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Iron Man & Thanos

Avengers: Endgame
by yo go re

If, as has been said, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is the most expensive TV series ever made, then Endgame is one of the greatest season finales of all time. Of all time!

Iron Man steps onto the battlefield against Thanos in the ultimate fight for the fate of the universe.

Ah, the Mark LXXXV Armor, the "last" Iron Man suit to be in the MCU, wink wink. I suppose we technically already had a figure of this armor, but one simple change makes this one look different: although the molds are identical, the "interior" parts between the plates on this version are gunmetal grey rather than silver. It's a minor change, yes, but it definitely gives the toy a different vibe; like the previous one was fresh and pristine, while this one is covered in dirt from his prolonged battle. Of course, that isn't the only change that's been made - and this time we're not talking about a lightbulb in the chest!

For one thing, this version includes weapons! There are the usual translucent blue repulsor blasts that can fit in either his palms or the soles of his boots, but also a two-pronged... thing (a blaster? A blade? Just something to help him grab things off high shelves?) and a shield. The fork gets a red paint app on the handle, while the shield is just fully blue. Pretty sure that's supposed to be made of repositioned armor nanites, not arc reactor energy. [Incorrect: he activates this shield when Hulk is going to use the glove, two hours and three seconds into the film; and while we're at it, the sword comes in nine and a half minutes later, at the beginning of the fight with Thanos --ed.]

We also get alternate heads. Well, specifically, alternate heads and necks, because the armor doesn't just retract its helmet, it goes all the way down to the collar. So there's the normal helmeted head, then two Tonies Stark: one plain, and one painted with cuts, bruises, and blood. Did you know there were people who complained that Robert Downey Jr's "injury" makeup was done digitally rather than being painted on him on-set? That ranks right up there with the Caesar stuff as far as "dumbest complaints ever" goes. If we turn down technological advances just because they work differently than what went before, then we're stuck with silent black and white movies until the end of time. The sculpts are identical on both, it's just a matter of paint. The unmasked heads are a bit too large, unfortunately: like, they're bigger than Thanos' head, and that dude is two feet taller than Iron Man!

The most important accessory, though, is a single alternate hand. Yes, he's got fists, he's got hands open for blasting, but then he's got the hand we've been waiting for since 2019: a hand, posed to snap its fingers, with the Infinity Stones sculpted and painted on the back. At last! Now, ideally a figure with this would have been released as an exclusive (a la Worthy Captain America) so his forearm could be painted with the lines of colorful energy crackling down it, but this one needs to function as a "plain" Iron Man too, so it doesn't get that. But hey, since you needed to buy the last one to build Bro Thor and they use the same pieces, that could be an easy custom.

Thanos is a destructive force that will stop at nothing to achieve his goals.

That should be "who" will stop at nothing, but whatever. Four times. Four times Hasbro has had the chance to give us a damn Thanos without an Infinity Gauntlet permanently sculpted on him, and four damn times they've bungled it. Original Build-A-Figure? Sure, he needs it. First 10 Years figure? Could have redone it to be separate, but not necessary. Second Build-A-Figure? Absolutely no reason for it to even have one. And now the Infinity Saga release.

This figure represents Thanos at the end. The very end. The legs and abdomen are reused from the Endgame BAF, but the chest and arms (and the belt/skirt piece) are new - this is after Scarlet Witch has wrecked him so badly that he had to cry to his ship for aerial bombardment, so his armor is torn up and decimated, with the pieces that used to cover his upper arms now broken or missing. He's wearing the red "Nano Gauntlet" on his right hand, which is correct to the film, but the existing Nano Gauntlet was already a separate piece designed to be used by other figures, so even if they felt the need to include it again, why not give him a bare arm to put it on? Or an arm that swaps at the elbow so we can finally have him for all the time he wasn't wearing the glove? Come the eff on, Hasbro! Captain America uses a shield, but you don't mold it onto his arm; so why do the equivalent here? The glove is already molded as a separate piece so they don't have to worry about painting it, why not take that finishing step and allow us to swap on a different bracer?

The glove is not identical to the previous release: though it does include a fist like that one, it's smaller, to better scale with this specific body. We also get an alternate hand featuring him poised to snap his fingers, meaning between him and Tony, you can start staging your own MCU version of West Side Story. Smartly, there are no Infinity Gems on this version of the hand: the ports for them are all sculpted in, but they're empty since Tony stole the stones. If you listen during that scene, you can hear the machinery moving them from Thanos' big glove to Tony's little one, and that's pretty neat.

In addition to the snapping hand, Thanos gets four different heads, including one from each of the previous three figures: BAF Thanos' insufferable smugness, 10 Years Thanos'calm stoicism, and Warrior Thanos' furious helmeted head. The fourth head is new, and is definitely ambitious. Like we said, this figure represents Thanos at the very end, and what happened to Thanos at the end? He got snapped into dust. This head is unevenly lumpy, with large patches painted grey in random spots. Hasbro really tried to sculpt him dissolving! You know? A for effort. C+, B- for execution.

Finally, he gets an updated, more screen-accurate version of his Thanoscopter sword. The blades are angled differently, there are differnt patterns etched into the sides, and the hilt now has some curved crossguards in the same gold as his armor. It's amazing what being able to see the movie before you make the toys can do for getting things right.

The new parts on these two figures are nice, but you have to re-buy way too many existing parts for the set to be worth the asking price. You're better off waiting for a sale.

-- 04/11/22

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