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Captain Toy/Michael's Review of the Week

Review of Batman, Bruce Wayne - Batman Returns
Sixth Scale Action Figures

Hot Toys
Date Published: 2016-03-14
Written By: Michael Crawford
Overall Average Rating: 3 out of 4

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Batman Returns Batman, Bruce Wayne action figure by Hot Toys

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Introduction

While plenty of people appreciate the original Tim Burton Batman film for it's quality and vision, fewer pay the same respect to the sequel, Batman Returns. I was not a big fan when it was first released, with the exception of Michelle Pfeiffer's Catwoman of course. But as the years went on, and my viewings went up, the film found a place in my heart. It might have been hidden qualities of the screenplay, it might have been nuances of the acting that were not obvious at first, but most likely it was an appreciation developed out of the rubble of the next two atrocities.

Hot Toys already produced a Batman based on the first film. I loved that figure, although the articulation was greatly affected by the suit, much like it was for Michael Keaton on screen. Hot Toys is revisiting the license with an updated suit based on the look of the second film, as well as a Bruce Wayne figure.  The Batman can be had by himself for $220, or you can buy him with the Bruce for around $345. The two pack includes two additional accessories that give you a third possible display option - more on that in a minute.

Click on the image below for a Life Size version
Batman Returns Batman, Bruce Wayne action figure by Hot Toys

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Packaging - ***
The double wide package holds everything safely in a large plastic tray, and of course it's all collector friendly. There's not much in the way of text, and the interior slip card, a staple of Hot Toys packaging now, isn't particularly attractive or interesting. The cover art is a bit better, and they were creative in finding a way to assemble an interesting image with the limited articulation of Batman (more on that later), but overall it's relatively average work for them.

Batman Returns Batman, Bruce Wayne action figure by Hot Toys

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Sculpting - Bruce **1/2; Batman ***1/2
Hot Toys is renowned for their sculpts and paint work - but that sets a very high bar not just for others, but for themselves as well.

Batman, with his sharply cut and defined cowl, lives up to the hype.  I can see Keaton in the lower face plates, and the three mouths actually work well with a variety of poses. There's all the realism and life-like qualities that you expect, and with 80% of the actual face covered by suit, you get a good match to the actor. I particularly love the work around the eyes, which is very hard to see, but is the sort of fine detail that sets a figure like this apart from the pack.

Unfortunately, Bruce doesn't match that level of quality.  He is very life-like, no doubt about that. I like the slight expression, with the pursed lips, arched eyebrows, and squinted eyes, and this sort of design keeps the figure from being too much like a mannequin.  I also love the realism - the finely detailed hair, the textured, wrinkled skin - it all adds up to a super realistic looking figure.

Ah, but then there's that third aspect, that minor quibble - accuracy. And no, it's not a minor quibble - I was being facetious. If you look at this figure from just the right angle, squint your eyes, you might see certain Keaton aspects.  The jawline and mouth are most accurate, and the eyebrows aren't bad...but the overall impression is not of Keaton Batman. He falls short - well short - of my expectations for a portrait from Hot Toys, and I'm probably all the more particular since the Batman characters are so important to me.

Batman Returns Batman, Bruce Wayne action figure by Hot Toys

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Paint - Bruce **1/2; Batman ***1/2
If you've complained that recent Hot Toys portraits are looking kinda tanned, you'll go crazy when you see Bruce.

Batman is nice, with a very realistic skin tone and freckling. The work around the eyes is even more impressive, with a slightly rubbed look to the black that matches the look in the film. The skin tone on the face plates seems a little lighter too, but that may be caused by its proximity to the jet black cowl.

Bruce doesn't get that contrast, and his skin tone is just too dark. It's also a little inconsistent in color, with a darker look below the eye line than above. And I don't mean around the eyes, but the entire lower face seems slightly darker than the forehead. It's still a very realistic paint job, but it fails again in the same way as the sculpt - accuracy.

He also suffers from the over sized paws, which are always more obvious on figures that are wearing suits or other sorts of street clothes.

Batman Returns Batman, Bruce Wayne action figure by Hot Toys

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Articulation - Batman **; Bruce ***1/2
Bruce is on a slender TrueType, and he moves with little restriction or issue. The ball jointed neck, although it's a single joint, works well and allows for plenty of tilt and lean. The tux restricts the shoulders a little, but the elbows and wrists are unencumbered, and the lower body has complete mobility. He can take natural and flowing stances, just as you'd expect with a TrueType.

Batman is not so fortunate, although it shouldn't be surprising considering the restrictive nature of the suit.  It was a little surprising though, because this guy was actually less posable than the first release, if you can believe that.

The neck has no movement at all, because the head snaps on with little room, holding the neck of the cowl tightly over the cape. The shoulders can move upward slightly, but it's the elbows and wrists that will provide most of the arm poses.  The torso, hips, knees, and ankles can move, but snap right back into place thanks to the stiff suit. The instructions claim that the ankles can actually move in and out slightly, but I couldn't get any rocker movement on mine.

Batman's best articulation is his eyeballs.  Yep, he has what I suppose you could call PERS 3.0. The back of the cowl pops off (its held in place with a magnet) to expose the two eye 'stalks'. Each of these can be moved independently of each other, using either your finger (if they are small enough) or the included tool. Since he can't turn his head, being able to look to the left and right does add some realism.  Getting the eyes perfectly lined up can be tricky - I'd like them in person, but then not so much when I saw them in photos - but it's not too frustrating or difficult to get a look you'll be happy with.

This is not a dynamic Batman, and you'll have to find one pose you're happy with and leave it there.  Bruce is much better...but is less likely to be in dynamic fighting stances. Oh, the irony.

Batman Returns Batman, Bruce Wayne action figure by Hot Toys

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Accessories - Bruce **1/2; Batman ****
Batman has a ton of extras, which is ironic, since he can take so few interesting poses with them.  Bruce doesn't fair as well.

While Batman has a lot, several are re-uses from the first release. That covers almost all of the hands, but there's one more this time.  He re-uses the basic 4 sets, including several gripping hands designed to work with specific accessories. But this guy has one more left, sculpted to hold the line launcher. All nine hands swap easily enough, sometimes a bit too easy due to the short posts and long gauntlets.  There's a couple extra posts included, just in case.

Speaking of the launcher, it's one of the cooler new accessories.  The sculpt is quite detailed, right down to the button on top, and you can remove the two hooks and replace them with a second set of hooks, complete with long lines. This gives you a different display option depending on your set up.

Other re-use includes the grappling gun with folding stock and the small remote control. He can hold these in particular hands, or the gun can attach to his belt thanks to a magnet. A new accessory, since it wasn't in the first film, is the signal jammer, which also can attach to the belt via a magnet.  There's only one spot on the belt though where a magnet is in place, so only one of these two accessories can be worn at a time. The button on the signal jammer is also articulated, so you can press it in.

Like the first release, this Batman has three face plates. One has the mouth completely closed, one has the mouth slightly open, and one is showing the upper teeth quite plainly.  You can remove the plate by opening the back of the head and pushing the plate out from behind.

This version includes a high tech batarang with digital read out of the targets, and two small naplam packs.  The final extra for the Batman is his light up base, similar to the bases we saw with the old DX figures. I really like the raised emblem and frosty color scheme on the top of the otherwise black stand.

Bruce doesn't fair as well, as I mentioned. He does have eight hands, from fists to relaxed grips, designed to work with as many poses as possible. They swap easily, and once again, there's a couple extra flesh tone wrist pegs. His only other accessory is a smaller, basic display stand.

Because you bought the two pack, you get two additional extras. This set comes with a torn cowl, which comes in the lower section that can be worn on the figure, and the upper section that was ripped free.  This is the real selling point of the two pack, because it allows you to swap the Keaton head onto the Batman body and have it exposed, just like in the film.  The feature works well, and both pieces look great.

Batman Returns Batman, Bruce Wayne action figure by Hot Toys

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Light Feature - ***
Each figure has a base, as I mentioned earlier.  Batman's is larger, and includes a light feature much like the original release. There are two small lights at the front corners, which will illuminate the front of the figure from below. They don't supply batteries, but the compartment and switch are both easy to get to. 

Batman Returns Batman, Bruce Wayne action figure by Hot Toys

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Outfit - ***1/2
The Batman outfit is designed to match the look from the second Burton film, and is actually less detailed and textured than the first. Without the cape (which is how he comes packed in the box) it's a pretty dull look.

The cape makes the outfit of course, and I like this one much better than the original.  The leather material is very thin, and hangs nicely. There are several thin wires running top to bottom along the various seams, allowing you to assist in the layering and flow, and the edges don't require a hem to ensure they won't ravel. The length is good, and by positioning the cape in different ways under the cowl (you'll have to remove the head and replace it each time), you can get different looks.

The gauntlets, mask, and belt are very hard plastic, so much so that the very tip of the nose, tip of the ears, and tip of the blades on the arms can puncture. You'll want to take a little care when handling him.

Speaking of the belt, it's a re-use from the original costume, but it's well made and the buckle works cleanly.

Bruce is dressed in a flashy tuxedo, with a white shirt, bow tie, jacket, pants, and shoes.  We've seen plenty of figures in suits, but this is one of the very nicest I've ever seen. The buttons on the shirt and jacket, the shiny lapels, the perfect tailoring, all come together to create a suit that looks custom made.

I'm not a huge fan of the bow tie, however. It floats around on the neck and doesn't like staying in place around the collar. When you're swapping heads, pay particular attention to it, since it can fall off and get lost.

Batman Returns Batman, Bruce Wayne action figure by Hot Toys

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Fun Factor - **1/2
There's not a lot of posing and re-posing that you'll do with either of these.  Bruce can do it, but he's not really a character that will need a lot of dynamic looks, and Batman can't do much beyond stand.

Batman Returns Batman, Bruce Wayne action figure by Hot Toys

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Value - ***
Batman by himself can be had for $220, a pretty average price for Hot Toys these days.  He also has a solid set of accessories, making him a decent value at that price. This pair costs $345, making Bruce $125.  While he's very light on the extras, the price is certainly right.  Had they charged $200 for him, they would be getting hit hard in this category, but the combined cost earns them a slightly above average value rating.

Batman Returns Batman, Bruce Wayne action figure by Hot Toys

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Things to Watch Out For -
Not much of anything. I mentioned the sharp points, and you'll want to keep track of the tie when pulling off the Bruce/Keaton head off, but you should be fine otherwise.

Batman Returns Batman, Bruce Wayne action figure by Hot Toys

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Overall - Bruce **1/2; Batman ***1/2
If you skipped the DX Keaton Batman, you've got a second chance, more or less.  PERS? Yep. Lots of accessories? Yep, some of them the same, some very new. Swappable face plates? Yep. This is a DX without the DX logo.  I'm glad I picked him up, even if he isn't as posable as the original, largely because of the new cape and several of the new accessories.

Bruce is a tougher call. He is a big let down in sculpt and paint, and let's be honest - that's critical. Sure, he has a great costume and articulation, and while he doesn't come with much, his super low price reflects that.

Although Bruce gets a poorer score, I have to say that picking up the pair is the way to go. I don't really need just another Burton Batman, because there's just not that much difference.  But a Burton Batman with a Keaton head? Yea, that's the route I'm going in my display, and getting a few more accessories is a bonus. It might not be the best Keaton sculpt in the world, but putting it on the Batman costume makes up for a lot, and if you can pick up a custom Keaton head sculpt, you'll have two Keaton figures.

Score Recap (out of ****):
Packaging - ***
Sculpting - Bruce **1/2; Batman ***1/2
Paint - Bruce **1/2; Batman ***1/2
Articulation - Batman **; Bruce ***1/2
Accessories - Bruce **1/2; Batman ****
Light Feature - Batman ***; Bruce N/A
Outfit - ***1/2
Fun Factor - **1/2
Value - ***
Overall - Bruce **1/2; Batman ***1/2

Batman Returns Batman, Bruce Wayne action figure by Hot Toys

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Where to Buy 
Online options include these site sponsors:

- Sideshow has the pair for $345.

- is at just $328 for the pair.

- doesn't have the pair, but you can get just Batman for $215.

- also has the pair for $345.

- or you can search ebay for a deal.

Related Links -
Hot Toys has already done a 1989 Batman, as well as a regular Nicholson Joker and a mime variant. NECA has also done some cool stuff in the 1/4 scale series, including this Penguin.

You should also hit the Search Reviews page, in case any other applicable reviews were done after this one was published.

Discussion:
Want to chat about this review?  Try out one of these terrific forums where I'll be discussing it!

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Batman Returns Batman, Bruce Wayne action figure by Hot Toys

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This product was purchased for the review by the reviewer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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