‘Man Of Steel’: Testing The Mettle of Mattel’s Movie Masters Superman Figure

On June 14th, Warner Bros’ “Man of Steel” arrives in theaters with the power of an exploding planet (or a non-exploding planet, as rumors would lead us to believe) and as much as I enjoy movies, the accompanying toy lines can really influence the line between love and obsession I build for a franchise. “Star Wars”, “Jurassic Park“, “Batman Returns”, and others would not be held nearly as dear to my heart if not for the childhood memories I gained from playing with the action figures, and vehicles, based on the characters I watched on the big screen. Today, I’ve matured enough (barely) to enjoy a movie for what it is– but, that doesn’t mean I also can’t appreciate a well-made licensed toy. Mattel has released the first wave of collector-aimed “Man of Steel” Movie Masters and today I’m taking a closer look at Superman!

Read on to see if the Big Blue Boy Scout can live up to the excitement the trailers for the film have built up!

The packaging for the line utilizes the “S” Shield as a base for the shape of the blister, and the primary colors from Superman’s uniform are used to really make the figure line “pop” on the store pegs. The figure sits front and center in the blister, and the back of the card shows off the rest of the figures in the line, along with a basic synopsis of the character…for the six people on Earth who are unfamiliar with him. It’s an eye-catching package, with a little too-much empty space around the toy; but, what do I care?! Let’s open this Kryptonian up!

The sculpt for this line comes from (MTV Geek frequenters) The Four Horsemen. Superman was given a basic, stoic expression and looks about as close to Henry Cavill as can be hoped in a 6″ scale. The body is proportioned well, and gives that superheroic build without overly-exaggerating the musculature. One of the most impressive things about the toy is the sheer amount of textures used throughout the suit that manage to be present and defined without looking odd when the figure is moved from its static, standing position. The cape is a separate piece of softer plastic that is attached at the shoulders and back, allowing for flexibility without falling off the figure. The figure is a 100% new tooling, and the Horsemen show off why they are some of the most-talented sculptors and designers in the business today!

The figure is mostly molded in the basic blue-hue of the suit, but there are still plenty of paint apps that have been applied– for better or worse. The head has been molded in a pale flesh-tone and basic black has been used for the hair, eyes, and eyebrows. The suit has paint added to the raised designs around Supes’ wrists and hips, and the chest emblem is painted cleanly as well using metallic gold. The cape is molded in red, but the same color for the boots has been achieved through paint. Overall, the base paint apps are very clean, and the problems really only arise when it comes to the accents and shading. Black has been sprayed over some of the figure in order to show the shadows and depth of the sculpt, and this looks really good on the figure I’m reviewing; however, I had to go through a few different versions on the pegs before finding one that didn’t have the speckling of black paint all over the forehead and face of the toy.– Just something to be aware of when finding these in “the wild”.

When it comes to the articulation model, Superman is (thankfully) closer to his “Dark Knight” Trilogy predecessors than the “Green Lantern” Movie Masters figures. He features a ball-joint neck, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, hinged elbows, swivel wrists, swivel waist, swivel/hinge hips, swivel thighs, hinged knees, and hinged ankles. All of the joints on the figure work well and hold their position tightly. I do have a problem with the lack of movement in the hips, though. Sure, Superman isn’t known for kicking over his head, but this figure would have trouble climbing a flight of stairs (Yes, I’m aware he can fly.). Also, the huge omission of a torso hinge, regardless of design aesthetic, really cuts down on the overall posing of the figure compared to his “The Dark Knight Rises” cohorts.

Accessories for Clark can be counted on one hand– actually, they can be counted on one finger, and I’ll let you guess which one I’m using to number the lightweight figure stand that was packaged with my Superman. The stand is molded in red plastic, with a light yellow paint used to recreate the classic symbol. It’s sharp angles, combined with its small circumference make it overly-easy for the figure, sporting his heavy cape, to tumble over and off a shelf at the slightest breeze or whim of fate. Yes, this accessory has been destined for the parts bin from the get-go. Thankfully, Superman stands quite well on his own.

Overall, this Movie Masters Superman figure is well executed. Sorry for not gushing all over it (as I’ve seen across the internet by other fans), but he comes off a little bland, to me. Of course, that could be due to his design in the film, and for that the sculptors can’y really be to blame. I’m really looking forward to seeing the movie, and afterwards might be more in love with this toy as images of Clark punching Zod across the Metropolis skyline fill my head.

If your interested in picking up this figure, or any of Mattel’s other collector lines, be sure to check out their official website, and your nearest retail stores!

Check out the latest action-packed “Man of Steel” trailer in today’s Daily Geek!

Stay tuned to MTV Geek for all your ’Man of Steel’ movie, merchandise, and toy coverage!

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