Monday, September 20, 2010

A Perfect Ornament: Hallmark's "Defender Of Justice:" Iron Man 2 Ornament Rocks!

The Good: Great sculpt, Wonderful balance, Neat light effect, Competitively priced, Collectibility
The Bad: Lights could be brighter . . . (nitpicking)
The Basics: A truly wonderful Hallmark ornament, the “Defender Of Justice” ornament is a must for any fan of Iron Man!

Perfection is not a term I use lightly. In fact, one of the defining differences of my rating system (and my grading system back when I was a teacher) is that products, services and people have to work for perfection, it is not the default position from which they are knocked down. So, when my instant reaction to the Iron Man 2 "Defender Of Justice" ornament from Hallmark was to think "Wow, this is perfect!" I was initially suspicious of myself and my snap judgment. I started nitpicking: the button for the light effect was too hard to find, the lights were not bright enough, there was no sound effect. But the longer I studied the ornament, the more I appreciated it. The button is unobtrusive, the lights look fine in the dark and for the price, who needs a sound effect?!

Hallmark's "Defender Of Justice" ornament is a perfect ornament, even if it has nothing to do with Christmas.

For those unfamiliar with the concept, “Defender Of Justice” is a holiday ornament that features Tony Stark in the revised Iron Man suit from Iron Man 2 (click here for my review of the film!). A generic, heroic stance that is not specific to a moment in the film greets the consumer and fans of the cinematic or comic book representations of Tony Stark as Iron Man ought to be thrilled by this.


“Defender Of Justice” recreates Tony Stark in his ultimate Iron Man suit in Iron Man 2 taking a heroic stance, presumably to take on Whiplash or the army of suits sent to kill him and War Machine. The ornament, released in 2010, is a pretty remarkable ornament that is perfect in the detailing, coloring and light effect. Iron Man in this incarnation looks just like the cinematic version of Iron Man with the Iron Man armor clean, shiny and made with very sleek lines that make it look both armored and functional. This does not look like a comic book character, but rather the virtual Iron Man suit seen flying about in Iron Man 2! Measuring ten and a half centimeters tall, seven centimeters wide (he has one hand out) and two centimeters deep, the “Defender Of Justice” seems to be selling appropriately briskly at the original issue price of $16.95.

The Hallmark “Defender Of Justice” ornament is made of a durable plastic and has Tony Stark in the Iron Man Mark VI (according to the toy line) suit, the red suit with the triangle arc reactor in the chest of the hero. Iron Man has his hand extended, ready to blast his enemies. He is cast in a pearlescent maroon and gold plastic that has a metallic quality to it that looks entirely realistic for the character. The proportions are all wonderful and this Iron Man sculpt looks like it may have come from a digital model of the character it is so precise. The “Defender Of Justice” truly is an immaculate work for fans of Iron Man!


As a Hallmark Keepsake ornament, “Defender Of Justice” could have a function like a sound chip or light effect, but it only has the light function. This is fine as a sound clip might have robbed the ornament of perfection. As it stands, “Defender Of Justice” is powered by a battery and the battery compartment is well hidden on the back of the ornament (one needs a tiny screwdriver to get in to change the battery). Fortunately, Hallmark includes a set of batteries with the ornament.

When the button, which is very cleverly hidden on the left thigh of Iron Man on the “Defender Of Justice” ornament, is pressed, the light effect is activated. White light panels glow in the chest (at the arc reactor), the hands (where Iron Man fires off his electromagnetic bursts) and his eyes. The light effect stays on for about twenty seconds, flickering slightly and gives the viewer the impression that there is a power source pulsing through Iron Man. In the dark, the effect is quite bright, though in the Hallmark showroom, it may not appear as impressive as it actually is.


As with all ornaments, the intent of the Hallmark Keepsake “Defender Of Justice” ornament is to be hung on a Christmas Tree. And for those creating the ultimate superhero Christmas Tree, the “Defender Of Justice” ornament is a great addition and indispensable for a Marvel Comics themed tree. The ornament has a brass hook loop that comes out of the top Iron Man’s hat. This is remarkably stable and the ornament only sways when it (or the tree) is bumped. The “Defender Of Justice” ornament is exceptionally well-balanced.


Hallmark Keepsake began delving into the collectibles market in 1991 with Star Trek when it introduced the exceptionally limited edition original U.S.S. Enterprise ornament. Since then, they have delved into virtually every other collectible franchise in an attempt to cash in on every major license. The Iron Man series is part of the Marvel Comics ornament collection that has been growing since the buyout of Marvel by Disney. Hallmark seems happy to produce both DC and Marvel Comics-related ornaments and currently fans seem to be responded well to the “Defender Of Justice” ornament. There is no data I have yet on how collectible this ornament will be; it is certainly riding the high of the summer movie and will be available when the DVD is released before Christmas, making it a guaranteed bestseller for this season, but the long term prospects have to do with how the franchise continues.


With excellent balance, detailing and a light function, the “Defender Of Justice” Hallmark ornament is one of the ones Hallmark got absolutely perfect in the 2010 line-up and is great for anyone who wants to have a wonderful superhero ornament on their tree!

For other genre ornaments, please check out my reviews of:
Edward And Bella Twilight ornament
"His Masters Bidding" Star Wars ornament


For other ornament reviews, please check out my index page!

© 2010 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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