Toy Review: The Suicide Squad by McFarlane Toys
McFarlane Toys‘ live-action-based DC action figures have been a decidedly mixed bag. They made two Wonder Woman figures that were decent, and an Arrow that, well, wasn’t. Their “Snyder Cut” Justice League figures should hit stores soon, but first, we have the company’s debut DC movie line in The Suicide Squad. It, too, is a mixed bag overall. But at its best, it features at least two or three figures worth having.
The figure line features as many variants as it does original characters. There’s the core four-figure King Shark series, consisting of Peacemaker, Bloodsport, Harley Quinn, and Polka Dot Man, each packaged with pieces to build a large King Shark figure. But then Target has Bloodsport Unmasked and Peacemaker Unmasked, originally meant as SDCC exclusives, who come with the same King Shark parts as their masked counterparts. Finally, a pre-built King Shark is available separately at Walmart. This was initially announced as a bloody version, with red spray around the mouth and teeth. Yet fans who’ve preordered it at Walmart so far got a non-bloody version, while reviewers (like this one) got the bloody version as promised. So the bloody version exists, but nobody’s quite sure how non-toy-reviewers get it yet.
Regardless, the Walmart version features additional spotting on the chest, checkered shorts rather than plain blue, a severed arm and leg, and a foil trading card with a special plastic card-holding display. At $39.99, it also costs technically twice as much as the build-a-figure version (assuming you wanted the other figures anyway). Interestingly, the trading card describes him as a genetic experiment, while the movie goes with the ancient ocean race origin. The figure’s jaw opens and fully closes, with the upper teeth attached to the lower jaw, so that those top fangs disappear into his head as the jaw moves higher. The shorts severely restrict his leg movement, so don’t expect him to do many sit-down poses.
Harley looks like she might actually have a digital face print, but if so, she’s the only one. It’s certainly far and away the best resemblance. It depicts Margot Robbie in the red dress she wears most of the movie, wielding a javelin that’s arguably a minor spoiler. One big advancement on these figures is that McFarlane is finally casting figure heads in skin-colored plastic, rather than other-colored plastic with a layer of flesh paint making the faces look fatter. The dress being one piece hinders her torso and waist articulation, but most buyers probably won’t be too bothered.
Still, that will feel like small consolation to Idris Elba fans…
Who’s that supposed to look like, exactly? Because it can’t be Idris Elba, surely. Most off-likenesses in toys usually at least look like the actor from one particular angle. But here we have one of the movie business’ most handsome actors, and he looks like Andy Serkis wearing prosthetics.
The costume’s a bit off as well, probably due to early reference art. The movie outfit features tarnished gold armor pieces, and here they’ve become bright orange. Considering this is nothing like his original comics look, it makes him seem more of an off-brand Taskmaster or Deathstroke. Both he and Peacemaker get billed on their trading cards as “expert marksmen,” but thanks to new DC toy policy, they don’t come with guns. Yes, even though Bloodsport utilizes a large, unrealistic Liefeld-esque blaster in the movie. So he gets two katanas instead, one of which he used onscreen.
DC’s intent with the gun ban may be noble, but it’s self-defeating. Collectors hate the inauthenticity, and kids will probably just pretend they have guns anyway. Peacemaker comes with either an ax (Unmasked) or sword (Masked), with the ax being more significant in the movie itself. And speaking of off-likenesses, the John Cena headsculpt looks best in profile, or with the mask on, but something’s off in the front view. Maybe the eyes. But it’s not like there aren’t eleventy billion other Cena action figures in the same scale with real scans, ripe for swapping out. Unmasked Peacemaker and Bloodsport come with black and white trading cards rather than color.
Like the other figures, Peacemaker uses the basic 22-point McFarlane articulation. Yet he still gets more or less forced into a bow-legged stance. Not sure if it’s just our review samples, but the unmasked version has it worse. The included stand finally comes in handy.
Another quirk of the articulation is that since all the guys have rubbery torso covers, any waist movement leads to a waist gap. It’s clearly a choice to hide all visible torso articulation, but may not be the best one. King Shark has blatant torso and waist articulation, and is more fun for it.
Polka Dot Man, ironically a loser of a character in comics, comes off as a winner here. He looks like David Dastmalchian, he has a cool dot-throwing effect, and his goggles even have clear lenses, which was a nice extra step.
In fact, people disappointed that Harley doesn’t have hers can switch them out, and it still color-coordinates.
A small note about Polka Dot Man is that while he has butterfly shoulder articulation, his shoulders lack the joint cuffs that most McF figures have. Since he sports a much slimmer build it works out. And for some reason he includes an extra left wrist bracer, which looks exactly the same as the one he wears. It’s unclear why.
But the real prize of the collection would be King Shark. Even though the bloody version looks best, the non-bloody versions maintain the great dichotomy of him looking fierce with an open mouth, but kind of a lovable doofus with it closed.
He is a big chonk with more articulation than expected (wrists and elbows turn and hinge). And heavy. That dorsal fin ain’t soft, either. Put the figure in a plastic bag and the fin will cut it open. It’s cool that, like Marvel Legends, McFarlane does now offer other options to get their build-a-figures without any extras the buyer may not want.
King Shark, Harley, and Polka Dot Man rank among McFarlane’s best DC offerings so far, while Peacemaker and Bloodsport…don’t. However, those last two play fine in their masked versions, and if that Peacemaker show is any good, the Cenas might go up in value.
As of this writing, Entertainment Earth has Harley and Polka Dot Man in stock, with Peacemaker and Bloodsport as preorders. The solo King Shark remains sold out at Walmart.com, but it wouldn’t be too surprising to see the bloody one show up on the new McFarlane Toys online store. To guarantee a King Shark now, however, the build-a-figure version looks a safer bet. (Note: Superhero Hype is part of the Entertainment Earth affiliate network, and earns fees based on purchases made through links.)
Still undecided? Take a look at our complete photo gallery below. Then let us know your thoughts in comments.
Recommended Reading: Suicide Squad Vol. 1: Trial by Fire
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