Hot Toys’ Batman is a Faithful Recreation of a Very Glum Chum [Review]
I did not particularly care for Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. As a film I found it rather lacking, but there were elements that I would agree had some merit. Wonder Woman was cool, the fight choreography was solid, and some of the practical design work was very sharp. One element that I just never got on board with however was the new Bat-suit. I know it was more authentic to the version on the printed page, and wasn't quite as bulk or overly realistic like previous Bat-suits, but it just didn't work for me. It looked like it was cobbled together from duct tape and not befitting a superhero.
With that in mind, it's still possible to appreciate the work that went into creating Batman's new look. That's just as true for the on-screen version as it is the miniaturized action figure versions that have been circulating since the film's release. This month, Hot Toys takes its pass at the Batfleck, and even though I'm still not sold on this particular design, it's arguably the most authentic version of Batman you'll get without stealing one of Ben Affleck's suits.
When this figure was first shown off, Hot Toys rightfully got a lot of guff about the design. The final version of the figure may have some great detail and musculature, but the first pass looked Hot Toys jammed a standard body into a garbage bag full of socks. After the reaction the prototype drew from fans and collectors, Hot Toys course-corrected and came up with the much-improved Batman you see here.
Now, as strong as the body in the suit looks in this revamped figure, it isn't without its peculiarities. For instance, Batman's butt. It's really weird. Owning several different Hot Toys, I can say this isn't something I've encountered before. Most of the butts are fairly normal, so they've never quite caught my eye the same way. Beneath the cape though, Batman has a strangely shaped rear; it's both too small and too thick for the proportions. Of course something like that isn't noticeable when the cape is covering the back, but it is an odd sight to behold nonetheless.
The rest of the body is quite remarkable. Most of the superheroes in costumes haven't had quite as skin-tight a suit as Batman in BvS, so you can't really observe the body beneath without removing some clothes. (That's almost always ill-advised with a Hot Toys figure, so unless you're a pro at customizing or don't care about tearing, don't go trying to pull toy Ben from his clothes.) With this toy though, you have a good opportunity to finally observe the faux physique of Ben. From the shoulders down, this is about as true-to-life as action figures can get when replicating the actual physical presence of a muscle-bound human being.
The articulation could always be better, and that's a common problem with Hot Toys figures. Though the body beneath the suit is well articulated, the suit itself presents some problems when trying to move Batman around. Hot Toys knows this, too, and that's why the instructions included (which you must read before use unless you're a rebel who likes spending hundreds on toys you'll ruin immediately) give specific details on exactly how far you can move each limb. Hot tip: if it feels like something is about to tear, rip or snap, it will. For all of Hot Toys' brilliance, these toys are fragile when handled improperly. So don't do that.
To be fair, the real suit was constrictive for the actor inside as well, so I guess Hot Toys should get even more points for its dedication to realism. Doesn't always make for an exciting toy though.
From the neck up, Batman's got a solid, if unspectacular sculpt. That's the problem with the head being covered by so much cowl. That said, the portions of Ben Affleck that are visible are immediately recognizable. He's got a very identifiable chin. There are actually three of them included with the figure, along with three pairs of eyes. The lower jaw pops out and can be replaced easily once you take the full head and cowl off the figure. Sure the figure looks like a very strange Arnim Zola with the cowl off, but it does remove with ease, just like the chins. The eyes? Not so much.
The slight difference in the eyes --- one set looking straight ahead, one set looking to the side, and one set looking slightly up --- makes me believe you should just keep in the initial pairing. The little tool included to get the eyes out from inside the cowl is a bit fragile, and the eyes themselves lock into place so firmly, you feel like everything might break all at once were too much pressure applied. After swapping them out merely for the purposes of this review, I'm consigned to never to it again for the safety of this $240 collectible.
Now, of course Hot Toys has also included a number of Batman-related accessories, including Batarangs, the grappling gun, the Bat-symbol branding iron, a grenade launcher and a very nice sniper rifle. All of them get the same care and attention of the larger figure, with the grappling gun and the sniper rifle being the most impressive of the bunch. The branding iron is probably the worst accessory, not just because it's a ludicrous thing for Batman to have to start with, but because it's only really compatible with one special alternate hand. The grappling gun however gets a number of different claws to accessorize it, including a few attached to wires to make it appear as if the gun is actually firing. I love that bit of detail, and for posing on a shelf it adds so much more personality to the piece.
The sniper rifle, while not exactly something I would consider necessary to the character, has both a working clip with miniature bullets sculpted inside, but also a working bolt and stand. The nuance is something only people who go fully hands-on with their toys will ever get to see, but Hot Toys includes it anyway as proof of its commitment to detail.
This particular package also included the Tech Cowl, which you may remember Batman and Alfred working on during some sequences of the film. It is merely decorative, and offers no real functionality with the figure itself. Still, like the sniper rifle, there's a great care for subtlety in the sculpt, including various textures, mechanical and electrical elements, and wiring. It will do nicely to stand next to Batman on display, but would certainly have made more sense to offer with a Batcave Workshop Batman like Hot Toys crafted for Tony Stark in Iron Man 3. Maybe it could have also come with all those crossfit workout accessories like a big tire and some rope.
In spite of the fact that I didn't get much from Batman V Superman the film, this figure is another testament to the talents of Hot Toys' sculptors, tailors and fabricators. I'm still not sold on the costume entirely, but it's hard to deny that this replication isn't the best there is on the market. Sure you're going to pay a premium for it, but that doesn't mean it isn't worth the investment.
The Hot Toys Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice Batman figure is available from Sideshow Collectibles for $234.99. This figure was provided by Sideshow for review.