Love it or hate it, no one can deny Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice one of its greatest achievements: a cinematic Batman aesthetic that is unashamed of its comic book roots. Prior adaptations almost unanimously favored all-black suits made of armored or rubberized materials, resulting in costumes that may have cut a nice silhouette, but upon closer inspection came across as some sort of real-world compromise. Not so with the “everyday” suit worn by Ben Affleck in BvS. Grey, textured fabric for the shirt and pants, a black cowl, cape, gloves, and boots all came together to produce an image of Batman that honored his visual heritage instead of trying to reduce it to an all-black, bat-eared outline.
An imposing figure
It is most excellent, then, that NECA—maker of fine collectibles from a variety of brands—would commemorate the this faithful suit with one of their 1/4 scale figures. At 19” tall, and with a body sculpted to match the beefy look Affleck sported in the film, this figure intimidates almost as much as the real thing. I also have NECA’s (recently discontinued) Batman Returns Mayoral Penguin, which is the same scale; but Oswald’s diminuitive stature did not adequately prepare me for a Batman in the same range. He’s massive.
The figure has thirty points of articulation, and I had no trouble adjusting Batman’s limbs, head, and torso into all sorts of authentic positions. Even considering the visible joints, there were moments during the photo shoot that the similarities between the toy and its real-life counterpart were uncanny, and I think most of the credit for that goes to NECA making it possible to get Batman into a variety of very convincing, Batmanny poses.
The facial sculpt and finish on my Penguin is flat-out ridiculous, and he looks right from every angle. I don’t think NECA quite nailed it with reproducing Ben’s face here, but they got close. There are angles where he looks just about perfect, but then there are others where his jaw especially seems a bit more simian than it does in real life, and the illusion breaks. The skin tone doesn’t work quite as well, either, and I think it’s because they were trying to replicate Ben’s five o’clock shadow with paint, which isn’t very convincing. As a result, his skin tends to look a bit darker than it should from a distance—not a ton, but enough so that I notice. I’ll just pretend he has a tan.
The bulk of the suit is not fabric, but some sort of rubberized material (the irony is not lost on me), but it is textured and finished well enough that it looks just right. They hide the torso joint beneath this material, too, for which I am most grateful. The black components of the suit are all hard plastic, and they look great. The cape, which could easily end up looking like the cheapest part of the whole affair, actually came out way better than I expected, and it works wonderfully from most angles. Just like in the film, the cowl allows Batman to turn and raise his head, but just be careful on those looking-up poses—if you go too far, you’ll see beneath the cowl and break the illusion.
As far as accessories go, the figure includes two alternate hands—one for each side—that are a little bit open so that Batman can hold the grapnel and batarangs that are also included. The grapnel bolt is a separate piece, so you can use it empty or loaded. The gun itself is a decent replica of the wood-gripped one used in the film, but you might scratch your head when trying to put it in Batman’s hand for the first time. The alternate right hand is the one to use, and it turns out that you can remove the thumb, install the grapnel, and then reattach the thumb to get it right. It’s fairly easy once you know what you’re doing, and you end up with a much more snug, realistic-looking grip around it than you would if you could simply slide it in there. It’s definitely worth the modest effort.
While the accessories are nice, I find that I much prefer two tight fists and nothing else. Batman’s gadgets are cool, but for me, he’s the best gadget of all, and I could spend hours putting him in various sweet-looking poses and seeing if I can pass him off as the real deal. Which is kind of what I did.
This is a tremendous figure. For a 1/4 scale collectible, its height and girth are almost full-scale intimidating. The sculpt and paint on the suit are excellent—even on the metallic utility belt—and though the face looks a bit odd from certain angles, there are plenty of ways to display him so that you don’t notice. The accessories are nice to have, but this Batman is such a formidable piece on its own, and the simplicity of two balled fists and an aggressive stance is where he really shines. Whether or not you enjoyed Batman v Superman, NECA’s 1/4 scale Batman is a stunning tribute to the character that we all love. You can find it on Amazon for a little over $100, and it’s well worth it. If there’s space on your shelf, this is what you should fill it with.