Toy Review: McFarlane Dark Knight Trilogy and Titans BAF Waves

Two very different build-a-figure waves of DC Multiverse action figures should arrive at major outlets soon. For comics fans, a long-requested wave themed after Titans characters features a large, buildable Beast Boy. Movie fans, on the other hand, should delight in McFarlane finally turning their toy license towards less recent movies. The wave based on Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy should arrive soon enough to interact with Flash movie figures on shelves, with a Christian Bale Batman (and more) to stand next to Ben, Michael, and (from last year) Robert.

Although in the same scale, each wave goes for a very different look and aesthetic. The movie figures mostly have actors they need to resemble, and a grittier color palette. Comics heroes inherently use brighter colors, but it’s notable that all these figures, regardless of source, place particular emphasis on texture. With the possible exception of the oft-fetishized Nightwing, these characters all feel like they’re actually wearing clothes, and not just body-paint-thin spandex.

In the Dark Knight wave, all three individually sold villains wear suit pants and nice shoes, yet there’s no parts re-use. Doing so would have been easy, and few might even have objected. But no: different creases, different shoes. These bad guys remain appropriately individualistic.

Body Building

With McFarlane build-a-figure waves, each figure tends to price out at $24.99 rather than $19.99. In many cases, this makes the bonus figure no particular deal — buy all four, ultimately pay the extra $20 that figure would have gone for separately. In the case of Beast Boy, however, he’s huge; about the size of a typical $39.99 McFarlane mega-figure. So in his case, you’re getting a bargain if you wanted the other figures anyway.

The only one who feels possibly superfluous on that score is Nightwing, though McFarlane may assume collectors want multiple Nightwings, as they’ve made a good few. These Titans have slenderer, younger, more athletic bodies, so this is a smaller, leaner Dick Grayson. The issue is he not only doesn’t come with his signature nightsticks, but he couldn’t hold them if he did, as his only hands are fists. This makes him an okay alternate-look Nightwing, but probably not the one to buy if you only want one version.

Clothe the Raven, Never More

Raven comes with alternate spell hands, though they look a little weird, in that you can’t really see hands in there as such. So it’s like somebody cut her hands off and magic spilled out. Extra skintone paint on these might have helped, but the idea is the magic thoroughly covers her hands, so it’s an acceptable cheat.

On the plus side, her hooded cape assembly is among the best I’ve ever seen. The hood is perma-attached to her head, but not to the cape. However, the seam between hood and cape is so tight that whatever position the head/hood is in, it looks like part of the cloak overall. Many figures whiff on this, but Raven nails it.

Donna Troy has a great face sculpt, with what looks like a digital faceprint, but the choice of light gray plastic for her armor and sword, while matching the comics in approximate shade, looks more like stone than dull metal. The varying textures work well, but a more McFarlane-y wash over the gray might have made it pop more.

Red Arrows

With his backwards ball cap, Arsenal seems like he might be a bit of a dork, but the figure works better than he ought. If archery were rebranded as an extreme sport, this guy would be the champ. The quiver fits a bit loosely in the peg on his back, but the arrows slot securely inside, an improvement on execution over the CW Arrow figure from series 1. Nice tats, too. His costume, with mesh texture, seams, and muscle bulges that look part real, part padding, feels like a tactical archer’s outfit that just happens to be really bright red.

The string on his bow also has some flex, so he can pose in an archer’s position. He does not, however, have an individual arrow that can display that way.

Beast Boy doesn’t sport the usual disc-and-pin elbows of larger McFarlanes, but his elbow joints have a wider range than they seem to, with single hinges that can still allow the arms to fold way in. For a chest-beating pose, for example. The double ball joints in his torso allow for some great character-based posing, as he can shrug one shoulder up and one down, or adopt more dynamic action stances.

Bane and Gain

As a build-a-figure, Beast Boy’s one up on Bane, whose mid torso area is super-soft, rubbery plastic over a ball jointed post, almost like a scarecrow. This can create some awkwardness…

Likeness-wise, however, even facially obscured, he’s got Tom Hardy’s eyes. They nailed the face on this McFarlane Dark Knight Trilogy figure.

Did they do the same for Cillian Murphy’s Scarecrow? It’s much harder to say. Up close, the eyes do seem to have it, a touch. Legally, though, I doubt this is considered an actor likeness.

Let’s Face It…

It’s tough to photograph the Christian Bale Batman face for accuracy, due to the high contrast between his pale skin and the black cowl. Even with that caveat, however, you can see it’s pretty decent.

Joker looks like Heath Ledger, with sculpted cheek scars, though his eye makeup and lipstick is just a touch too sharp. The makeup should look smeared on, and it looks laser printed here. It’s not the worst sin, but mildly off. The way the flesh tones come through on his forehead wrinkles is very nicely done.

Two-Face looks the least obviously like his actor, but that seems like a case of layers of paint fattening the face a bit, especially at this scale. Under there, a sculpt of Aaron Eckhart peeks. On the other side, the scabbiness looks suitably gross. But his suit doesn’t seem as burned as it ought be. The damage is confined just to his jacket, and even then, not even on the sleeves. Thankfully, the coin is sculpted in his hand, otherwise it would get lost instantly.

Like all the other villains, Two-Face has his hand in a trigger pose, the better to use the guns from the sold-separately McFarlane weapons pack. (For those new to DC figures, Warner Bros. these days bans realistically designed toy guns from coming packed with any of them.) Scarecrow even includes extra trigger-hands just in case the fist and palm he defaults with aren’t sufficient. It seems a shame Joker couldn’t even include a knife, but instead he has a stack of money that includes a foot peg so he can stand next to it. There’s a hole in the bottom of the stack that in turn fits over the footpeg on the standard included DC figure stand, too.


Batman includes three Batarangs and his grapnel gun, all cast in bronze plastic like the old Mattel figures. There’s no place on his belt to attach them, so he can only pose with one at a time. The sculpt on his suit is a good one, though the armored codpiece is a little odd as a flexible piece. As is often the case, the cape feels quite narrow — maybe a future Gold Label variant could give him a larger cloth one.

Bane has three sets of hands, the right one gloved and the left not. His grip is larger, though his dependence on guns is less.

Sacrecrow, with his mask, asylum robe, and dirty wash, feels the most McFarlane-y of the bunch. He’d fit into any Spawn display pretty easily. He can also get a piggyback on Bane, like in the Last Knight on Earth comic.

One question must be asked, though. Who approved the bios on the trading cards? Because besides the Batman one, which references his retirement between movies 2 and 3, these are not the movie biographies at all. Ledger’s Joker does not have white skin, and this Harvey Dent was not scarred by acid, but burned by fire. It’s an odd oversight for the McFarlane Dark Knight Trilogy figures.

More Movie Love?

The wave looks to be one and done, since all the most toyetic characters appear in it. Would be a shame never to get Catwoman or Batman version 1, but filling out that wave might be harder. Do people want figures of Decoy Ra’s or Ducard that badly? A better idea might be to create similar waves for the Tim Burton and Joel Schumacher movies. Jack Nicholson prices his likeness rights off the market so a Joker’s unlikely, but there’d be plenty to fill more than one wave regardless. Maybe Bob the Goon as a convention exclusive?

Complete sets of the Dark Knight Trilogy wave have been tough to find online, but as they start to ship en masse, they ought to populate more and more spaces. For fans of McFarlane’s movie figures, they’re essential, and to scale with other DC characters. The Titans are more for comic fans, though there’s definitely a solid attempt in the sculpt to make them seem like suits that could exist for real.

Check out many more comparison pics in the gallery below.

Our critic received the figures for review from McFarlane Toys.