For many months comic book fans heard and read about the engagement and pending wedding of Batman and Catwoman. The event was scheduled for July 4th when the latest edition of the “Batman” comic was released. There were many against the union, including The Joker, so the road to the alter was rocky. Did the wedding go as planned? I will leave that up to you to find out. With all the attention given to her romance and complicated relationship with Batman since her debut in 1940, and her new solo comic book coming up, I have decided to take a look at the portrayal of the character of Catwoman/Selina Kyle in the live action format and rate the performances. I will rate each performance with cat paws (of course!), with the 4 paws being the highest rating.
*Julie Newmar (“Batman” television series)-
Newman is the mother of live action Catwoman, and she played the character on the show from 1966-1968. She really made the character her own, and added sass, humor and danger to her portrayal. Newmar had amazing chemistry with Adam West (Batman), and will always be the first and one of the best of the Catwomen. 4 paws
*Eartha Kitt (“Batman television series)-
When Newmar left the show, Kitt took over the role in 1968, and took the role in a slightly different direction. Kitt was a bit more villainous that Newmar, and often seemed a bit too mean. However, no one could purr like Kitt. Just pull up a scene with her on YouTube and you will see what I mean. 3 paws
*Lee Meriwether (“Batman” 1966 movie)-
With Newmar unavailable for the big screen version of the television series, Meriwether took over the role. In this version Catwoman is also referred to Miss Kitka, and has a Russian accent better suited to a James Bond movie. She had the same costume as Newmar, carried around a black cat, and tried her best to hiss appropriately. Her performance is the weakest of the 1960’s Catwomen and thankfully she never returned to the role. 2 paws
*Michelle Pfeiffer (“Batman Returns”)-
Catwoman made a splashy return to the live action format in the 1992 Tim Burton directed sequel to the 1989 “Batman” film. Her costume was skin tight and shiny, and she had a lethal whip to fight with. In the film, even though Selina/Catwoman has a strong attraction to Bruce Wayne/Batman, she is almost a total villain after and accident “transforms” her into Catwoman. Pfeiffer is amazing and sexy in the role, and steals the film from her co-stars. The major problem I have with this version of Catwoman would be how she is presented as a bit psycho, which she has never been in the comics, thus causing her to lose a paw in my rating. Nevertheless, the role is one of Pfeiffer’s best. 3 paws
2002 was the year the show “Birds of Prey” hit television, and Catwoman was featured in several scenes in the shows intro and revealed to have married Batman, with the two having a daughter who became a hero named The Huntress. The actress in the intro scenes was never revealed, but she really looked awesome. What a missed opportunity.
*Halle Berry (“Catwoman 2004 movie)-
The first problem with this portrayal (among many) is the fact the character in the film is NOT Selina Kyle, but someone named Patience Phillips. There is also no mention of Batman (!) in the film, and this Catwoman has metahuman powers. If we had never seen or heard of Catwoman before, this may have had a bit of potential, but alas Warner Brothers chose to change history and no one bought it. Catwoman’s costume was “interesting”, and the film had a weak villain and choppy script. Poor Berry did her best to no avail, and WB wasted an iconic character in this major misstep. 2 paws
*Anne Hathaway (“The Dark Knight Rises 2012 film)-
Catwoman made a triumph return to the big screen in the Christopher Nolan directed third film of his “Dark Knight” trilogy. Even though she is only referred to as Selina Kyle in the film, we all know she is Catwoman. To date, this is the most accurate theatrical version of the character many fans, including myself, love from the comic books. Kyle is a cat burglar in the film, and develops a romance with Batman/Bruce despite betraying him early in the film. Eventually Catwoman comes to the aid of Batman, and the two fight against villain Bane. Hathaway’s costume takes elements from the comic books, and Newmar’s costume, even though her “cat ears” double as eye goggles. Hathaway rocks in the role. 4 paws
*Camren Bicondova (“Gotham” television series)-
Bicondova co-stars in the Fox series as Selina Kyle/Cat in her early years. When the show began in 2014, Kyle and Bruce Wayne are both very young, and as the show is about to have its 5th and final season, I’m certain we will see a fully developed Catwoman by the series end. Bicondova began with all the Catwoman traits we know, and eventually donned a leather style costume and mask on occasion. She has the usual complicated comic book accurate relationship with Bruce, and is one of the many highlights of the show. Bicondova is a kitten with claws. 4 paws
If you have seen the “Justice League” film, you may have noticed the ending features a cameo by Kyle wearing sunglasses and being hauled off to jail after being captured by Wonder Woman. What did Kyle attempt to steal? A cat sculpture of course! I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of Catwoman on the big screen. Meow.