Brain vs Brawn
Batman & Robin (Kenner) - 2-Packs
Here we have yet another two-pack of figures from the 120 minute toy commercial that was Batman & Robin. Oddly enough, most of the figures from this line only bear a passing resemblance to their movie counterparts. Most people might find this to be a redeeming factor but speaking for myself, I like to get exactly what's being advertised to me (even if it's a byproduct of one of the worst films ever made). This set showcases the extremely brief and weak confrontation between Batman and Bane as seen in the film. These two toys are unmistakably from the Batman & Robin line as they feature obnoxiously garish paint jobs that slightly weigh down otherwise decent sculpts.
First we'll take a look at the titular character: Batman, who I might add, is sporting one of the stupidest colored Bat-suits to see the light of day and/or night. Similar to Night Hunter Robin, this figure comes decked out in chrome. I can't even begin to express my dissatisfaction at how goofy and out-of character this suit is for Thee Batman, a creature of the night who has mastered the art of stealth. Nothing says covert more than donning a shiny silver suit that looks like it was jacked from Flavor Flav's back room. Enough talk about the blinding paint apps though, let's move on to the rest of the figure.
The sculpt is nothing special, it's essentially the second base mold albeit with a few minor modifications (two main sculpts were designed and served as the basis for all of the Batman figures that pertained to this line; the first was loosely based upon the panther suit seen in the film and the second had a more armored look to it). The biggest gripe I have with this sculpt is that the ears look way too small and stubby compared to what they were in the live action films pre-Nolanverse. Articulation is the standard five points, nothing to go ape about. Accessories are where the figure fares a tad better; the figure comes with a cool looking but ultimately useless Batarang gun and the only useful cape in the entire line. It's pretty ridiculous when there's only one cape in a Batman Toy line that's practical looking and the only way to obtain that cape is by buying an expensive two-pack, ugh.
Well now that we have that dead weight outta the way, let's go over the main course, the real reason anybody would buy this set: BANE! Thankfully, this Bane figure looks absolutely nothing like the mentally challenged gorilla we got in the film. Featuring a design more in-line with the comics, this Bane features a creative little twist. It appears that Mr. Freeze and Poison Ivy have used Bane as their lab rat as he features enhancements that essentially make him look like an amalgamation of his two masters. Wearing a blue bodysuit, one half of Bane is entwined in vines which form a massive claw on the arm, and the other half is decked out with armor similar to the one seen on Freeze himself. While I'd be treading old ground by clamoring on about the utter lack of common sense there is to pairing plant and ice themed villains, I'd be dammed if I said that the combination of these two elements didn't make for a totally awesome looking action figure.
The sculpt on this guy is phenomenal with only the head being of a re-use of the figure from the main line, everything else is surprisingly original and very well sculpted. The paint apps are also surprisingly good & solid with my favorite apps being on the Poison Ivy side which feature hardly any bleeding onto the vines. Like the chrome gimmick on Batman, Bane has translucent areas on the vines and underneath the ice armor, similar to the Evil Entrapment Poison Ivy. Unlike Batman however, this gimmick is slightly less obnoxious; seeing as most plants are slightly translucent and the left half seems to be made entirely of ice, this gimmick feels far more logical and captivating. Despite all of these wonderful features however, this figure has only one downside and that is the lack of paint on the belt, though it this doesn't bring the figure down by any means, it would have been nice to have a little bit of silver dabbled on it.
Articulation is again standard and so are the accessories. The figure's main accessory is a simple hook and cable from a pulley and while I'm not a fan of cartoony over-sized weapons, this one just feels generic. The second accessory is the trademark tube which feeds him venom; the tube simply plugs into the back of his head and snaps onto his forearm like in the comics. Personally, I would have preferred that the figure's accessories keep in line with this amalgamation concept and instead be translucent repacks of Mr. Freeze's Ice Bazooka and Poison Ivy's Entanglement Vine Whips.
All in all, I'm very divided on this set of figures. The B-1000 suit on this one ranks among the worst bat-suits ever conceived, going so far as to outdo the Arctic Suit in terms of general stupidity but the Bane figure is just so darn cool. Very few comic style Bane figures had been made (even after the advent of The Dark Knight Rises) let alone ones that provide alternatives to his classic luchador tank-top look, so this guy is a welcome addition. Although the figure may look a little goofy and flamboyant, he's essentially three villains wrapped into one! The Accessories themselves are also a plus since this cape is probably the best cape offered out of all the two-packs (certainly better than the cartoony one found on Heat Scan Batman) and is easily applicable to any other Batman. The Batarang Gun is also a refreshing step away from the overblown accessories that run rampant through this line. The Batman is a flat two but the Bane easily earns it's five stars; coupled with some pretty useful interchangeable accessories, this set gets three stars. Though the lame Batman weighs down the rating only slightly, I highly recommend this set merely for the boss Bane figure.