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Mattel’s Movie Masters Carry On With Dark Knight Rises Wave One

Mattel has released several styles of toys to support The Dark Knight Rises, with a 4″ line of kid-oriented toys, a new cartoon-style Batman line and a continuation of the Movie Masters series, with more movie-style sculpts courtesy of the Four Horsemen. Now that the toys have been released, the real question is are they worth picking up?

The first mix of DKR Movie Masters delivers Batman, Bane and Alfred, and launches a new concept– collect all six DKR figures and you can assemble a working Bat signal! It’s a great new take on the build-a-figure, and what I’ve seen of the signal based on the parts with these three figures makes it look like a great in-scale version of the iconic set piece. The Batsignal certainly helps offset the price tag of these figures (clocking in between $16 to $18 each), especially since none of the figures include any other accessories.

Moving on to the figures themselves, let’s start with Batman. The DKR figure is a direct re-release of the previous Dark Knight Movie Master, with a nicer paint job including an excellent gloss finish on his boots and gloves. This figure still remains one of the best movie Batman toys, with solid articulation and an amazing amount of detail on the suit’s armor, but it’s a little frustrating to have to re-buy this figure just to get the Batsignal piece.

The main villain of the third movie is Bane, and he also gets a figure. I’m not a huge fan of the movie design for Batman’s new enemy– the mask is pretty over the top, and the weird combat boots with leather jacket look just doesn’t seem very faithful to the comics villain. I’m hoping seeing him in action will turn me around on the design, but so far this toy hasn’t really sold me. Bane is a perfectly fine toy translation of his movie design, and the detailing on his chest armor and mask are every bit as nice as Batman. The painted detail is also great, giving his armor a nice, weathered look, and I love the way the 5 o’ clock shadow on his shaved head came out.

The thing that really hurts Bane is some limits to his articulation– the character’s large belt inhibits his ability to raise his legs (he only gets to about a 45-degree forward movement), and more importantly his arms don’t include any bicep swivels, limiting what you can do with his arms quite a bit. Despite these drawbacks, he’s a good enough figure, and he looks awesome with the rest of the Movie Masters rogue’s gallery.

Rounding out the first set is fan-favorite Alfred, who features a nice new portrait of actor Michael Caine. Alfred uses the same suited body we’ve seen several times in this line, and it works well for Bruce’s trusted butler. The head sculpt is recognizable as Caine, but it’s a little too cartoony to be his spitting image. I can’t figure out  exactly what it is that’s off about the face, but it looks more like a Michael Caine charicature than his actual likeness.

The packaging of the new Movie Masters is a standard blister card that isn’t too exciting, but showcases the figures nicely along with plenty of plugs for the BAF Bat Signal. I’m definitely into this line for the Signal (let’s hope Mattel come through on their promise to keep the assortments cycling through so all six figures are easy to find), and the figures, while not great, are all pretty good. Much like the movie itself, I just can’t get as excited about these toys as I’d like, but I’m hoping that will change as the excitement builds toward the movie’s release this July.

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