I just watched Batman Returns again recently, and I’ve got to tell you: I think it’s the weakest of the series. The film doubles the villain count from Batman—triples it if you throw in Max Schreck—but crams everyone into a positively claustrophobic Gotham City that apparently doesn’t have enough citizens to make a tree lighting more well-attended than a meeting of the PTA. Batman feels like a guest in his own movie. Different parts of the movie feel like they were made with different age demographics in mind—it’s weird.
For all of its perplexing flaws, though, Returns does do something that Batman did well: it gives us versions of iconic Bat-villains that people will be talking about for decades, maybe more. DeVito’s Penguin might not be your cup of tea, but he’s incredibly distinct, and I’d argue a halfway step between Burgess Meredith’s take in ’66 and some of the grittier takes in more recent comics and games.
And then there’s Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman, supernaturally resurrected by the unsolicited physical advances of a gang of alley cats. Her origin is a bit strange, and some of her activity is even stranger, and that silly little line she exchanges with Bats, and then swaps with Bruce, is just the strangest—but again, it’s a distinct take, with an equally distinct visual appeal, and you can’t talk about the history of Batman on film—or maybe even as a whole—without discussing Burton and Pfeiffer’s version of the Cat.
Aaaaanyway, I recently got a box of goodies from Diamond Select Toys, and one of the goodies was their Batman Returns Gallery Catwoman statue. I’ve taken my photos and gathered my thoughts, so let’s have a look together.
The box is great, featuring the Returns Bat-symbol up top, and the text logo for the film at the bottom. You can see Selina pretty well through the front window, too—something that has not generally been the case in the Gallery line, in my experience, but which was the case in the Red Hood Gallery that came with this same shipment.
The back has a picture of the statue and some metadata about the piece, including a tidbit that I would hotly dispute—but more on that later.
I love the pose they chose for this statue, because it looks like it was ripped right from the film. I don’t have a specific moment in the film that I’m referencing, but it’s one of those things that manages to capture the essence of Pfeiffer’s portrayal perfectly. I dig the visual balance of Selina’s face and torso pointing at different angles, and the swirling whip makes the whole thing feel a bit wider.
I also really like the snowy chimney and roof, which do call to mind specific moments in the film when Bats and Cats were facing off—first when she dug her claw into the weak spot on his armor, and then when he failed to save Gotham’s Snow Bunny.
All of that design is brought to physical reality very nicely, with a detailed sculpt that checks all of the right boxes. The costume details, the chimney, and the general shape of the figure are all top-notch. I’m particularly fond of the stitching on the costume and the rip in the shoulder.
The paint on most of the statue is excellent, but the paint on the face is a liability, with the eyebrows looking especially terrible. And while the application of the paint on the lips isn’t sloppy, it differs from what’s on the back of the box, and what was on the prototype at Toy Fair, to the point that it looks a whole lot less like Pfeiffer. If you ordered this statue for how much the marketing photography looked like Pfeiffer, you will likely be disappointed by the final product.
Taken at a glance, as a whole piece, this is a great take on the Batman Returns Catwoman. But as a representation of Michelle Pfeiffer’s face—or as an expression of what the back of the box calls “collectible-quality paint applications”—it falls quite short. What you’re looking for—the former or the latter—should determine whether or not you buy this particular piece.
DISCLAIMER: Batman News received this collectible from the manufacturer for the purpose of review.
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