There are few things I love as unashamedly as the two Tim Burton Batman movies. I watch them at least once-a-year; I know their best parts by heart (& their worst). I love all sorts of eras and incarnations of Batman, but I can’t ever imagine anything replacing that one as the center of my Batman universe.
Naturally, that love has translated to action figures. From the fun, but funky early Toy Biz figures to the awesome “Dark Knight Collection”*, I was happy to always have an 89 Batman or Keaton Batman figure in the display. Or several, I could’ve dug deeper for all the various “promo”, non-action figure Keatons in that group shot, but I was in a hurry!
* – If I ever decided to go on a pure vintage kick again and spend some funds on oldies, I would hit up The Dark Knight Collection, I think. I wouldn’t need it all, some choice rainbow Batman and all the sleek Bat-vehicles. It’d pair nicely with my SP collection.
The last couple years, as the movie geared up to turn 25, Keaton Batman has had a resurgence. I picked up the fantastic Hot Toys figure back in 2012 along with an awesome Joker and the car (and still haven’t reviewed any of them!). Earlier this year I snagged the amazing quarter-scale Keaton. I wish it was a little more balanced or had a stand, but it’s great.
What has eluded me, though, is a proper 6” scale figure in the vein of Star Wars Black or Mattel’s Movie Masters line. Sure, I have the all-black DCUC and I do love it, but it’s not quite the same. After Mattel had made a Movie Master Christian Bale and went way back and made their Adam West figure, I think the Keaton figure kinda became a foregone conclusion. They were gonna do it, I was sure! And it happened relatively quickly, but not before the folks at Mattel scaled things back to 4”. Sigh.
That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with 1:18th scale. I love my Joes. The Four Horsemen are doing amazing things in that scale with OSM & Power Lords. The Marauder & Boss Fight Kickstarters blow me away. This scale can be awesome.
This Batman isn’t awesome. He’s not bad. I guess I should point out that I’ve got a lot of mixed emotions here. It’s a Keaton Batman, +4. It’s got funky articulation choices, -3. It looks nice across a room, +2. But maybe you shouldn’t look too closely, -2. It’s aggravating. I think I’m over that it’s not 6” and that it can’t be put with Bale & West for an awesome evolution display that won’t break your wallet. I get it. I’m off that soapbox. And I think I kinda love it after awhile, but I couldn’t tell you if that’s because Mattel did an okay job or just because I’m sucker for this Batman. Maybe you guys should just look at the pictures on this one?
The sculpt itself is pretty nice. It’s a little too armored or mechanical looking for the first movie suit, but the proper details can be found throughout on the belt, gauntlets, boots, that part was done well. The only thing I’m not keen on is the head sculpt. It’s almost too Bale – I think it’s a result of the ears needing to be thick & safe and the unnecessary neck articulation squaring off what should be a fairly round cowl. The nose & brow are good; if you turn the figure sideways for a profile it gets much more Keaton, so I really do think the neck peg in there is just a shame.
Which is funny because Mattel could’ve gotten away with no neck articulation, at least I think so. Some collectors might balk at the idea – all the old Toy Biz & Kenner figures could turn their heads, but the real deal can’t. The cowl was so thick in the film that Keaton turning his head wasn’t really an option. The NECA & Hot Toys figures have the cowl as one piece for that very reason. It’s neat to get it, I guess, and I know collectors would complain if it wasn’t there (Wouldn’t we!?), but I’m not sure it was the worth messing up the sculpt.
This particularly rings true when you open him and see that Mattel seated the head so far down on the neck peg that all ball-joint movement ceased to function. It’s basically a swivel cut – and, hey, a swivel cut probably could’ve preserved the look just fine, as it did on the “less advanced” toys from 25 years ago. Doh. Continue to Page 2…