If you're looking for side by side's with the Batman Begins Action Cape
Batman, give it up. At least in my review. I've got him around here
someplace, but damn if I can find him. I did pull one of the old photos
from my previous review to fake a side by side though, and I'll be
discussing where the two are different when appropriate.
Whether you're a fan or not, you have to admit that this new costume is
more detailed than the previoius version. The sculpting here reflects
that, with a much more textured and detailed surface. The head sculpt
is a reasonable facsimile of Bale and is only slightly oversized. I can
live with that since it allows for the improved neck joint. The body is
a little skinny as well, as is often the case with sculpted costumes,
but it's another only minor annoyance.
He stands about 13" tall, making him too big to fit in with most other
DC lines with the possible exception of the DCD Deluxe figures. Of
course, he doesn't fit in with them with the sculpted vs cloth outfits,
but such is life. Poor Bats will just have to hang out with his cousin,
and with the Superman Returns figure Mattel did for the movie.
Perhaps the biggest issue for his sculpt is the big pack on his back,
designed to house and operate the actual action cape. If you're a kid,
you probably won't have much issue with this, but adult collectors may
find it visually distracting. I'll talk about this more as part of the
Action Features section.
It's also worth noting that while I'm not positive, I highly suspect that
Batman wears just such a backpack in the film. There's a kid's costume
that has this exact backpack/wing assembly, and I'm betting the reason
there's more than one use is that it is right out of the film.
Paint - ***
There's not a ton of paint here, with most of the figure cast in the
color you see. The hands and cowl black doesn't quite match up with the
more glossy body, which is probably the major issue. The quality of
what few paint ops and cut lines there are is pretty decent, and very
much a standard mass market job.
Articulation - **1/2
The articulation was actually a bit surprising, but unfortunately,
because of the action feature there's less here than with the previous
He does have the ball jointed neck, and it has a pretty good range of
movement. He also has the pin elbows, knees and ankles (the ankles are
even the 'clicky' style, so they are stiffer), but that's where the
He has cut wrists (instead of the pin wrists of the BB version), and
lacks the cut biceps, thighs and ankles. There's no rocker movement in
the ankle, no waist joint (the BB version lacked one as well), and the
shoulders are not ball joints, but merely cut joints. These cuts are
further restricted by an action feature with not one shoulder but both.
Finally, the switched the hips to the same style joint that the smaller
DCUC figures have. While this isn't a ball per se, it does allow for
quite a bit of movement forward/backward and inward/outward.
There's still enough articulation here to get a couple decent poses out
of him, but it's not the outstanding surprise that the first AC Bats
Accessories - **
You get one rather limp and rubbery batarang. I'm not surprised it's
rather soft, since it is supposed to be thrown by the right arm, but
somehow that doesn't make it any less lame.
Action Features - ***1/2
There are two action features, one being mediocre and the other outstanding. Who would have thunk it?
The mediocre feature is his batarang throwing arm. Place the soft
rubber batarang in his right hand, pull the arm upward (but not too
far!), and let it snap back forward with a spring action. This will
fling the batarang half heartedly at the cat, annoying him and getting
you yelled at by your wife. If the cat had required medical treatment
and I was sleeping on the couch, THAT would be a real batarang throwing
The second action feature uses the left arm, and is the reason he's
called 'action cape' Batman. The cape is designed more like wings this
time than a traditional cape, and is made from a tougher nylon
material. There is a thin plastic frame along the top edge, running all
the way to the very tip of each wing. These wings fold up into a sort
of pack on his back, and when the button is pushed on his belly - BAM!
- his wings snap out in a rather impressive fashion.
Now, while the snapping out part is cool and all, what actually
impresses me the most is how they go IN the backpack, rather than out.
If you had to try to stuff this large, spidery cape into that backpack
by hand, you would go nuts. But you don't have to! His left arm works
like a crank, and as you turn it the entire cape folds up neat as can
be and is retracted right into the pack. And it works very smoothly!
You can actually get slightly different looks with the wings buy taking
them in a turn or two as well. It brings them up a little higher and a
little tighter to the body.
The one problem is that it doesn't quite *all* go into the pack. The
two tips of the wings stick out, sort of like a little tail, and I
couldn't find anyway to correct this and still get the mechanism to
work. Tucking them into the pack causes them to hang up, and the wings
won't pop out cleanly. Yea, that's a tad annoying, but I was really
impressed by how well the mechanics of retracting and releasing the
cape worked, especially for a $20 toy. Nice engineering work, Mattel!
Fun Factor - ***1/2
This is a toy, and as one it works surprisingly well. I'm usually not a
fan of action features, particularly action features that restrict the
posing and movement of the joints. But the 'action cape' is one of the
coolest mechanical featuers I've seen in a long time, and one that kids
will actually enjoy.
Value - ***
When the first AC Bats was out three years ago, he scored a full star
less than this, and cost a few bucks less as well. But prices have
jumped tremendously since then, and with the release of the $30 DC
figures from Mattel, expectations have been set that 12" superheroes
cost more. Considering the huge jump, the fact that you can still get
this guy pretty close to $20 is actually a reasonably good value.
Things to Watch Out For -
Not much. I've been cranking on both action features for a few days now, and no breakage yet.
Overall - ***
Interestingly enough, he gets the same score as his cousin. However,
there are two main differences - his articulation is much weaker, but
his improved action feature makes up for it.
Now, if you're looking for a collector version, this probably isn't it
unless you like the look with the cape extended. WIth the cape
retracted, the back pack and tail look fairly silly, and unlike the
first version, there's nothing you can really do about that. But this
is a toy first, collectible second, and I'm grading it on that basis.
Mattel supposedly has a 12" line of figures hitting stores for the Dark
Knight as well (they are listed on the Toys R Us page without any
photos), so I'm hoping we'll see something a bit more display friendly
in that wave. Or you could just cowboy up and buy the Hot Toys Dark
Knight coming out later this summer, which is sure to be amazing.