Christopher Nolan’s Dark Night Trilogy will likely be fondly remembered as one of the better big-screen interpretations of a superhero/comic book franchise we’ve ever seen, and Play Arts is releasing four figures this year to commerate Nolan’s movies and his versions of these beloved characters. The first two releases, Batman and Bane, hit some of the online stores recently, and I couldn’t wait to get my grubby mitts on them because the promotional images looked just phenomenal. I learned quickly that Play Arts Kai figures can be sort of hit-or-miss in terms of qualilty, but I was very happy when I opened this Batman figure because he is everything I’d been hoping for.
The box is big and beautiful. If I didn’t already know the image on the front is a picture of the figure, I’d swear it was a still from the movie. The box is the standard window box that showcases the figure inside nicely. Play Arts really goes all out when it comes to their packaging design. The problem is, because the boxes are always so nice, it makes them pretty darn difficult to throw out, so in addition to creating space for the figure in my collection, I’ve now got to find room for the figure’s packaging, which is becoming a (first world) problem.
On the back we get some more action shots of the figure and a small preview of his wavemate — Bane.
The description on the inside flap reads like a decent synopsis of the The Dark Knight Rises, the third and final movie in the trilogy. It’s fitting since he does ship with Bane. I’m curious how they handle the next pair of figures since they come from different movies.
This is a handsome figure. He looks awesome. I was worried that he’d have some “Japanese” elements incorporated into his design, but he doesn’t at all — it’s a strong sculpt that definitely does the character justice. The figure is about 9″ tall, so it’s on the big side and definitely wouldn’t mix well with your Movie Masters or your DCUC collection. It does, however, work as a stand-alone figure and will hopefully look good with the other figures that are being released once they’re all out.
He is a highly articulated figure, but I’m reluctant to go all out on the posing because I’ve had some bad luck with PAK Batman figures breaking on me in the past, so just to be safe, most of the poses I put him in are going to be pretty vanilla.
There’s some grey airbrushing used to bring out all the details in the sculpt and it adds a lot of depth as well. I was afraid he’d be just a solid black, so I was pleased to see they went in this direction with it. The paint on the armor ends up giving the armor a more realistic look, almost like it’s a steel or some other fabricated metal. It also works well on his cape.
The cape benefits from some light airbrushing as well since there are a lot of details that would otherwise be easy to miss. The cape is made of three parts: the portion that drapes over his shoulders, and two halves that overlap a bit and hang from his upper back that actually make up the lion’s share of the cape. These two parts are on ratcheted ball joints and can be positioned in more dramatic poses. Doing this can affect his balance a bit, but Play Arts have included a stand that can help you pose Batman here almost any way you wish. The stand had to be assembled, so there’s more to it than the average Marvel Legends flight stand sort of apparatus, but that’s probably a good thing. I haven’t put it together yet because I’m not sure I’m going use it due to space issues, but the option is there.
His head sculpt is impressive. As I mentioned before, I was worried there would be some anime elements added to his look, but this is a sculpt that is very faithful to Christian Bale’s appearance. The sculpt and the airbrushing on the mask are great, and his eyes look convincing too. The one area they did not pull off so well is the open part of the cowl that reveals his mouth. The paint is pretty uneven here and it made his chin look as though it was in 3D (yeah, but you know what I mean). I found a little rubbing alcohol helped a great deal in evening out the paint (these pics are post-rubbing alcohol).
All of his joints integrate nicely with the sculpt and are basically invisible, which is something I’m very thankful for.
For accessories he comes with the aforementioned stand, five swappable hands, his grappling gun, a Batarang, and two bombs. The grappling gun here is a perfect fit in one of his alternate hands and the paint job gives it a definite element of realism.
The Batarang here is the accessory I was most interested in and it delivered. It’s small, yes, but fortunately it’s not made of a soft rubbery plastic that makes it difficult for the figure to hold. This thing is solid It’s a small novelty piece, sure, but it looks cool and I’m happy he has one to be posed with.
The two bombs are very small. One looks to be in “safety” mode, while the other looks to be engaged. They look cool, and I’m happy to see he comes with them, but I really can’t see myself ever displaying him with either of them, so they’re probably going to stay in the box. You know — that box I’m not going to throw out? Packaging. Sigh.
He is a well-articulated figure capable of being put in many dynamic action poses, but I do feel Play Arts figures are display pieces first and “toys” second. Again, because I have had figures break on me in the past, I’m reluctant to go too crazy with manipulating his limbs and joints. And as you can see in the above pic, he does have that signature Play Arts weird knee-thing going on, so that’s about the only drawback to his articulation that I’ve encountered so far with the light posing I’ve done.
This guy has just started to hit the online retailers and can be had for about $65 or so. Of the few Play Arts figures I’ve purchased so far, I can say with confidence that this one is the one I’m most satisfied with. I’m very happy I made the purchase. I wish I could say the same about Bane… (coming soon)