As soon as the first pictures were out of Anne Hathaway as Catwoman; doubt spread across the internet. Many thought the actor was an odd choice for the role but my thoughts were always “wait and see”. Now, Will Brooker, a lecturer at my university, has critised Nolan’s Catwoman as being unrealistic and untrue to the character of Catwoman.
First of all, it seems Brooker does not know the character of Catwoman very well. I am currently reading the New 52 Catwoman comics, which have been deplored for turning Catwoman into a sex object because she has a ridiculous figure (like most females in comics) and because she shags Batman in issue #1 (coincidentally, that’s why I picked up issue #1). Let’s look at Selina Kyle, she’s what every female dreams of being, she’s the ultimate femme fatale, she’s sexy, confident, she’s athletic and has an impossibly good body. Yes, she’s the not ideal role model for little girls but she’s not intended to be. She’s fun, she’s the spanner in Bruce Wayne’s works that he can’t seem to quit because there’s something enticing about her. Catwoman has always been this way – she uses herself, even if that includes her body, to get what she wants.
That’s the comic book Catwoman, but Nolan is going for realism, every super-hero or super-villain thing has been tied down to the real world in some way which is what makes his films fantastic. Brooker argues Catwoman’s new outfit design is not realistic. Firstly he argues that Catwoman is poor and would not be able to afford such high-tech gear. Now let’s get one thing straight – Catwoman is not poor. She steals very valuable things for a living, and he’s right, she doesn’t do it for profit she does it for the challenge, for fun but it doesn’t mean she just chucks away the money – where does he think it goes? In the comics, Catwoman regularly goes to high-class parties in swanky, long, expensive-looking dresses in disguise. Her short black hair means she’s able to wear wigs of every colour and style to hide herself and seduce whoever she needs to to get what she wants. It’s rare for Catwoman to steal hugely expensive items, in one issue where she does get a big hit, she’s not careful with the money, instead she decides to go to a luxury spa – which leads her into trouble. Sure, Selina has never lived in a mansion, that doesn’t interest her but getting nice things that would make her job easier? I’m pretty sure that would catch her eye.
He also hates that’s she’s wearing a skin-tight catsuit, claiming she looks like a fetish model. But that’s what Catwoman is iconic for! Her outfit has come in a few different forms but at the end of the day it’s usually a skin-tight catsuit, the clue’s in the name. I sort of understand why he would complain about the silver stiletto heels, they don’t look great and comic Catwoman goes for the more comfortable Doc Martin style boots which makes much more sense. However, I think Brooker is misunderstanding Catwoman again and women in general for that matter. Selina is exactly the kind of girl who would try to pull a crime by running around in heels. Catwoman is smart but not always sensible, you’ve got to remember she’s similar to the Joker in the fact that, it’s all just a game to her which is why Batman and herself always clash so much. There’s no way she’d pull off a crime without looking good doing it.
But Catwoman is a character that has been portrayed in many different ways and I’m sure a lot of comic fans would disagree with my analysis of her. Women in comics aren’t represented very well, they are always sexed up with impossible huge tits and thighs and maybe Nolan should have made more of an effort to stray away from that but I fear if he did, Selina would have been unrecognisable. Plus it’s a damn sight better than Tim Burton’s Catwoman, who came across as just a crazy cat lady rather than a sexy jewel thief. There is no right answer on how to portray a superhero/villain but I think that maybe Batman fans should wait and see what Nolan has to offer before slamming it so early on.