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Dark Knight Rises - Batman and Bane
Mattel

Dark Knight Rises action figures by Mattel


There are a LOT of potentially huge movies this summer. With both Hunger Games and The Avengers already raking in the big money, and The Amazing Spider-Man, The Hobbit, Brave, Prometheus, and Skyfall all clamoring for your dollar, it's going to be a packed back half of the year.

For some of us, there's really only one movie to see in the summer of 2012 - The Dark Knight Rises. As a huge Batman fan, I've enjoyed the first two outings with Nolan and Bale, and I've been looking forward to the wrap up. Add in another great character in Bane, played by another solid actor in Hardy, and you have me counting the days.

Mattel has the license for toys of course, and this week was the release of just about all of them. Tonight I'm going to check out two of the small 4" figures - Caped Crusader Batman and Bane. In the cases I've seen, there's only one Bane, and a bunch of Batman variants. There's also a Catwoman in this scale that's out in a multipack, but that's about it so far.

You should be able to pick these up at your personal favorite mass market retailer, be it Toys R Us, Target, Meijer or something else. Expect to pay around $6 a pop for these guys.

These smaller figures work with 'Quick-teck' play features, available on some of the vehicles and playsets. The individual figures don't have a play feature of their own, however.
Click on the photo below for a life size version
Dark Knight Rises action figures by Mattel
Dark Knight Rises action figures by Mattel
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Dark Knight Rises action figures by Mattel
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Dark Knight Rises action figures by Mattel
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Dark Knight Rises action figures by Mattel
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Dark Knight Rises action figures by Mattel
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Dark Knight Rises action figures by Mattel
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Dark Knight Rises action figures by Mattel
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Packaging - ***
The cardbacks and bubbles are small - no waste here. Figure is easy to see, as are the accessories, and while there's not a ton of personalization, I like the style.

Sculpting - Bane **; Batman ***
Batman sports some decent detail work on the textures of the suit, especially at this scale. He's just over 4" tall, and comes complete with the cloth cape. He stands great on his own, and can hold the accessories with either hand. He's not much of a Bale look alike, but it's close enough to pass.

Then again, this isn't the first time we've seen this figure. He looks like a re-use to me from the previous lines, not something I'm particularly happy about. I didn't dig out all my Dark Knight figures to be sure, but it sure smells familiar.

At least Bane is a new figure - too bad the sculpt is so weak. The mask on the face lacks detail, as does most of the body. The muscles and arms look oddly proportioned, and there's a clunky 'happy meal' feel to the figure overall.

At least he stands well on his own, and can hold his accessory in his hands. He's slightly shorter than Bats, coming in at almost exactly 4".

Paint - **
There's not a ton of detail work here, so what is here better be good. It's not.

There's enough slop on Bane's face, particularly around the mask, to pull his overall score pretty low. Add in the general lack of detail on the bland costume, and you end up with a pretty sad looking figure.

Batman is done up in his basic black, but the gold belt and skin tone lower jaw add some color. The gold on the belt is a bit clumpy though, and the lower jaw is a bit off center, not filling in completely on both sides of the cowl.

Articulation - *1/2
Back in the eighties, Kenner was giving us better articulation than this at this scale.

Each figure has a cut neck joint, cut shoulders, and T hips. Batman adds pin knees, although I have no idea why. With the T hips, there's little the knees can do, although I suppose you can get him to sit down slightly better with them.

Five points is simply not enough in any scale, and considering how good the 4" figures can be these days - when the company takes the time and spends the money - there's just no excuse for such a big movie license to get shabby treatment like this.

Accessories - **1/2
Bane comes with one extra - a rather large spear-like weapon. He can hold it in one hand, but not both, since the articulation just doesn't allow it. It's a decent enough item I suppose, although until the film hits it's tough to say whether it's important to the character or not.

Batman actually has two extras - a grappling gun that is all one piece (the hook is not removable), and a huge batarang. The gun looks good and fits in either hand, but the batarang is clearly out of scale. Is this supposed to be for one of the Movie Masters or even a sixth scale Batman?

Fun Factor - **
They do stand well on their own. And I suppose that having the characters in a scale that works with other lines like Star Wars is a big plus. But the poor quality overall isn't something that will be lost on anyone, kids included.

Value - ***1/2
Here's the kicker though - these are priced right. Most of the 4" scale figures these days run $8 - $10, with more at the higher end than the lower end. These are just $6 each right now, something that saves these otherwise weak figures.

Things to Watch Out For -
Nothing really problematic, just disappointing.

Overall - **
Considering the six dollar price point - and how much I tend to whine about high prices these days - you might think I'm being too tough on these figures. Sure, they aren't perfect, but they don't cost the average ten spot either.

I can't give these a decent score even at the lower price point. While the sculpt on Bats is good, it's not something we haven't seen before, and Bane is just sad. Too much rehash, no real articulation, and nothing to motivate most people to buy. If these were as good of quality as the figures costing $8 - $10 on the shelf right now, they'd score much better, but this is one of those situations where you're getting exactly what you're paying for.

I have my fingers crossed that the Movie Masters are not the same situation...we'll see later this week.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***
Sculpting - Bane **; Batman ***
Paint - **
Articulation - *1/2
Accessories - **
Fun Factor - **1/2
Value - ***1/2
Overall - **

Where to Buy -
Hit our local mass market retailers for these, on the shelf starting today.

Related Links -
While I've covered many Batman products (search on this page here), this is the first Dark Knight Rises review. Later this week, I'll be checking out the new Movie Masters!

Discussion:
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Dark Knight Rises action figures by Mattel


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

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