Catwoman: An Iconic Character in the Batman Universe

Catwoman is, without a doubt, one of the most iconic characters in the Batman universe. What is its history and which actresses have represented it in the cinema?.

Frame from the movie 'The Batman'

Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures

LatinAmerican Post | Theoscar Mogollón González

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In the world of comics, every superhero has his villains. Batman faces endless characters and even makes alliances with the so-called anti-heroes, those whose role of importance and prominence are similar to those of the hero but with the defects of ordinary people. Precisely, Catwoman falls into this last category, and thus becomes one of the most iconic figures in the Batman universe.

After the long-awaited premiere of the Matt Reeves film, several characters have returned to the big screen with a different and unique style than their predecessors. In "The Batman", we see a more mischievous and even vulnerable Catwoman, almost similar to the one in the comics. Of course, we owe this incredible interpretation solely and exclusively to Zoë Kravitz, who knew how to create an enviable chemistry with Robert Pattinson.

Now, who is behind the Catwoman costume and what is her story? Her real name is Selina Kyle, a Gotham City thief who normally wears a tight one-piece suit and uses a whip as her weapon. It is worth mentioning that she was originally characterized as an enemy of Batman from the beginning, but over time she evolved by doing the wrong things for the right reasons. In other words, she became an antihero.

Her first appearance was in 1940 with an outfit nothing similar to today's. However, her love interest in Batman and her escapades as a jewel thief did remain. For 1987, the writer Frank Miller decided to rewrite the history of Catwoman, showing a Selina who decides to change her lifestyle in the underworld to begin to imitate the modus operandi of Batman and thus take justice into her own hands.

Catwoman in the movies: from Lee Meriwether to Michelle Pfeiffer

In 1966, the first Batman feature film was made, which was based on the television comedy of those years and which had the actress Julie Newmar as the Catwoman of that time . However, for the big screen, the role fell to Lee Meriwether, who took advantage of the fact that Julie was filming another movie. In this production we see a Catwoman in her role as a villain, teaming up with the Joker, Penguin and Riddler to try to dominate the world by kidnapping various world authorities.

Also, it is worth noting that this film was designed with the same comic tone as the series, so its villains had a certain level of ridiculousness just like the superheroes. With all that, Catwoman was shown as a cheesy and comical character, but without leaving behind the sensuality that has always characterized her.

Almost 30 years later, in 1992 specifically, director Tim Burton introduced Catwoman in the film "Batman Returns". In this universe we see Michelle Pfeiffer playing Selina, whose introduction was tragic after her boss tried to assassinate her. But, surprisingly, a group of cats manages to rescue her and at the same time grant her feline abilities, which she makes use of to take justice into her own hands.

In this case, Pfeiffer's character was characterized by being mentally divided by her alter egos, even to the point of losing her sanity. The creation of her iconic black suit, her sick thirst for revenge against her boss, as well as her way of trying to seduce Batman/Bruce, brought this Catwoman to the hearts of hundreds of fans who consider her the best on the big screen.

Read also: The Batman: the movie that the superhero needed

The Catwoman of the 21st century: from Halle Berry to Zoë Kravitz

For the year 2004, a solo project was carried out for Catwoman by the French director Pitof. However, this character had no relation to the Batman universe, but rather was a kind of inspiration from the comics. In fact, here the protagonist is called Patience Phillips and not Selina Kyle, being played by actress Halle Berry. In the end, "Catwoman" passed with more sorrow than glory in the film industry.

This plot introduces us to Patience, a graphic designer who works in a cosmetics company that is behind a huge conspiracy (a bit similar to what Burton told in 1992). When the young woman dies, she is resurrected by an Egyptian Mau cat that also gives her supernatural powers related to feline abilities. Unlike the Catwoman that we all know, here its origins have a mystical explanation .

Finally, before Zoë Kravitz put on the black suit, there was another actress who left very good feelings as Catwoman: Anne Hathaway. Her version of Selina Kyle was very close to the one in the comics, with the only detail that she was never mentioned in "The Dark Knight Rises" (2012) as Catwoman, despite referring to her clothing and demonstrating her ability to swindle upper class people.

Despite tricking Batman into leaving him at Bane's mercy, Catwoman retaliates in the end to help him save Gotham City from chaos. She was characterized as a lethal, mysterious, very intelligent woman with ambiguous morals. And it is that, in addition, in this version he did rebuild his life next to Bruce Wayne in what was one of the most epic endings in cinema.

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