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Review of Michael Keaton as Batman - DX09
1989 Movie sixth scale action figure

Hot Toys
Date Published:
Written By:
Overall Average Rating: 4 out of 4

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1989 Batman Michael Keaton action figure by Hot Toys

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Introduction

Every year at the San Diego Comic Con, there is at least one truly stand out item. In 2011, that item for me was actually three - the Keaton Batman, Nicholson Joker, and Batmobile all in sixth scale and all from the 1989 film. Check out the Hot Toys page from my coverage from SDCC coverage, scroll almost all the way to the bottom, and you'll see what I mean.

And of course, these are products of Hot Toys, the company that's been doing up the Batman license mighty fine in the sixth scale format for several years now.

Hot Toys was kind enough to send along an early review sample of the Keaton Batman, which is a DX figure.  That means he has tons of extras and the PERS eyes, or Parallel Eyeball Rolling System. This is the second Batman to get the DX treatment.

Fans have been clamoring for a Keaton version of the caped crusader for years, and the Hot Toys announcement was met with great joy. Hey, at least I was mighty happy, and the fact that we are also getting the uber-cool Batmobile? That's just icing on the cake and bankruptcy on the horizon.

As a DX, this Batman is more expensive than the regular release Hot Toys figure. He's going for $215 - $250 on pre-order right now, depending on the retailer. SRP is $240, I believe, but I suspect that once this first batch sells out, prices on ebay will get a tad nuts.

Click on the image below for a Life Size version
1989 Batman Michael Keaton action figure by Hot Toys

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Packaging - ****
Like other DX figures, such as Superman or Bruce Lee, the Bats box is large with several foam layers. Each layer is designed to keep the figure and accessories very safe, and it's all completely collector friendly, with no need to damage anything when removing the figure.

It's a great box, but that almost goes without saying. There's an extra here though - on the very first layer there is a circular disc with the bat symbol in the center. The idea s to hold this disc in front of a flash light (although a wider bright light seems to work a bit better) and shine the bat symbol on the wall. How cool is that!

Another cool touch is how they've packed the two additional lower faces. They've used vacuum formed cowls, so that it looks like there's actually three heads in the box, not just pieces of the face. That's the sort of presentation that sets Hot Toys packaging apart these days.

1989 Batman Michael Keaton action figure by Hot Toys

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Sculpting - ****
This is Michael Keaton in the cowl, and there's no doubt about that. The chin and lips are dead on, and there's not one but three versions to choose from.

I've included close ups of all three, and swapped them around in the other photos as well. The first photo is the closed serious mouth that he comes wearing, while the second close up shows the bleeding open mouth, and the third shows the slightly open mouth showing just a hint of teeth.

These sport the uber-realistic skin texture and color that we expect from Hot Toys. They swap easily, popping off with a light squeeze. They are held in place with a magnet, and it works extremely well. 

1989 Batman Michael Keaton action figure by Hot Toys

Only the lower face swaps - the cowl is sculpted and permanently attached over the underlying eyes. Even so, the eyes are properly set deep in the mask, and the inside of the face is clearly a separate piece from the overall cowl. This adds to the realism even more.

Just like in the first film, the cowl flows into the neck and shoulders. It can pop off the neck in one piece to allow you to easily put the cape on. The long ears are thick and solid, and the shape of the eyes and nose are sharply defined.

The hand sculpts are designed to work with the various accessories and lots of poses, and are properly scaled to the overall body.

1989 Batman Michael Keaton action figure by Hot Toys

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Paint - ****
While we've seen Hot Toys do some amazing things with production paint work, it still astounds me how realistic and lifelike their figures are.

They eyes are glassy and scary real, and the skin tone is perfect. Remember, Keaton - Bruce Wayne - wore black makeup around his eyes to allow his face and mask to blend together. Here, they've pulled that off in marvelous style. Instead of doing it deep black, or light black, they've captured a look that actually appears to be makeup, with the skin slightly coming through around the lids.

They lower face with the open mouth has a dribble of blood, and this is one area where they don't always quite manage to get it right. Blood is tough to do, even for Hot Toys, but this is one of their better examples. It's the right color, and there is just enough to make the point without being over done.

1989 Batman Michael Keaton action figure by Hot Toys

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Articulation - ***1/2
The body suit and cowl are very restrictive - there's a reason Batman got an update to his duds on screen.  It's only to be expected that you won't be able to lift the arms very high or turn the head.

I mentioned earlier that this is also a PERS figure, as all DX figures are. With the restricted solid neck of the cowl, I found the PERS eyes to be invaluable. You can use them to help give the head some indication of direction when posing the figure, overcoming a bit of the limited neck articulation.

The PERS works pretty easily - the back of the head is held in place with a magnet. Pop it off and you'll find an itty bitty joystick. Move it side to side, up and down, and the eyes follow. Be careful of course, because it IS possible to break the system (I managed to eventually break the PERS on my DX Joker), but the quality and construction has clearly improved since the DX01.

The body has all the usual TrueType articulation, but as I mentioned the suit tends to reduce his ability to get extreme. You should be able to find some poses you like though, and let's face it - the real suit was probably just as restrictive.

The hands swap as usual, and do it quite smoothly. I didn't have any trouble, and never felt as though a wrist might break, but Hot Toys does include a couple extras just in case.

The cape has a very - and I do mean very - thin wire in the edge. In fact, I wasn't sure it was there for at first, thinking that perhaps I was just imagining it. But after playing with the cape awhile, it became pretty obvious that it did exist, and was pretty useful too.

1989 Batman Michael Keaton action figure by Hot Toys

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Accessories - ***1/2
While he's pretty well outfitted, he does seem a little light to me for a $200 DX.

I already mentioned the three separate lower faces, which is a great way to handle this sort of figure. A Keaton head would have been a nice addition, however, and I'm a bit disappointed that we haven't gotten one...yet.

I also mentioned the 3 pairs of additional hands designed to work with different accessories and poses.

One of those hands is an open splayed left hand. There's a 'palm shield' that goes nicely with this hand, slipping inside the gauntlet below.

1989 Batman Michael Keaton action figure by Hot Toys

There's also two of the small ninja star weapons, as well as one large batarang with a string leading back to a metal eyelet.

The standard grappling gun comes in two parts - the back half has a folding handle, while the front half has the small hook. These two pieces can attach to the utility belt as well as attach together. To hook them to the belt, you first attach a 'hanger' for the hook section. The handle of the grappling gun holds to the belt with a magnet - I've included a close up. This magnet doesn't work as well as either the one holding the head together or the one holding the face in place, so keep that in mind when moving the figure around. You wouldn't want it to drop off and not know where.

Batman also has his bat-remote, or remote radio. This is a very small accessory, but includes the bat-button sculpted on the surface, and can fit perfectly in one of the extra hands.

1989 Batman Michael Keaton action figure by Hot Toys

The silver doohickey you see in the accessories photo is the timer bomb, and it has a very detailed sculpt. There's also three extra syringe-like smoke capsules, very tiny but very well done. There's also gauntlet attachment that fired the zip line in the film. It fits over the arm, and the permanently attached spikes move inward and out, from full forward to full sideways. You can see this accessory in this video at the 55 second mark. Very cool! Thanks to reader Anthony for sending along that info.

Okay, so maybe I was a little harsh when I said there weren't a lot of accessories. 

There are two short plastic rods included as well. These are supposed to slip inside two holes on the edge of the cape, and he can then hold them to bring the cape up to its full wing span.

Only one problem - the holes weren't completely cut through on mine. I had to finish the job with a small knife, but once I did they worked great. If the arms could rise up a little higher it would work even better, but the suit restricts it a bit too much for that.

Finally, there's the usual light up base that comes with any DX these days. It has the Batman logo and name, and adds some consistency for folks that like the look. You'll have to supply the batters, three triple A's.

1989 Batman Michael Keaton action figure by Hot Toys

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1989 Batman Michael Keaton action figure by Hot Toys

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Outfit - ****
There's one question everyone is going to have about this costume - is the rubber suit going to disintegrate?

Let's get to that in a minute. Instead, let's start with the other aspects of the costume.

I've gone over the cowl in detail, but the cape deserves plenty of discussion as well. The outer material feels like very thin leather, and it flows and folds beautifully. The inner lining is a softer nylon, and the stitching between the two is very high quality.

The hard boots look great as well, with a detailed sculpt and clean paint work.

1989 Batman Michael Keaton action figure by Hot Toys

The soft gauntlets have hard, sharp plastic blades, attached cleanly. They look great, but take a little care that you don't break the sharp tips or pop the blades off the softer gauntlets.

The belt is a harder plastic, just soft enough to bend around his body. You can only attach the grappling gun, but it has that cool old school design reminiscent of the early versions. It ships with some black paper underneath to keep it separated from the body suit which you can remove for display.

So what about that suit? It's a great sculpt, with a clean black color. And it's not rubber, at least not like some of the previous suits and pieces that have had trouble. It feels more like a dry vinyl for want of a better description. It actually feels dry - there's no greasy surface or texture. It's obviously not the same material, so I'm betting this is Hot Toys answer to the problems we've seen previously. Whether or not this will fix the issue, well, only time will tell, but I have my fingers crossed.

1989 Batman Michael Keaton action figure by Hot Toys

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Fun Factor - ***
While this isn't a figure designed for children, it does start with the DNA of those very toys. Hot Toys might have taken that basic premise and made it an art form, but it's still based on that simple idea.

1989 Batman Michael Keaton action figure by Hot Toys

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Value - **1/2
Hot Toys DX figures cost $200+ these days. While that's not cheap, at least they end up some of the very best figures on the market. You aren't going to feel like you got a deal with this figure, but I remember when the Toys McCoy Indiana Jones first came out and cost almost $300 - and that seemed reasonable. The DX figures are so far past what used to be considered 'high end' that they are redefining the term.

1989 Batman Michael Keaton action figure by Hot Toys

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Things to Watch Out For -
I didn't have any issues with mine, but there are some areas where you'll want to take extra care.

As I mentioned, the holes on the cape weren't cut through on mine, but you can manage it if you're very careful. Hopefully mine was a fluke in this regard.

I also wouldn't remove the belt if you don't have too. I'm not sure if you're supposed to or not, although there is some paper between the belt and suit designed to keep them apart in storage and shipping that you'll want to remove for display. I took mine off, but found it difficult to keep it in place after I did. Save yourself the trouble, since you can attach the grappling hook pieces to the belt without removing it.

1989 Batman Michael Keaton action figure by Hot Toys

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Overall - ****
It's two weeks into 2012, and yet I think I might already have my favorite figure of the year. Then again, we still have the Nicholson Joker coming out later this year - it's a great time to be a sixth scale collector!

This is an amazing figure, with an outstanding head sculpt, swappable faces, great extras, excellent costume - what more could I possibly want? Sure, it would be even better if it was cheaper, but the reality is that DX figures are going to stay at this price point for awhile.

With the Nicholson Joker coming out, as well as the huge sixth scale Batmobile from the 1989 film, it's going to be an amazing year for Batman fans. We haven't seen yet what Hot Toys has planned for The Dark Knight Rises, but one can only assume that they'll be doing it up serious. I for one can't wait - bring it on!

I included a ton of photos this time around to get as many accessories covered as possible. Be sure to scroll all the way down, especially to the last photo to see the cape fully extended.

Score Recap (out of ****):
Packaging - ****
Sculpting - ****
Paint - ****
Articulation - ***1/2
Accessories - ***1/2
Outfit - ****
Fun Factor - ***
Value - **1/2
Overall - ****

1989 Batman Michael Keaton action figure by Hot Toys

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Where to Buy 
Online options include these site sponsors:

- Sideshow has him at $240, but they don't have any sort of exclusive extra.

- has a great price at $215.

- comes in at $225.

- has the pre-order at $228.

- or you can search ebay for a deal.

Related Links -
Hot Toys has produced some exceptional Batman related figures and vehicles:

- this year they released the exclusive Bruce Wayne/Batman figure, as well as the Demon Bats/Scarecrow set.

- as I said, this isn't the first DX Batman, and I have a guest review of the DX02 from a couple years ago.

- there's the exceptionally cool Tumbler and Bat-pod, two of the nicest sixth scale vehicles ever produced.

- other figures include Two Face/Harvey Dent, the Bank Robber Joker, original Joker, original Batman and new suit Batman.

- I also checked out their busts of both Batman and Joker.

- and they might not be what you think of when you think "Batman" and "Hot Toys", but don't neglect to check out the Cosbabies!

- the DX01 Joker was so cool I broke it into two reviews, one looking at the regular figure and one looking at the cop variant.

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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1989 Batman Michael Keaton action figure by Hot Toys

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This product was provided for the review by the manufacturer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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