When you're young, there's a lot less going on in terms of character and toy history. With this Dawn of Justice Batmobile, we get a reminder of just how many high-profile takes on the bat-tle car from movies alone, and we've had numerous redesigns from movies and cartoons and comics. Since this toy was dirt cheap, easily found locally, and I was in line to buy some other stuff anyway, I got it. It ain't bad..
To succeed, all a Batmobile really needs to be is black and a little creepy. This one recalls elements of the Batman himself, with pointy "ears" sweeping back as a spoiler, a split windshield as "eyes", and a grille serving as a face to some extent. It's completely black, and it has guns. Batman's policy on firearms seems to change from incarnation to incarnation. It's kind of amazing to see how attitudes toward firearms in these stories change, specifically in the politically charged The Dark Knight Returns how the Dark Knight declared them to be "the weapon of the enemy. We do not need it. We will not use it." And they were on his car in the 1989 movie. It's an interesting character trait, because as a child of the Reagan 1980s the very notion of a kid hero without a gun seemed almost totally foreign. Look at Star Wars, look at Transformers, look at nearly any sci-fi property - they've got guns, and it wasn't the slightest bit strange. Seeing them out in front here, it's a different Batman to be sure - wait until you see some of the stuff they're making as accessories for costumes this year. Guns are just the tip of the iceberg.
The paint is fine, but due to the nature of the vehicle it can't really succeed or fail. It can only be black. To deviate from this would be folly, and faux paint chipping at this scale would be a waste of effort. The car really does show a change in how we as a culture think - Tim Burton's fanciful car was stylized and alien. The Animated Series version was like a vintage hood ornament - retro and streamlined. Joel Schumacher made it look like it came from another planet, while Nolan gave us a slightly more practical military surplus vehicle. Now we're dealing with something that incorporates a lot of what came before with a design that evokes what Michael Bay did to the Transformers. We've got more guns, more panels, and pieces that look mean and sharp but also like they may pop off. Like much of our popular culture, this car and from the marketing this movie play off our fears rather than our optimism. The dreams of the 1960s and 1970s didn't come true, and our hopes for the future have shifted from utopia to survival. This is, of course, very depressing.
I feel a little silly looking at these sometimes, just because a car like this is unable to have a lot of merits or demerits. It looks right. The wheels roll well. The color is correct. It's fun to play with. For a buck it's completely worth your while and a fine example of why Mattel keeps Hot Wheels relevant after over 45 years. If you're minimally interested in toy cars, licensed properties, or a cheap toy for your kid, this is the go-to toy for the first half of the year. It's a buck - you waste more money than this on napkins and straws when you could just be padding the number you need when you go to the Panda Express. (Admit it, you do it too.) I got my money's worth, and if I had bat-fan buddies I'd hand these out like candy. I hope the mold remains in circulation and that you can get one if you're so inclined.
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