Monday, November 10, 2014

Not As Lousy As I Thought It Would Be . . . The 2014 Bane The Dark Knight Rises Ornament Still Underwhelms!

The Good: Great sculpt, Mask coloring, Affordable
The Bad: Slight balance issue, Simplistic coloring/poor coloring
The Basics: The 2014 Hallmark limited edition The Dark Knight Rises ornament of Bane is unimpressive, but not (actually) terrible, which is a nice surprise for the late-release ornament.

Last weekend, I had a bit of a Christopher Nolan weekend and I was able to incorporate all sorts of my interests into that weekend. After going to see Interstellar (reviewed here!), I was psyched to go out to Hallmark’s Open House Weekend and as a component to my Christopher Nolan Weekend, I finally broke down and bought the Bane ornament based on the Nolan film The Dark Knight Rises. Unlike some of the ornaments that I am not biased toward for my collection or my wife’s Hallmark ornament collection, I was unable to find the Bane ornament on display at Hallmark for my consideration. So, I purchased the ornament for the purpose of review, despite suspecting that it was not going to be an incredible ornament. My concern before even buying the Bane ornament was that it would be simplistic in its coloring and that was very much the primary defect of the ornament.

Hallmark and DC created an ornament that is evocative of the film persona of Tom Hardy as Bane from The Dark Knight Rises for the Bane ornament. For those not familiar with The Dark Knight Rises (reviewed here!), the villain was Bane, a brutish tool of the film’s real adversary. Sent to terrorize Gotham City, Bane snaps Batman’s back and leaves him for dead. It is the muscular Bane holding up the fragment of Batman’s mask that is the subject of the 2014 Limited Edition Hallmark ornament.


The 2014 Bane ornament faithfully recreates Bane in sculpt, if not in coloring, in his bare-armed military-like costume. The ornament, released in 2014, is fair for an ornament based upon the costume used in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises film. Measuring four and one-eighth inches tall by two and a quarter inches wide by an inch deep, the Bane ornament is one of four DC Comics/movie super hero-based ornaments released by Hallmark in stores in 2014, but it is potentially the least impressive, despite being a pretty masterful sculpt. The Bane ornament came with an original retail price of $14.95 and I would be entirely unsurprised if there were not plenty left over at the end of the season for those who want to pick it up cheaper.

The Hallmark Bane ornament is made of durable plastic. Bane’s costume is simple, but remarkably well-detailed. Bane is dressed in a tank top and army pants with reinforced knees. His boots are so detailed with thick laces and he includes such wonderful sculpted aspects like the belts on his arm brace and his distinctive mask. Bane is sculpted to include all of his arm muscles and bulging veins! One of the cool aspects of the sculpt is that Bane’s head is slightly turned and his neck has bulging muscles that make the neck look realistic. The fractured Batman mask is immaculately created!

The Bane ornament features a version of Bane who looks more like an animated version of the character than the live-action one based on Tom Hardy. The skin tones are monotonal as opposed to having rich coloring, which is unfortunate and undermines the potential realism of this ornament. His pants and shirt have color variations that make them look worn and more realistic, but the contrast between his skin and the outfit is unsettling.


As a Hallmark Keepsake ornament, Bane could have a sound chip or light-up function. Given how Bane is virtually incomprehensible in The Dark Knight Rises, it is no surprise that Hallmark opted against doing a sound clip for the ornament.


As with all ornaments, the intent of the Hallmark Keepsake Bane ornament is to be hung on a Christmas Tree. And for those creating the ultimate superhero Christmas Tree, the Bane ornament is very much an unnecessary one. Oddly, the ornament is right-side heavy, with about a fifteen degree pitch. This is odd because the left side of the ornament has the raised arm in which Bane is holding the Batman mask. The ornament has the standard steel hook loop embedded into the top of center of Bane’s head at a pretty obvious position. From there, the ornament, when affixed to a tree with a hook, swings very easily and is clearly weighted more on the right side (looking at the ornament).


Hallmark Keepsake began delving into the collectibles market in 1991 with Star Trek when it introduced the exceptionally limited edition U.S.S. Enterprise ornament (reviewed here!). Since then, they have made ornament replicas of almost all major franchises like DC comics, The Wizard Of Oz and Harry Potter. The Bane ornament just began selling at the October Preview Weekend and seems to be pretty easy to find still. Given the problems with the balance and paintjob for this ornament, along with the general lack of popularity to Bane as he appeared in The Dark Knight Rises, it is doubtful it will be a sell-out and appreciate in value any time soon.


Fans of Bane, Christopher Nolan’s vision of Bane, Tom Hardy, and DC comics characters are likely to find the unimpressed by the limited edition 2014 Bane ornament. While it is nowhere near as bad as I thought it would be before I got one, it still does not live up to the high expectations fans would have for it.

For other DC Universe superhero Hallmark ornaments, please check out my reviews of:
2014 Defender Of Mankind "Superman" ornament
2013 The Joker The Dark Knight ornament
2013 San Diego Comic Con Man Of Steel Exclusive ornament
2013 Man Of Steel Superman
2013 Descending Upon Gotham City Batman ornament
2012 The Bat The Dark Knight Rises Limited Edition Ornament
2012 Catwoman ornament
2012 "Beware My Power" Green Lantern ornament
2012 The Dark Knight Rises
2011 Batman Takes Flight
2011 Green Lantern
2010 Limited Edition Harley Quinn
2009 Wonder Woman ornament


For other ornament reviews, please visit my Ornament Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2014 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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