelings on how well this figure moves, so I'll let you be the judge based on my feedback here. Starting at the head... he can turn from side to side, but there is little upward tilt and really no forward/downward movement to speak of. Even the side to side motion is a bit hindered by the high collar around his neck. His shoulder pauldrons are attached to the shoulders which highly limits T-Posing. Additionally, the sculpted cape will provide a bit of hindrance. Both arms can rotate a full 360 degrees, which was a surprise and with a little finagling, can be positioned to get the arms outstretched to the sides. He has a very limited rotation at the upper arm and a relatively useless butterfly joint at the shoulders. Both elbows are double jointed and can actually bend in quite deep, which helps when he wants to sip his coffee. The wrists are on balls but only seem to hinge in the "dice throwing" motion. In fact, my fist/grasping hand doesn't even seem to rotate, while the flat hand can do so, though limited. Batman's upper torso sits on what I'm guessing is a ball joint. This allows for rotation and great side to side tilt. Unfortunately, his forward and backward crunch movement is severely limited by the sculpt... a consistent issue I've noticed on other McFarlane DC figures (both in reviews and on the other two I own.) There is no waist swivel for this figure. However, now we can talk about what I think is the best part of articulation on the Batman. His leg articulation is superlative! He can do a great split, as shown in the picture above, which allows for huge kicking poses. His legs can kick forward very well, though not as far back. He has a hidden upper thigh swivel with limited outward/inward movement. His knees are double jointed and can bend in very tightly and his ankles do have some limited upward and downward motion (mainly due to sculpting.) They will also rotate and he has really good toe articulation. I feel like there is just not enough though, to give him the A for Articulation, sadly.
Overall, I really feel that the redeeming grace to this figure is the overall appearance, but even with that... the awful "side eye" and the ridiculous hand hole for pegging in his grapnel are just disappointing. McFarlane has been making toys long enough that the articulation engineering shouldn't be this difficult to figure out and even with the sculpting design, I'm sure they could figure out a better way to give their figures good abdomen/diaphragm crunch. This figure is currently selling, in the big box stores and at online retail outlets, for a price point of about $20, which makes it reasonable when considering scaling and size. However, I will admit that, personally, I was disappointed when I initially opened this figure and began messing around with it. Sadly the closer I inspected it, the less enthused I was. In fact, I had both Dr. Strange and Wong in hand from the Legends M.o.M. wave and decided to put them back and only buy one figure... being this one. I will give the McFarlane Toys DC Multiverse "The Batman" movie action figure 2.75 toyboxes out of 5, based solely on the beautiful sculpt and design work. "Side eyes, indeed..."
Thank you, as always, for stopping by the ToyBox and until next time... GEEK OUT!!!!