Can you hate a movie but love its characters, or does a bad cinematic experience poison you against them? Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice was a massive disappointment for me, but damn if I don't adore DC Films' Superman and Armoured Batman figures.
It must be tough to sell $US50 ($66) premium figures based on a film that the core audience largely hated. The basic figures you can pick up for cheap at Walmart are one thing — kids will play with Batman and Superman no matter how dreary a movie they're attached to.
But the DC Films line is aimed at adult collectors. The six-inch figures are packed with accessories like extra hands, additional head sculpts and tiny, fragile heat vision beams. These particular figures were sculpted by James Marsano, one of DC Collectibles' finest artists.
The key to appreciating well-crafted action figures based on bad properties is to have an attitude somewhere between serious adult collector and kids playing in their backyard. I am an adult who collects toys, but I also play with the toys I collect, posing them, photographing them, creating photographic evidence of my personal bias towards Batman.
Haha, Superman is going to crash. Superman is the worst. #TeamBats #MarthaWAYNE
Being able to set the movie aside in my mind, I can appreciate the effort put into making these two figures come to life.
Take Armoured Batman, for example. He's one of the bulkiest Batmen going, yet he still boasts 36 points of articulation.
The capes on both figures have wire running through the sides, allowing for basic poseability. This shot looks like something out of The Dark Knight Returns To Mike Fahey's IKEA Shelving.
The paint detail on Batman's armour is gorgeous, though they might have gone a bit heavy on the utility belt black wash. I guess it helps him blend into the darkness. Otherwise he'd just be glowing eyes and a bright yellow belt.
The lower chest plate is also a button. You'll see.
Speaking of glowing eyes, the Armoured Batman figure has them right in front of its scratched and scuffed metal cowl.
He kinda looks like Lego Batman from the neck up. Can't wait for Lego Batman.
Armoured Batman comes with six different hands, a posing stand, and . . . well.
Maybe throw that piece away.
Meanwhile, in sunny, ruined Metropolis, littered with the dead bodies of Bruce Wayne's employees . . .
Start humming the Richard Donner music now.
Look, in front of those drawers and that blurry guitar neck! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's sculptor James Marsano magically managing to capture Henry Cavill's entire acting range in a single head sculpt!
He's angry! He's sad. He's got gas!
Superman is a bit more basic than Armoured Batman, mainly because he really doesn't need armour (or a gun) to kill people, just his exquisitely-detailed and chiselled physique. He hits people with that physique, and they die. Do not tell me that guy he punches through a brick wall at the beginning of the movie is not paste right now. Ack. Happy place, happy place.
Superman is still a jerk.
Superman comes with six different hands (I suppose he could steal Batman's gun), a posing stand and an additional head sculpt that's mildly frightening out of context.
Do not be scared, those holes are there for reasons. Heat vision reasons.
I was terrified I was going to break these things. They are ridiculously small.
The heat vision is a small thing that really adds to the dynamic between the two figures.
The better to burn you with.
Despite being sculpted to resemble their on-screen counterparts, once I got Armoured Batman and Superman out of the box and played around with them a bit, they were no longer Dawn of Justice figures.
They were just Bulky Old Batman . . .
Do you bleed? I'm asking for a friend.
. . . and Henry Cavill, Superman cosplayer to the stars.