2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Toy Line Review

2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Toy Line

Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker had everything– the fourth vocalist of Black Flag, Clarissa Explains it All, Luke Skywalker, Boy Meets World, Smallville’s Lex Luthor and Justice League’s The Flash, Mrs. Mom from Mr. Mom, and Megatron. It also had a toy line. 

The film featured a remarkable, toyetic cast of clown-themed villains working under the titular Joker. Their designs are so memorable that you might think they appeared in Batman Beyond often, and not just in this movie and an episode of Justice League Unlimited. But no, those are their only two appearances, and they are still iconic. 

2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker

They are:

  • Bonk – a hulking, brutish Nosferatu/clown hybrid that was once a hardcore frontman and is now a spoken word grump
  • Chucko – a terrifying murder clown whose lower body was eventually replaced with a large beach ball
  • Dee Dee – Harley Quinn’s granddaughters and twin Sabrinas 
  • Ghoul – a Halloween pumpkin man in a witch hat 
  • Woof – an honest-to-god cyberpunk werehyena 

You’d think this colorful cast of circus-themed horror weirdos would make for an incredible toy line done in the Kenner-disguised-as-Hasbro style. But that wasn’t quite what we got. 

I’m here to take an in-depth look at the toy line we actually got for Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, and there’s neither a werehyena nor an especially large clown in sight. 

Here’s a review of each figure from Hasbro’s 2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker toy line. 

2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Toy Line Overview 

2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Toy Line

Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker (which I will now abbreviate to ROTJ, because that acronym has never been used for anything else, ever) was a direct-to-video movie released in 2000. 

The film is dark, moody, and violent. It’s intense for a kid’s movie, but in the way that something like Return to Oz is intense. It’s not The Texas Chainsaw Massacre or Zack Snyder Presents: Batman’s Famous Murders, but it’s got some upsetting scenes, visceral violence, and mature themes. It’s not going to disturb any adults, and kids over the age of 10 or 11 should be fine with it, but it didn’t sit well with censors and parent groups of the time. 

2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Toy Line

From Wikipedia:

Return of the Joker was originally set for release on Halloween 2000, but, following the backlash against violence in children’s media that resulted from the Columbine High School massacre in April 1999, the creative team was forced to make edits that delayed the film’s release until December 12, 2000.

As I understand it, toy lines need to be planned and executed well before any movie’s planned release, so it’s doubtful that ROTJ’s controversial release had anything to do with the toy line’s bare bones nature. 

2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Toy Line

Hasbro probably said, “A direct-to-video-movie? Who gives a crap. Do a quick tie-in line so the ten kids who see the movie might grab a figure off the shelf.”

The 2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker line consisted of five repainted figures from earlier lines, only one of which was explicitly Batman Beyond-based. 

2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Toy Line

They are:

  • Gotham Knight Batman – A repaint of Future Knight Batman from Batman Beyond
  • Arkham Assault Joker – A repaint of Wild Card Joker from The New Batman Adventures
  • Gotham Defender Batman – A repaint of Detective Batman from The New Batman Adventures
  • Rapid Switch Bruce Wayne – A repaint of Undercover Bruce Wayne from The New Batman Adventures
  • Golden Armor Batman – A repaint of Silver Defender Batman from The New Batman Adventures

By 2000, Hasbro had completely cannibalized Kenner and removed any Kenner branding from its Batman toy lines. Hasbro still made good Batman toys in the Kenner style, but they were a bit different. Most of the nice cloth capes were gone, the figures tended to be taller and bulkier, and the accessories trended a bit more towards firing projectile launchers. You know, normal Hasbro stuff. 

2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Toy Line

Neither Kenner nor Hasbro ever shied away from repaints and accessory reuse, but ROTJ’s toy line was all reuse. It’s possible that no one at Warner Brothers could get Hasbro’s toy team the concept designs for ROTJ in time for development, but it’s more likely that Hasbro just phoned it in. 

The larger Batman Beyond toy line was creative, bold, and fun– you could even say it bordered on the avant-garde, as fair as mainstream toys go. But it never featured many characters from the actual show, other than the Terry McGinnis Batman himself. There were only five (six if you count the Smirk minifigure) villains released in the entire line. Blight, three members of the Jokerz gang (if you count the minifigure), a giant cyberspace Joker head, and Joker as he appeared in The New Batman Adventures

2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Toy Line

That’s it. No Shriek, no Inque, no Curaré, no Royal Flush Gang, and no Spellbinder. You never saw good guy characters like Old Man Bruce Wayne or Max Gibson, either. 

I’m a big fan of the Beyond toy line, but character variety was never one of its strengths. 

2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Toy Line

So, it stands to reason that Hasbro was just doing what it did all along– releasing a bunch of Batmen with one villain for them to fight. Kids wouldn’t notice the difference. 

The weird thing is that three out of the four Batmen in the Return of the Joker line were based on Bruce Wayne. There are flashback sequences in the film, which means the Bruce and Joker figures technically fit in, but you’d think the line would focus more on Terry– it is his film, after all. 

2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Toy Line

So, let’s get started by looking at the basic Bruce Wayne Batman in the ROTJ line.  

Note: I took so many photos for this review that I had to combine some of them. You can click on any photo to enlarge it. 

2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Gotham Defender Batman Review

2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Gotham Defender Batman

Before we get to the figure, here’s a look at the packaging. It was standard for all five figures in the toy line. Some of the text on the card is done in nice holographic print, which looks really nice in person. This is cool toy packaging, and these would surely catch some eyes on a K-Mart shelf. 

2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Gotham Defender Batman

At least the back of the card has a little blurb about the character, which is something I miss in modern toys. 

2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Gotham Defender Batman

Each of the toys also came with a contest pamphlet. I’m mad that I didn’t win a DVD player, even 20 years later. Come to think of it, a DVD player wasn’t a bad prize in 2000– I didn’t have one until 2003. 

Gotham Defender Batman is your basic New Batman Adventures-style Caped Crusader. He’s a repaint of Detective Batman, Hasbro’s “normal” Batman from the first wave of their TNBA line. 

Here’s a look at the figure:

2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Gotham Defender Batman

And, since you asked nicely, here is without his cape:

2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Gotham Defender Batman

It’s a good looking, basic Batman! The colors are dark, which fits the tone of Return of the Joker nicely. Bruce Wayne appeared as Batman throughout the film’s flashback sequences, and this is a pretty nice representation of those scenes. I can see why they included it in the toy line. This one makes sense. I also love the bold yellow used on his utility belt and weapons. 

The figure, like every figure in the line, has the standard “Kenner 5” when it comes to articulation: head, shoulders, and hips. It’s not an expressive figure, but these toys weren’t made to be posed, put on a shelf, and forgotten. They were made to be played with. 

And what’s a Batman toy without accessories?

2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Gotham Defender Batman

Gotham Defender Batman comes with a rubber cape, two missiles, a “gun” of some sort, and a flight pack. 

The missiles load in (one at a time) to the top of the flight pack. They’re pressure-launch missiles, so you just push quickly on the bottom of the missile and it flies towards its target. It works surprisingly well, and can easily knock over another figure. Not that I spent 15 minutes using it to shoot various Joker figures while I was taking photos for this article. I would never

The flight pack pegs securely into Batman’s back, either with or without the cape. The wings are on hinges, so they can store nicely or spread out for flight mode. 

2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Gotham Defender Batman

The cape itself is made of a rubbery plastic and just slips over the figure’s head and rests on his shoulders. It’s not nearly as good as the older cloth capes, but it does allow for easy interaction with the figure’s flight pack. 

2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Gotham Defender Batman

He also comes with some nebulous “gun” thing, which could be a scanner, a sonic weapon, a stun gun, or any number of things you or any 10 year old kid could imagine. It’s fine and the figure holds it well. 

2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Gotham Defender Batman

These accessories were reused from Detective Batman, as well. Detective Batman had a few more pieces (a red “decoder” thingy that plugged into the gun, and another piece of plastic that showed characters’ secret identities. I don’t get it either), but Gotham Defender Batman has all the important stuff. 

It’s a good set of gear that works well with the figure, and he stands up well both with and without the flight pack attached. The extra missile is a nice touch, too. 

The gear was commonly released with other Detective Batman repaints, such as Night Shadow Batman from 2002. Here’s Gotham Defender Batman with Night Shadow Batman, along with a Combat Belt Batman repaint done up in dark, TNBA colors that was released with a TNBA Batmobile:

2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Gotham Defender Batman

(Isn’t seeing a Batman: The Animated Series Batman in The New Batman Adventures colors fun? I love that figure.)

And, just for kicks, here he is with Night Shadow Batman and the Batman that came in Hasbro’s 2001 “Shadows of Gotham City” box set:

2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Gotham Defender Batman

It’s also worth noting that my copy of the figure, which I opened fresh from the card, has some slight molding deformation on one of his bat ears and just a bit of paint slop. Such errors are not unusual in this toy line, unfortunately. 

Overall: This is a great basic TNBA-style Batman. It’s also one of the most affordable figures from the Return of the Joker toy line (I got mine carded for $14). If you’re interested in the old Kenner and Hasbro DC Animated Universe toy lines, you should pick up at least one version of this mold. If you like the moody, striking colors on Gotham Defender Batman, then he’s a good one to grab. But if you already have this mold in your collection already, you’re not missing out on much. Whichever version of this mold you’re interested in is Recommended

2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Golden Armor Batman Review

2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Golden Armor Batman

Golden Armor Batman was the only “Deluxe” figure in the ROTJ line, which probably means he was more expensive than his linemates. I don’t really know of a great way to look that up, honestly. 

Here’s his card:

2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Golden Armor Batman

And the back, in case you want to read the write up:

2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Golden Armor Batman

He is packaged with his “Mobile Assault Cape,” which is hilarious, but is also perhaps an apt descriptor. His giant cape doubles as a mini-vehicle of sorts. He’s a repaint of Silver Defender Batman, a deluxe figure from early in The New Batman Adventures toy line. 

As you can see, Golden Armor Batman is aptly named, too:

2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Golden Armor Batman

The figure’s chest is covered in a nice, vac metal chrome plastic. It doesn’t seem as fragile or prone to wear as something like a Beast Wars Transmetal or Transmetal 2 toy. Granted, I opened this figure fairly recently, but regular handling has posed no real concerns. 

The figure also features maroon, black, and a cool bronze-tinged grey plastic. The mold and paint deco on this one are much more intricate than any other toy in the ROTJ line, and he looks pretty dang good with or without his gear. The color combo isn’t spectacular, but it’s cohesive enough that it looks nice. If you boil it all down, he’s a shiny, golden, heavily armored Batman. That’s not a bad thing to be! 

With any sort of deluxe toy in a Batman line, the accessories are just as important as the figure itself. 

2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Golden Armor Batman

Golden Armor Batman comes with his vehicle/cape, a giant missile launcher that clips onto the cape, four red missiles, and two “hand weapons” that double as skis/treads for the vehicle. 

Here’s the bottom of the vehicle/cape, which uses two pegs to attach to Golden Armor Batman’s back. 

2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Golden Armor Batman

As a vehicle, it’s a cool little sled with treads, skis, and a big missile launcher at the front. It’s not a Batmobile or anything, but I think it’s convincing enough to use as a sort of scout or quick pursuit vehicle. 

2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Golden Armor Batman

2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Golden Armor Batman

You can also attach the vehicle to the figure’s back, where it becomes a cape. It has the right shape, including the scallops at the bottom, to look like an armored, high-tech version of Batman’s signature garment. The missile launcher can move up and down and swivel from side to side in either configuration, which means you can aim it in any direction. 

2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Golden Armor Batman

Twisting the dial on the back of the launcher fires the spring-loaded missiles in rapid succession, which I’m sure you’ve seen on other toys before. The missiles fire well enough, but mine were warped right out of the package. It’s still a pretty fun action feature, though. 

The vehicle’s skis become “hand weapons,” which are pretty weak. He holds them awkwardly over his arms (an under-arm stance won’t work because the cape gets in the way) and they don’t look like much. They have dishes at the front that look like they could emit some sort of stun ray or something, and they could block swords or other melee weapons, but overall they’re pretty dubious. He doesn’t hold them especially well no matter what, even if you don’t have the cape/vehicle attached. 

Even with those minor complaints, this is a great looking armored Batman figure– it just suffers by comparison. 

Here it is with Silver Defender Batman:

2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Golden Armor Batman

And here it is with Lunar Attack Batman (Mission Masters 4), Batman from 2002’s Frozen Assets box set, and Silver Defender Batman:

2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Golden Armor Batman

Silver Defender also has the shiny chrome, but has better colors. It actually matches perfectly with Total Armor Batman (Mask of the Phantasm)’s shield and Desert Knight Batman (Legends of Batman)’s sword, if you want to go all-in on the whole armored knight look. It rules. 

2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Golden Armor Batman

Lunar Attack Batman has outrageous colors and glows in the dark, so of course it’s a winner. 

The repaint from the Frozen Assets box set is done up in classic Batman colors and looks amazing, especially when it’s wearing a cape. 

Golden Armor Batman just can’t compete with any other version of the mold, in my opinion. You might like gold more than I do, though. This is one of my favorite Batman molds in all of the various Animated Series-related toy lines, but I think every other repaint outshines this one. 

Plus, it has absolutely nothing to do with Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker. It’s the odd one out. Not having any basis in the source material is nothing new for a movie-based Batman toy line, of course. I like this toy and I’m glad it exists, but it’s not the star of this admittedly half-baked toy line. 

Before we get to my verdict, I wanted to share some great photos and an excellent writeup from my friends at Inside the Batcave. They have a slightly different perspective than I do. 

Overall: This is a great Batman mold with (mostly) fun accessories. It has a lot of play value and just looks good in general. It’s not as good as any other version of the mold, though, and makes the least amount of sense out of any toy in the ROTJ line. Any other version of this Batman would be recommended or highly recommended, but Golden Armor Batman is just Mildly Recommended

2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Arkham Assault Joker Review

2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Arkham Assault Joker

Arkham Assault Joker is the last figure in the line I have package photos for. Much like Gotham Defender Batman, he was affordable carded. Arkham Assault Joker is a pretty straight forward repaint of Wildcard Joker from Hasbro’s The New Batman Adventures line. 

Here’s the card:

2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Arkham Assault Joker

And the back, so you can learn all about this obscure character:

2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Arkham Assault Joker

How about that Secret Image Card Launcher??

Yeah, his accessories are pretty over-the-top, but this is a nice-looking standard TNBA Joker figure, complete with beady eyes and no lips. 

Here’s the figure:

2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Arkham Assault Joker

Instead of Wildcard Joker’s softer, more pastel tones, Arkham Assault Joker features a gorgeous, dark metallic purple cover for his suit. He has lighter purple gloves, and his shirt looks like something you’d find in an Easter basket. It’s a good look. 

The only part of the look I don’t like is the fleshtone splotch on his hair. It’s supposed to represent the way light reflects off of his greasy, slicked back hair in the cartoon, but this particular Jack Napier makeup shade just doesn’t work really well here. It doesn’t ruin the figure or anything, though. 

The accessories are where the figure gets nuts, though. 

Take a look:

2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Arkham Assault Joker

Arkham Assault Joker comes with a green harness piece attached to a launcher, a tripod for the launcher, a playing card themed projectile for the launcher, and two giant green revolvers that attach to the sides of the launcher. It’s kind of a thing. 

Here’s what he looks like with all the gear attached:

2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Arkham Assault Joker

It’s a bit unwieldy, but it’s pretty stable. The two tone coloring on the harness/launcher and the playing card projectile are quite fetching, too. The figure grips the launcher’s handles and, when you pull the handles back, the card shoots out. It’s a big, heavy, blunt projectile that launches with impressive force. Don’t shoot it at your pets or anyone with a good lawyer. 

The green revolvers peg onto the side of the launcher to add extra firepower. The figure technically can hold the revolvers in his hands, but his grip is awkward and they’re too big even for the Clown Prince of Pistols. 

2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Arkham Assault Joker

(Funny side note: These guns, rendered in black plastic, were released with Commissioner Gordon from the New Batman Adventures line. His hands are posed to be aiming them from the hip, but they look absolutely ridiculous and he can barely hold them. Smart move, Hasbro!)

The whole contraption seems like something The Joker would use for a few seconds before it ran out of ammo or was disabled by Batgirl or Nightwing. So while this isn’t a practical set of accessories for the Joker, why is that a complaint? Do you want the Joker to be reasonable and practical? Do we want every Joker figure to just come with a knife and a pistol for the rest of eternity? I certainly do not. 

Here he is next to a few other TNBA-style Jokers. The one on the left is from Hasbro’s Alliance of Fear box set (a repaint of the original BTAS Joker) and the one on the left is from Mattel’s early Batman Animated line, circa 2003 or so:

2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Arkham Assault Joker

And here he is with another wide array of Jokers– Jetpack Joker (Mask of the Phantasm), Joker from the 1997 Rogues Gallery box set, Machine Gun Joker, and a BTAS style Joker from Mattel’s Justice League Unlimited line:

2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Arkham Assault Joker

This is a great looking figure with fun accessories. Joker appears in ROTJ’s flashback scenes looking similar to this figure, too, so his inclusion makes sense in the movie line. The problem, though, isn’t what he is– it’s what he isn’t. 

Here’s what Joker looked like for the majority of the film:

joker from return of the joker

Same old Joker, but wearing a stylish black getup with shorter-cropped hair. That would have been such an easy figure to make. They could have used Rumble Ready Riddler’s body and sculpted a new head. Or modified an old head. Or just used Wildcard Joker’s head. Whichever one they did, it would have been great and it would have been better than this. 2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Arkham Assault Joker

This figure could have been more accurate to the film, too. The Joker design for TNBA was strange in the fact that it omitted his trademark lips. I read somewhere along the line that Bruce Timm and the rest of the team eventually regretted that design, and Joker’s lips were returned (just as he was) for Return of the Joker

So, all they really had to do was paint some lips on him. But that was not the Hasbro way. 

Overall: Taken on its own merits, this is a great Joker figure. It’s an attractive repaint of a definitive animated-style Batman release. The accessories are fun, too. If you want a TNBA Joker in your collection, this one is a good choice. It’s Recommended, but it’s not everything a Joker figure from this film should have been. 

2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Rapid Switch Bruce Wayne Review

2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Rapid Switch Bruce Wayne

Back in 2000 and 2001, this toy always caught my eye on store shelves. I wasn’t buying any Batman figures at the time, but I was drawn to this one. I’d always stare longingly at it while I bought Lego sets, transformers, or Gundam models. But I never purchased Rapid Switch Bruce Wayne when it was on store shelves. 

There’s just something about the orange trench coat that I love. It’s kind of ridiculous, but it just looks cool. Beyond the coat, this is just a fantastic looking Bruce Wayne figure. This is one of the only Bruce-to-Batman toys that puts Bruce first– and I’m glad at least one of them did. 

This figure is a repaint of Undercover Bruce Wayne, who was released early on in Hasbro’s TNBA line. Here’s a look at that one from Inside the Batcave:

And here’s a look at this glorious repaint. 

With his trench coat:

2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Rapid Switch Bruce Wayne

Without his coat:

2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Rapid Switch Bruce Wayne

With his Batman gear:

2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Rapid Switch Bruce Wayne

The head sculpt is a spot-on TNBA Bruce Wayne and (other than the orange) this is a great representation of how he looked in most of the post-BTAS animated series. 

The figure’s overcoat is all one piece, and it fits nicely over Bruce’s torso. If you’ve ever played with a Kenner Star Wars Power of the Force 2 or later figure with a removable plastic robe or cloak, this piece is similar to that. 

Without the coat, Bruce looks pretty plain. He has a utility belt, bat insignia, and a nice little painted batarang on the back of the belt. This is a great “using the computer in the Batcave” look– what Bruce looks like when he’s working at home, before he puts his cape and cowl on and hits the town. 

Here are the figure’s accessories:

2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Rapid Switch Bruce Wayne

He comes with the overcoat, a one piece cape and cowl, a gauntlet with two large blades, a gauntlet with two smaller blades, a disc launcher, and a disc. 

The disc launcher was originally released in different colors with Knightsend Batman from Kenner’s Legends of Batman line. I don’t have the correct disc launcher for the figure, so I substituted one from the WB Store exclusive repaint of Knightsend Batman. 

Thankfully, Inside the Batcave came to save the day. Here’s what Rapid Switch Bruce Wayne’s actual disc launcher and disc look like:

2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Rapid Switch Bruce Wayne by Inside the Batcave

(Interestingly, the disc launcher Rapid Switch Bruce Wayne was pictured with on his packaging was grey with a yellow disc, instead of yellow with an orange disc.)

Speaking of “not quite right” accessories, the Batman gear I’m picturing with this toy actually comes from the Bruce Wayne figure from Hasbro’s 2001 Puppets of Crime box set. They’re almost exactly the same, but the accessories I’ve pictured here have slightly shinier silver paint. 

Here’s the figure All Geared Up:

2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Rapid Switch Bruce Wayne

The Batman look isn’t nearly as good for this figure as the Bruce Wayne look. I don’t mind, since I wanted a Bruce figure more than a Batman figure, but I’m sure a couple of kids were disappointed with it.

Just for good measure, here he is with most of the other Animated Series Bruce-to-Batman figures:

2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Rapid Switch Bruce Wayne

The cowl’s chin strap is a bit flimsy, and the figure’s bare hands are easily seen through the gauntlets, which is not a great look. The figure’s bare neck is also visible, which I don’t love. 

One gauntlet has a set of two blades, which are fun for play, but not something you especially associate with Batman. The other gauntlet has two smaller blades, which could represent some sort of grappling hooks or anything else you can imagine. They’re not bad. 

The figure can hold the disc launcher, but it’s a bit awkward. I would have never used this accessory as a kid. Undercover Bruce Wayne didn’t include this accessory, so I’m not sure why Rapid Switch Bruce Wayne does. The launcher works just fine, though, and the disc travels a far distance. I’m sure some kids liked it back in 2000. 

Remember that Puppets of Crime Bruce I mentioned a little while ago? Here’s Rapid Switch Bruce with that figure:

2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Rapid Switch Bruce Wayne

Obviously, the figure looks better and more realistic in grey than it does in orange or red. This grey version is the best version of the mold, and I personally think it’s the best Bruce Wayne toy anyone’s ever released. It looks good with the trench coat and it looks great without it. 

I’m a sucker for any “secret identity” superhero figure, and I also love figures with removable armor. Rapid Switch Bruce Wayne checks both of those boxes. While it’s the most brightly colored and outlandish of the three versions of this mold, I still find it charming. Even if it’s a bit of a random fit for the ROTJ toy line, I’m glad they included it. 

Overall: I love this figure. It’s not quite as good as the version from the Puppets of Crime box set, but it’s still fantastic. Unfortunately, it tends to be pricey, which is why mine is incomplete. This figure is Strongly Recommended, but you’d probably be just as happy with either of the other versions of the mold. But still, you should get one of them– this is the best Bruce Wayne toy ever released. 

2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Gotham Knight Batman Review

2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Gotham Knight Batman

Lastly, we come to the only Terry McGinnis Batman figure in the line. This is the most appropriate inclusion for a set of ROTJ toys, seeing as how it’s our future protagonist rendered in mostly show-accurate colors. 

Gotham Knight Batman is a repaint of Future Knight Batman, who was released in the first wave of Batman Beyond toys. Future Knight was one of the least chaotic and experimental designs from the toy line, and it makes a good basis for a “normal” Batman of  the Future. 

Here’s the figure: 

2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Gotham Knight Batman

The figure is cast in a beautiful smoky, dark grey translucent plastic with appropriate paint applications for the eyes, the bat logo, and the belt. This is Terry pretty much exactly how he appears in the film and the TV series. Most Batman Beyond figures were on the tall and bulky side, and that’s true for this figure, too– it’s probably a bit on the swole side for Terry’s lean physique. But that’s a minor complaint, since that was Hasbro’s house style for the toy line. 

Here are the accessories:

2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Gotham Knight Batman

Again, a bit of a caveat– these are the accessories from an extra Future Knight Batman I picked up. Gotham Knight Batman’s actual weapons are cast in gold plastic, and the wings are a bit different. Since I’m never excited to  buy any gold plastic from 1987-2003, I’m fine with the silver accessories. Silver just looks better, too. 

I do have one of Gotham Knight Batman’s proper wings to show you a comparison. The wings look nearly identical on the front-facing red side, but on the back side you’ll see that Future Knight has some dark blue-grey paint and Gotham Knight has sort of a red-to-black gradient paint deco. They both look nice, but I’m honestly fine with how the Future Knight wings work here. 

Take a look:

2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Gotham Knight Batman

The wings just peg into the figure’s back. They swivel up and down freely, so you can get a good range of expressive positions out of them:

2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Gotham Knight Batman

The wings are on the large side, but they are an important part of the Batman Beyond costume. It’s honestly great to have a Terry McGinnis figure where the wings are optional, so you can achieve both looks from the show. 

Gotham Knight Batman also comes with two “ion swords” which are two unorthodox scythe weapons loaded with technological details. The figure can hold them in various ways, and they also peg onto the figure’s wings for storage. That’s pretty neat!

2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Gotham Knight Batman

So far, my review of this figure has been all glowing praise, but he has some pretty big problems. On my copy, the left leg is a bit different than that of Future Knight Batman, and forces the figure into a wider, more unstable stance. I’m not the original owner of this figure, so it could be slightly warped from age and use, or it could be a problem every Gotham Knight Batman shares. 

2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Gotham Knight Batman

He honestly doesn’t stand up without his wings plugged in. You can fudge it if you kick the left leg forward to an awkward degree, but he’s still not stable. He stands just fine with his wings plugged in, but if he’s also holding his weapons, he becomes unstable again. 

Here is is with Future Knight Batman, who was cast in a beautiful clear blue plastic:

2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Gotham Knight Batman

And here he is with Power Cape Batman, who was one of the few other “regular” Batman Beyond designs in the toy line:

2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Gotham Knight Batman

I like Future Knight’s blue plastic much more than Gotham Knight’s smoky grey. They both do a good job of representing Terry’s “stealth mode” cloaking ability in the show, and Gotham Knight is a good representation of a normal Batman of the Future, but I just think the blue is much nicer to look at. 

If you want a “regular” Batman Beyond toy, Power Cape Batman is the better figure. It has better articulation, a show-accurate batarang, and show-accurate boots jets, too. 

This toy doesn’t only suffer because of stability and quality control and because there are better options– it also suffers because of its price. This is one of the most expensive figures in the Batman Beyond toy line, precisely because it’s a no-frills version of the regular Terry McGinnis Batman. I was only able to find an incomplete version in a mixed lot for a price I was comfortable with, hence the mismatched accessories here. 

If you can find a copy of Gotham Knight Batman without quality control issues at a price you like, then go for it. But I don’t think that’s very likely, and he’s not worth $50-80. 

Overall: Gotham Knight Batman has some problems, which don’t sit well alongside his high aftermarket price tag. You’re better off with either Future Knight or Power Cape Batman, honestly. Taken as its own thing, though, this toy does look objectively good and is a great representation of the titular Batman Beyond character, so even with its issues it is Mildly Recommended

2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Toy Line Conclusion 

2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Toy Line

This is a fun toy line, but it could have been so much more. I like each of these individual figures (some more than others) based on their individual appeal, but most of them aren’t a great representation of what you see in the film. 

I think a repaint of Power Armor Batman, which featured an unmasked Terry McGinnis head sculpt, should have replaced Golden Armor Batman to even the line out a little bit. And Hasbro should have at least done a little more work on The Joker! 

Just for fun, here are a few nicer group photos from Inside the Batcave:

Thanks for reading! And another huge thanks to my friends at Inside the Batcave. Make sure you’re following them on Instagram

What’s your favorite movie tie-in toy line? What’s your favorite Batman Beyond figure? Did Return of the Joker traumatize you? Let’s chat about all these things and more in the comments

6 thoughts on “2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Toy Line Review

  1. A-Man

    I still hate TNBA Joker look, Go-Go DoDo black eyes.

    Didn’t realize the scaling difference from TAS figures to TNBA ones.

    What a lazy effort by Hasbro. I think Mask of the Phantasm was so poorly received (box office wise and sales wises) they chose not to invest new tooling in the direct to video movies.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I will say that I think TNBA’s Joker design is the weakest of all the DCAU shows, but I still can’t outright hate it because TNBA is such a good show. How much of that was WB’s “sure, do whatever you want” attitude towards the creative team I do not know, but it certainly gives the show its own identity.

      And yeah, I didn’t realize the size and scale difference entirely until taking these photos. To a kid playing with the toys it’s probably not much of a big deal, and on a shelf it’s probably not a dealbreaker, either. Also easy enough to fudge in photos. So, it’s there and it’s noticeable, but it doesn’t hurt the toy line for me or anything.

      Good point on Mask of the Phantasm! Critics definitely loved it when they reappraised it, and everyone loves it now (for good reason– it’s the best Batman movie, imo) but it probably WAS the reason we never saw dedicated figures for Sub-Zero, Mystery of the Batwoman, Starcrossed, or anything else.

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      1. A-Man

        IIRC, I read that many of the character redesigns for TNBA were to reduce animation costs, BTAS being a relatively expensive show to make I guess. There was probably the intent of streamlining Batman’s world into a planned DC animated universe since Superman TAS was debuting alongside TNBA and a crossover 2-part was produced.

        Siskel and Ebert both liked Mask of the Phantasm on its release, and those jerks hated a lot of decent stuff. But adults and kids only saw certain types of animated movies at the cinema back then, cartoony musicals. Not sure that’s changed too much, really. Spiderman into the Spiderverse gained some traction, I suppose. (I didn’t see it)

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I didn’t realize that the “Kenner” style Batman figures were still being made in 2000. This was one of the last “fun” toylines that wasn’t influenced by collectors.

    I hope some of these designs make it into the Spinmaster line. I REALLY want to see a Machine Gun Joker there. That’s a great look. I hope they can make that happen at some point.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment!

      I hope Spin Master veers into some Kenner/Hasbro homages, as well. It seems like they either do the more “modern” comic designs (which is both expected and appropriate) and their own thing most of the time, but I think there’s room to throw in some other tribute figures, as well. Hasbro does it to great success in Marvel Legends and NECA seems to do well with those in the Alien and Predator lines, as well.

      Once Mattel picked up the Batman line from Hasbro, they still did Kenner-style Animated Batman designs for quite a while. Their early stuff based on the Justice League cartoon was very fun and much like the Kenner toys before it. When they got to Justice League Unlimited, though, the toys both got lazy (endless repaints, using the same body for different characters) AND targeted to collectors. I love those figures, but they’re not the greatest toys. They existed solely to fill out display shelves. They still work nicely in photos with the older Kenner and Hasbro stuff, but they really don’t have the same sturdy construction, attention to detail, and play value.

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