Though I liked it a lot, I think I still like Thor better for now out of the two Marvel movies this summer. I say for now because I had the chance to watch Thor thrice, with each time better than the next. So until I get to watch Captain America: The First Avenger three times, I'm only going to make a temporary judgment. ;P
As far as toy lines go, Cap certainly does have the better variety. I mean, you can put ol' Stevie R in winter gear, jungle fatigues or even toss him in with a spiffy vehicle but you can't really do the same with our favorite Norse god. Mjolnir can only be repainted in so many ways before people will start to think Hasbro is up to something. Well, actually we'll know even before that. But you get my point.
The range of characters we get from the First Avenger line is also larger in terms of characters they can put on a card and sell to us. Captain Britain, U.S. Agent, Winter Soldier, Red Guardian, and Crossbones all don't appear in the movie but are in the line. Thor has no characters from outside of the movie so far.
What does this mean in terms of the Red Skull figure? Well, nothing! ...Except that the Rangerlord and I managed to find a whole bunch of him and Crossbones, both of whom are shortpacked, when we went to our usual Toys 'R' Us. And we paid retail price too, so one more notch in the belt for the knight/ranger toy-hunting dynamic duo. Lol.
To be honest I was less than excited about opening Red Skull up until I saw the movie opening night (28th July) here in Singapore. But after a great movie and a masterful performance by the evergreen Hugo Weaving, I had to bust the figure open and do this review. Let's see how it went! :)
Oh, and this review will contain spoilers, so be warned! (Even if it is two months since the movie opened. Heh.) ;P
Also, the paint is great. Check out those eyes and those pearly whites of his! ;)
Dislike: One dot of mispainted shading for the nose. It looks like it's supposed to go just under the inside of the cavity but is on the tip. It sorta makes him look like a dog.
Like: The accessories, esp Cosmic Cube. It's more than fitting because it's the very item that the Red Skull taps on to power his high-tech weaponry in the movie. It's also the artifact of his undoing when it seemingly vaporizes him in the end. But we all know that can't be what happened to him. I'm thinking he was teleported to another dimension, seeing as how the "vaporization" effect looked somewhat like the way a bifrost teleports people from Asgaard to Midgaard.
Like: The tight grip he has on gun. I gotta also love it that they gave him a period-accurate Luger. This sort of attention to detail I dig. Though I don't always know my guns very well, I can appreciate it when accessories are movie and time-period accurate.
Like: A somewhat movie accurate laser gun cannon. It's a cool way to kill two birds with on stone. If you're want to have a projectile action feature, might as well make the BFG from something out of the movie. And if you won't be posing Red Skull with the projectile in the gun, that works too. The kids win, we win, and parents have to continually look under the couch for that lost projectile, only for their kids to fire it off behind the plants somewhere...
Dislike: That the handle on the very same BFG is too large for him to hold properly. They used a more rubbery plastic for it, but it still doesn't fit correctly into his right hand.
Like: The uniform. Very spiffy and crisp. Very military--no less than you'd expect from a colonel. But of course, in order not to break the sculpt of the uniform, Red Skull doesn't have an ab crunch or a chest pivot. But I think in this case it's justified because he does need to need to look smart more than anything else. He does have a waist swivel, which this sort of uniformed sculpt does allow for and for that I'm glad.
Dislike: No ankles! Because of this, he's even shown up by the SDCC 2009 Marvel Universe Invaders Red Skull, who uses Colonel Vogel's (from Indiana Jones) body and does have swivel/hinge ankles. Yup, that's how poor his lower half articulation is--it's worse than an Indiana Jones figure!
Aesthetics: 8/10 - The best feature of this figure has got to be the way he looks just standing there. From the way they've painted the details on his head (eyes, "nose", dark wash,) to the spiffy uniform. I also like the color choices for his head (red) and his uniform (dark green). It's got sorta of a Christmassy feel to it, no? And it makes Captain America look like the Grinch who stole Christmas. Hah.
Fun: 7.5/10 - The Red Skull is always fun because he's the opposite of Captain America. Even in the movie 'Skull's origin is done in such a way as to pre-date Cap, but in an evil way, of course. But this figure is good fun because he's got three different accessories he can use--the giant laser blaster (though it sucks he can;t hold onto it too well), the Luger, and the Cosmic Cube, which every other 3.75" figure I own can now pose with. We got the Infinity Gauntlet with Thanos, now we get the 'Cube with the Red Skull!
Value: 7.5/10 - Good accessories, good sculpt and good attention to detail. All in all, this line has produced figures that are value for money, have proven to be popular (whether mainstream or cult favorites), and are easy to find. But while this might mean Cap line figures will warm the pegs in the months to come, it also means they'll go on clearance come the holiday season. And if the Iron Man 2 movie line was anything to go by, prices could drop to less than 50% at the first go! Now that's value!
Overall: 7.25/10 - Red Skull is a good toy all round with some flaws - And that's the least we ask for because no toy is perfect, though some come pretty close. (Though those are usually Hot Toys or Masterpiece Transformers.) To have a figure in this scale be so detailed in the sculpt is very normal nowadays, so it's easy to brush it aside and think of it as unspectacular. But all you need to do is pull out some of your old original Star War actions figures or even the Power of the Force ones in the same scale to realize that we've come a long way.
As far as this figure goes, I can't help but love figures of characters like the Red Skull, whose distinctive feature isn't a specific costume but is in his face. This means that to get different versions of him in toy form, all I have to do is pop off his head and put in on other bodies for that desired change-of-clothes effect. Heck, he can even "dress up" as Cap and wreak havoc with his more flexible articulation. Throw in three great accessories and imitate that Hugo Weaving/Agent Smith voice and you've got yourself hours of fun. ;)