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Movie Masters Batman vs. Bane

The Dark Knight Rises
by Monkey Boy

With authentic detail, deluxe articulation and supreme quality, the Movie Masters line offers fans the premium collecting experience. True-to-scale, these figures are expertly crafted to ensure the highest standards for your collection.

OKAY, WOW. Did you read that? This pudding is like the Fabrege egg of toys, y'all! Look at those buzzwords! "Deluxe," "Supreme," "Premium," "Expertly crafted," "Highest standards"... you'd think this was Hot Toys or something, and not a Mattel mass market product that you get from Toys Я Us. Seriously, the hyperbole is pretty jarring. And yes, of course it says "ADULT COLLECTOR" on the front of the box. Look, I'm not trying to Mattel bash for the sake of it. Mattel toys are usually pretty solid products, but they're dead set on this delusion that they're producing the ultimate high-end collectibles, so you just kinda gotta roll your eyes and go with it.

When Commissioner Gordon stumbles upon a plot to destroy the city from within, Bruce Wayne gets back into action as the Batman. Waiting for him is Bane, a lethal adversary on a crusade to tear apart Batman's legacy piece by piece.

All in all, a pretty decent synopsis of the plot of The Dark Knight Rises. So good job whoever wrote that. This set is a Toys Я Us exclusive, which means it costs more than it should, and depending on which TRU you shop at, it might cost a lot more than it should. But if you want this look for Bane, this is your only chance to get it.

Of course, if you want your precious Bane, you'll obviously have to swallow yet another slight redeco of the ol' movie Batman sculpt. This time, there's a slight incentive in that it's the first time Mattel's given us a cloth cape, but it's still annoying. There's an odd gold dust effect over Batman's suit, which doesn't really sync up to any particular part of the film that I can remember. And that's Batman. No batarang, no EMP gun, no anything to make this worthwhile aside from the cloth cape, which is immediately negated by the weird gold dust paint effect. The cloth cape does make him a pretty good candidate to put on the Bat Pod, if you've got one.

And then there's Bane. This is shirtless Bane, which means he gets newly sculpted arms and torso pieces to set him apart from the solo-carded coat-wearing Bane. Below the waist he's got the cargo pants, boots, and funky belt that the single-packed Bane is wearing, and his head is the same as well.

His torso it pretty under-detailed, considering Mattel's self-proclaimed highest standard of ultimate super detail. It's not particularly muscley, but that's not the issue since Tom Hardy wasn't absurdly cut as Bane, but more just large and menacing. What's at issue is the fact that his shirtless sculpt doesn't even get nipples. Did they just get cut off in prison?

There's detail on the spine of the figure to reflect the damage to his back that forced him to wear a mask to dull his intense pain, and interestingly this bit of sculpting might not be new to you depending on which version of the single-packed Bane you ended up with. Just as some people reported flesh-toned backs while others reported green backs, it appears some single-packed Banes featured the spinal column detail, while others (like mine) were totally featureless.

There's not much paint on Bane, since he's shirtless and his torso is molded in his skintone pink, and what paint there is is pretty much exactly what's on the standard Bane: head and pants. There's not a lot of slop, but the total lack of any kind of detail or highlights on his torso makes the figure feel pretty toy-ish.

His articulation is quite nice, since unlike the standard Bane, his elbows are swivel-and-hinge, which allows for a much wider range of motion. Other than that, he's got a balljointed neck, swivel-and-hinge shoulders, swivel-and-hinged wrists, a hinged torso, a peg waist, Mattel-style swivel-and-hinge hips, peg thighs, hinged knees, and hinged ankles. The joints all work great and are tight enough that Bane can be posed lifting Batman over his head without much fear of flopping.

Bane actually gets some accessories, too: interchangeable hands. One set of hands is fists, the other is open palmed (probably so Batman can rest on them when he's lifted over his head). It's not much, but it's something. The pegs are thin and easy to trade out.

If it seems like I'm underwhelmed by this set, I suppose that's because I am. TRU is asking a lot of money for two figures that, between them, don't have a whole lot of new tooling. For all the negativity though, shirtless Bane is still a lot of fun to pose. Ultimately I think I prefer the standard release thanks to the intricate detail, but not by much. If you can snag this set on sale, it's worth a buy, but paying full price is a lot to ask.

-- 07/29/12

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