Hot Toys’ Deluxe Batman and Batmobile ’89 are both now available to pre-order from Sideshow Collectibles. Can you think of a more exciting time to revisit these interpretations of the Dark Knight and his wheels than right now?
If you haven’t had a chance to see the trailer for the new Flash movie, I’m envious, because it means you get to experience the spine chills from seeing not only the cinematic DCU get its first Crisis-like multiverse/continuity smash, but also the official return of the version of Batman from the classic 1989 movie.. and what do you know? It turns out that the design of both Batman and his Batmobile were so good that they still look great on screen over thirty years later!
It really shouldn’t be underappreciated that the movie had a difficult journey to the screen to fight a wave of assumptions. None of the major Hollywood studios were interested in making a Batman movie, even after the success of Superman: The Movie in 1978 – the world was used to associating comic superheroes with brightness in colour and tone.
Producers Benjamin Melniker and Michael E. Uslan, and later Jon Peters and Peter Guber had to convince everyone, except the comic fans, that something a little darker and more stylized could not only work on screen, but be popular enough to justify a huge budget.
So how do you make a real-life man in a bat costume look dramatic, dynamic and intimidating? When costumer designer Bob Ringwood was hired, he commented that even Michael Keaton’s slim build was a problem that had to be overcome.
Firstly, director Tim Burton suggested they go for black – it seems obvious now, but greys and blues had always worked so well in the comics. It got the approval of Batman co-creator Bob Kane himself. Next came the muscle suit which involved studying over two hundred comic book issues for inspiration and the creation of twenty-eight different sculpted latex designs. Also, twenty-five different interpretations of the cape and six versions of the cowl and mask.
Unfortunately, it seems that actor Michael Keaton didn’t have much of a say in the costume as he had numerous problems with it, including the notorious issue of severely restricted head movement.
Keaton’s headache was our gain, though. This new deluxe Batman figure by Hot Toys demonstrates just how uniquely iconic the suit was. There was something dramatic in the way Keaton had to remain so upright, giving everyone the side-eye – compared to the suit used in Matt Reeves’ The Batman, those pointed ears are more noticeable rising up from either side of his neck, and more like the iconic Bat Symbol. The crucial lower facial sculpt is, as ever from Hot Toys, a faultless rendition of Michael Keaton’s face, and three versions are included. There’s also a vast array of hands and accessories – goodness knows how you’re supposed to select which ones to favour for your display!
Speaking of accessories, wait until you get a load of this! In screen adaptations one of the big questions fans want answered is what the Batmobile is going to look like. The design sets a tone for the design of the whole film and its hidden functions add a layer amusement as big as a plot twist – it’s practically a sidekick, particularly in the absence of Robin. After the car in the sixties TV show proved to have more functions than an iPhone, the reduced capabilities of the ’89 Batmobile suddenly made it feel more realistic.
Designed by concept illustrator Julian Caldow with initial sculpt by John Evans, it looked like a Hot Wheels toy car racer come to life and was described by chief production designer Anton Furst as “pure expressionism”. This Hot Toys reproduction includes side mounted Bat-disc launchers, those memorably awesome machine guns, grappling hooks and shin-breakers. Plus, the passenger hood slides forwards to make room for your Deluxe Batman figure, assuming you have both. Oh, to have both!
So go watch the trailer for The Flash (again!) and tell me that you didn’t experience a little inward grin when Batman ’89 turns up on-screen. History has now shown that these interpretations are not only enduring but generate enough affection to be worth the attention of the biggest superhero movie blockbuster of the year.
Yeah, I’m Batman.
Both items available to pre-order from Sideshow Collectibles here and here.
Hot Toys Deluxe Batman and Batmobile ’89 Product details:
The Batman Sixth Scale Figure features:
- Authentic and detailed likeness of Michael Keaton as Batman in Batman (1989) movie
- One (1) newly developed Batman head with separate rolling eyeball function and three (3) interchangeable faces capturing Batman’s facial expressions
- Movie-accurate facial expression and skin texture
- Approximately 30 cm tall
- Specialized body with 30 points of articulation
- Eight (8) pieces of interchangeable gloved hands including:
- One (1) pair of fists
- One (1) pair of relaxed hands
- One (1) pair of weapon holding hands
- One (1) remote holding right hand
- One (1) open left hand
- Each head sculpt is specially hand-painted
- One (1) Bat-suit with cape and Batman logo on chest
- One (1) utility belt
- One (1) pair of black boots
- One (1) grapple gun
- One (1) gauntlet with line launcher
- One (1) rope attached batarang
- Two (2) ninja wheels
- Three (3) smoke capsules
- One (1) white heel shoe
- One (1) Batmobile remote
- One (1) bomb timer
- One (1) punch gear
- A specially designed chapel roof diorama base (approximately L 27cm x W 24cm x H 44cm) *
The Batmobile Sixth Scale Figure Accessory features:
- Authentically and detailed likeness of Batmobile in Batman (1989)
- Sleek black color paint application on the exterior design
- Approximately 100cm L x 40cm W x 25cm H
- LED light-up headlights, taillights, jet engine and dashboard panel (power operated)
- Canopy door allows sliding function
- Openable fuel tank door to review mechanical details
- Rotatable wheels
- Side-mounted batdisc launchers
- One (1) pair of moveable machine guns
- Two (2) seaters
- Sized to fit with Batman Sixth Scale Figure from Batman (1989) collection series
- One (1) pair of shinbreakers
- One (1) pair of grappling hooks
- Eight (8) batdiscs
- One (1) rod for holding the canopy door
- Specially designed rotary base
Images and Press Release Courtesy of Sideshow Collectibles