I think it's safe to say at this point that if a character is wearing a suit, Mattel will gladly make him into a figure. Stay tuned for Commissioner Loeb and Mayor Anthony Garcia Movie Masters figures! Thrilling! Exciting! Tremendously boring!
So we have another figure who utilizes the (in)famous
Mattel Movie Masters suit sculpt. It's fun when friends drop by and ask me "What's the deal with all these dapper figures in their fancy suits?" and I tell them "Oh, those are Batman toys." Because when you think Batman, you think guys in suits. Just kidding, friends never drop by, and when they do, they certainly don't comment on my toys. They pretend they don't see them, and act like I'm a regular guy. What was I talking about?
Oh yeah, Alfred. Michael Caine as Alfred Pennyworth. In Christopher Nolan's Batman film franchise, Michael Caine strayed from the usual depiction of Alfred as a cultured, eloquent, stereotypical butler, instead playing up the angle that Alfred is actually quite bad-ass. In most portrayals, Alfred hides his history of ass-kicking under a veneer of high class; Caine's Alfred seems to wear his like a badge of honor. Not to say he doesn't know his way around high society, but there's no denying his Alfred is a bit rougher around the edges than usual.
Which makes him all the more memorable. So while there may have
been a time when getting an Alfred figure seemed like a dumb idea, there's no denying the appeal of a bad-ass Michael Caine action figure. And even though this figure is on the same tired suit body that Mattel has released umpteen times, the new Michael Caine head sculpt is fantastic. For the most part, the likenesses of Mattel's Dark Knight Rises figures has been spot-on (excepting perhaps the dopey slack-jawed Ra's Al-Ghul) and Alfred is a shining example.
The paint is fairly minimal, but what's here is clean and well-applied. The hair is gray with a light dry-brush to make it stand out. The eyes are clean (eyes seems to be something that MM figures really never have a problem with), the skintone is nice, and the tie has an intricate pattern on it. His black suit and white shirt are molded in colored plastic, and it does the job.
The articulation isn't anything new, since we've seen this body several times before, but there's something about Alfred as a character that just makes him more fun to pose. Jump kicking Alfred, breakdancing Alfred...the only limit is your imagination. There's just something inherently enjoyable about making an old man cavort around acrobatically.
Alfred gets no accessories save for his Build-a-Batsignal piece. He gets the main body of the spot lamp, which attaches to the housing. The lens included with Blake and the rear light/battery compartment included with Ra's clip on the front and back, respectively. While he has nothing to put in his hands, he does have hands that are shaped to be able to hold whatever things you might want to give him. He looks pretty awesome wielding a sword or firing an assault rifle, but again, you're only limited by your own imagination.
Despite the fact that Alfred should by all accounts be a very bland figure, he ends up being pretty fun. Most of that stems from the very idea of a Michael Caine action figure, but even though it's almost entirely a re-release, Mattel really pulled off the Caine likeness well.
The main issue is finding him: Alfred was in the first series with Bane and Batman, but he wasn't even included in all the cases (rumor is Target ordered cases without him), and was only one per case in the boxes that did have him. The secondary market is asking quite a bit for him, and it remains to be seen if these figures will show up in greater numbers like Movie Masters The Dark Knight toys eventually did, but it would be a shame if everyone didn't have the opportunity to get their own miniature Michael Caine at a reasonable price.