Batman: The Dark Knight
Mattel 12" figure

 Dark Knight Batman 12 inch action figure by Mattel

I just can't seem to avoid the summer blockbuster lines - but with a new major sumer flick hitting every weekend, it's kind of tough. Tonight lets take a look at another Batman: The Dark Knight figure, the 12" Dark Knight from Mattel.

I already reviewed the Action Cape version, but he's a bit taller than this one. This one is designed to be for collectors, much like the large DC Universe figures (and the large DCSH before that). While it's not marked on the package, I bet it's a Toys R Us exclusive, and there's both the regular version as well as a Christian Bale head version that comes one to a case.

Like I said, you can pick this guy up at Toys R Us for $30, but not all stores have gotten them in quite yet. And if you're looking for some even better Dark Knight figures in this scale, check my Where to Buy section for more info.
Dark Knight Batman 12 inch action figure by Mattel

Dark Knight Batman 12 inch action figure by Mattel
Dark Knight Batman 12 inch action figure by Mattel
Dark Knight Batman 12 inch action figure by Mattel
Dark Knight Batman 12 inch action figure by Mattel
Dark Knight Batman 12 inch action figure by Mattel
Dark Knight Batman 12 inch action figure by Mattel

Packaging - ***
Okay, so it isn't quite as bad as the cardbacks for the kid's line, but these are still pretty dull. While there's a little personalization on the back, it doesn't make up for the lackluster graphics and colors.

The box gets an extra half star though for some newly designed 'twisty ties'. Actually, they are little plastic ties, similar to what you've seen on some garbage bags, that work much better than traditional twisties because they are a) less likely to damage the figure and b) much easier to remove.

Sculpting - ***1/2
There's no doubt that some of the extra cash went into a nicer sculpt on this figure. The detailing is very sharp and deeply cut, with a nice realism to the boots, gauntlets and chest armor. The proportions are quite good too, with the head just about the right size for the body, and the arms and legs proportioned correctly to the size of the figure. The chest seems a little thin, because you'd expect the armor to add a bit more, but it's a minor nit.

The cape is rubber, which I'm not a big fan of in this scale. There's nothing you can do with it to add to the pose, and it suffers from the usual problem with a big hunk of black rubber - inconsistent finish. Some areas are quite glossy, some much more flat. The sculpted folds are well done, but the cape doesn't do much to add to the appearance of the figure.

The head sculpt is a reasonable Bale fascimile, although it's interesting to note that the chin does not look the same on the masked and unmasked versions.  I've included a shot of the unmasked head in the box, but I'm not reviewing that one here, just the masked version.

The hands are sculpted to hold accessories, although there are none in sight. I would have prefered posed hands in this case, that could have added something to the dynamic nature (or lack thereof) in the basic pose.

He does stand extremely well on his own, although there is a display base included to remain consistent with the rest of the line.

Paint - ***
Considering how little paint there really is, what's here is a bit on the iffy side.

The eyes are probably my biggest issue, since on all the ones I looked at there was slight differences between the height and direction of the pupils. None of them were lazy eye bad, but none were dead on accurate either.

The slightly bluish gray color on the costume is clean and neat, although I suspect some folks will find it less than appealing. I don't mind, and I think it adds a nice contrast, but some may find that contrast a bit too much.

The belt is done in gold of course, and this is consistent if a bit heavy handed. There's some smaller silver details, and there is a bit of slop and far less clean lines around these, as well as the bat symbol on the front of the belt. None of the ones I've seen have sharp points on the wings, but rather the gold has bled down over the black.

Articulation - **
While the Action Cape version actually has some reasonable articulation, this one does not. If you like the very basic sculpted pose, you'll be okay, but don't expect to get anything additional out of this guy.

There's an attempt at a ball jointed neck, but because of the design it only has the range of movement of a cut joint. That's too bad, since at least if his head was able to tilt, you'd be able to improve on the basic pose.

There's cut joint shoulders that look like ball joints but aren't. That's always a huge disappointment.

There/s the usual T hips, pin elbows and pin knees as well. And that's it. No waist, no ankles, no cut you can see, the joints that are here aren't going to allow you to do much other than find the sweet spot to keep him standing in the sculpted pose.

Accessories - *
The only accessory is the included display stand.  It has a nice, sharp looking movie graphic on it.  The single foot peg works fine, but considering this is Batman, that's mighty light for a $30 figure.

Value - **
Thirty bucks? I've always had a problem with this price point for these figures, and that hasn't changed. Yea, the sculpt is good, but I suspect about 25% of the cost is just because it's adults buying it for themselves rather than buying it for kids.

Fun Factor - **1/2
This is a figure designed to stand on the shelf in a single pose and look good doing it. Kid's aren't going to find it particularly appealing unless they just wanted something to do what I just described. If you're looking for a toy, check out my review of the Action Cape Batman for The Dark Knight.

Things to Watch Out For - 
I can't find a thing. He's definitely a sturdy figure, and there should be no worries about breakage or damage. You may find better or worse work on the eyes though, so that might be one thing to keep an eye on.

Overall - ***
While the sculpt is extremely nice, the price point is just too high for what amounts to a rather basic Nerd Hummel. I don't expect super articulation, but there's no reason the kid's Action Cape version should be so much better articulated and 30% cheaper.

Still, if you're looking for a low cost alternative to the $80 and more versions in the sixth scale market, this one can fill the bill. He fits in nicely with the previous Mattel 12" figures, and I'm hopeful that we'll get a Joker out of them as well.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***
Sculpt - ***1/2
Paint - ***
Articulation - **
Accessories - *
Fun Factor - **
Value - **1/2
Overall - ***

Where to Buy -
Clearly, Toys R Us is the place to go. But if you're looking for something in the higher priced but higher quality range for a 12" Dark Knight figure, check out the new offerings from Hot Toys. Since these are Asian market only, you'll need to buy them through Ebay at this point. You can use to search for him and the Joker.

Related Links -
I have some very recent related reviews:

- I just did a review of the slightly larger Action Cape version.

- And in the 12" DCU series, I checked out Killer Croc. Not so recent was the first Batman and the Cyborg Superman.

- in the higher end market, check out the comparison review I did of the Takara, Hot Toys and Medicom Batman Begins figures.

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Dark Knight Batman 12 inch action figure by Mattel

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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