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Will Catwoman Be a Breakout Feminist Character?

Features
by Melissa Silverstein
July 18, 2012 10:45 AM
6 Comments
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Catwoman

As The Dark Knight Rises hits fever peak I've been wondering about Anne Hathaway's character of Catwoman.  Will she be like Michelle Pfeiffer's in Batman Returns who as I recall was a bit bonkers, or will she be more contemporary and powerful?

Here's a report from Gloria Steinem who saw the film at the premiere this week- SPOILERS below

I saw The Dark Knight Returns last night, and among other things, Catwoman is a feminist superhero with a story line and transformation of her own -- plus class consciousness, a girl buddy, equal skills with the Batman equipment, and an apartment of her own in Old Town.  And she gets the guy.

Christopher Nolan who has made it clear this is his last Batman movie thinks that Anne Hathaway is "incredible" and deserves her own movie.

Anne is incredibly precise and articulate about the psychology of the character. She's really built it from the ground up, it's just a delight to watch her perform...The thing she does in those heels is not to be taken lightly. She's an incredible character and we're very excited to see her and hopefully we'll leave people wanting more.

Hopefully Hollywood will listen to Nolan one of the most successful directors of our time.  It would be great to see a Catwoman movie with a good script that could actually have a chance to be a success.

Anne Hathaway deserves Catwoman spin-off, says Christopher Nolan (The Guardian)
 

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6 Comments

  • Daria | July 23, 2012 8:07 PMReply

    I dont think a catwoman movie will do well at the box office but Wonder WOman has more potential at the box office than catwoman. But the problem is Warner Bros are sexist! So its impossible to have a female super hero movie of her own

  • d | July 19, 2012 5:01 PMReply

    I saw Catwoman in the theatres. I also saw the making of, to get an idea of what the creators were thinking. They had some interesting ideas; they just didn't pan out on film. Part of the reason for the exposed back was to show a very noticeable spine on Halle, to resemble a cat's movement. In fact, the director was literally making a cat woman - less like Bats, where it's metaphoric, and more like Spidey, who does move and share spider-like traits. It was certainly a different direction. Also, capoeira was used as the main fighting style, which I generally like, but in the non-cgi'd scenes looks a bit muddy. But at least by making it Catwoman, but not Selena Kyle, we were, however badly rendered, able to see a woman-centric super hero film led by a female of color; specifically african-american. The only other one was still played by Halle, just in an ensemble: x-men.


    But I am going to take the pessimistic route here and say no; a little progress perhaps, but also more of the same. Seems the same faustian bargain that women usually make: you get to be a great character, but make sure you look appealing doing it! If Nolan is saying things like, "The thing she does in those heels...", and Gary Oldman can talk about one element of an awe producing moment being Batman dropping from the sky, but Anne being "sexy" (in a Reelz channel interview), then what have we gained here? And yes, all actors need to look good. But Bale's in an armored suit, even though Batman does often wear a skin tight outfit, and Bale would look good in one. Ironically, because Halle's was so revealing, she looks like the only Catwoman, out of all of them, from the series forward, who looks like she can actually breathe.


    I hope this Catwoman is great, like Steinem says. And I hope it does fuel an actual Catwoman movie that makes money and is considered good. But a breakout? I guess we'll see. It may just be a wash, where we get different things from each movie. Was Michelle's Selena mad? Yup. But Michael's Batman was also more unstable than Christian's, so they mirrored each other. And Burton depicted that it wasn't personality craziness, but the stress of life that caused her to snap - and an overt and specific sexism fueled stress. And, at the end of the film, after Bruce says, "Good will towards men...and women", while holding her cat, the very last shot is of the bat logo, but Selena, as Catwoman, arisen and triumphant.

  • Bes | July 19, 2012 11:04 AMReply

    As long as men continue to tweak female characters written, cast, directed, filmed, costumed and edited by men they will not succeed in making a profitable super heroine movie. Give it up boys! Hunger Games is a very successful heroine movie. I've seen promos for a Catwoman movie staring Academy Award winner Hallie Berry, it not only sucked it was offensive. Hollywood has conditioned the female audience to expect sexist crap from super heroines that is why people expect sexist crap from super heroines.

  • Tony | July 19, 2012 1:34 AMReply

    Why pooh-pooh the idea of Catwoman with her own movie? Ever since the current Hollywood trend of superhero movies started a decade ago, there's never been a successful super heroine solo movie. Can we see women as superheroes to? I would hope so, but it's becoming a long wait!

  • Bes | July 18, 2012 1:25 PMReply

    It is nice that you still are able to get excited about a female character that comes from Hollywood's male minds. I have been conditioned by Hollywood's sexist portrayal of female characters to expect ridiculous garbage and ignore this sort of character. I never saw Acedemy Award winner Hallie Berry in "Catwoman" and yet from the publicity I couldn't avoid I think I have seen enough of Catwoman.

  • KelseyUSA | July 18, 2012 12:17 PMReply

    The Catwoman of Nolan's 'Gotham' is nothing like Michelle Pfeiffer's character.

    Did Steinem call the film 'Dark Knight Returns' or was that a typo?

    Would an 'Anne Hathaway as Catwoman' spin-off NOT directed by Nolan actually be that good? Probably not. I think someone else would completely butcher the character and the film by taking Nolan's version of Catwoman and planting her into someone else's vision of Gotham.

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