- "I am Catwoman. Hear me roar."
Catwoman was the alias of Selina Kyle.
She was a former good-hearted secretary, but after a botched attempt by Max Shreck to kill her, Kyle transformed into a crafty and seductive antagonist.
Selina Kyle worked as a secretary for the powerful and ruthless Max Shreck, the owner of a business empire and the department store Shreck's. Despite being a secretary, Selina fancied herself as more as an executive assistant, since she helped out in more ways than a mere secretary. On Christmas Eve, Shreck forgot his speech and Selina tried to take it to him, but the city came under attack by the Red Triangle Circus Gang and she herself was taken hostage by one of the clowns. Batman intervened, and saved her by knocking the clown out. Selina instantly became fascinated with Batman, who then took his leave. Selina took her defeated clown captor's taser home as a self-defense weapon.
At her apartment, things were no better. Selina listened to unpleasant messages on her answering machine: the first from her parents, who expressed disappointment at her for not going home for Christmas; the second from her boyfriend, who decided to go on a Christmas holiday on his own on advice from his psychologist; and the third from herself, which reminded her that she had to go back to work and prepare documents for Shreck's meeting with Bruce Wayne, something that she herself had forgotten.
As she went through the files, Selina inadvertently discovered that Shreck's proposed Power Plant would suck power from Gotham City, store it, and effectively bring Gotham under control of the Shreck Family. Shreck himself appeared and confronted her about that information, and although Selina swore that she would not let it slip, Shreck pushed her out of the window in order to silence her.
Though she apparently died, Selina was mysteriously revived by alley cats and returned home in a daze. When her answering machine gave an advertisement on a perfume that was sold by Shreck, Selina suffered a psychotic breakdown: she ransacked her apartment, destroyed her possessions, and sewed a homemade cat costume in preparation for her revenge on Shreck. After she called herself Catwoman, Selina became a vigilante in her own right; on her first night, she brutally beat a mugger for trying to rape a helpless woman, but then chastised the woman for being unable to defend herself.
The next day, Selina appeared at Shreck's Office while he spoke with Bruce Wayne, covered in bandages and sported a more confident and assertive attitude, that somewhat impressed Shreck. Selina feigned amnesia and an instant attraction developed between herself and Bruce.
A few days later, during an attack on the city by the Red Triangle Gang, Catwoman blew up the bottom floor of Shreck's, which brought her into conflict with Batman. In the ensuing fight, Catwoman stabbed Batman in the abdomen (not severely), while Batman napalmed Catwoman's arm and knocked her into a truck of cat litter, which killed her a second time. In response, Catwoman joined forces with The Penguin to destroy Batman, and the two came up with a plan to frame him for kidnapping The Ice Princess and kill him by turning the Batmobile into a bomb.
Meanwhile, while in the city, Selina came across Bruce and the two talked for a while before Bruce invited her for an early dinner at Wayne Manor. Over dinner, Selina and Bruce spoke about Bruce's personal life, and Bruce revealed that he had trouble with his previous girlfriend, Vicki Vale, over his apparent difficulty with duality. Selina asked Bruce if Vicki's assumptions were true, and though Bruce was reluctant to answer, telling Selina "You might not let me kiss you", he confirmed that Vicki was indeed right. Seeing a kindred spirit in Bruce, Selina leaped on him and the two began kissing passionately. Their attempts to become more intimate resulted in almost exposing the other's injury and they abruptly stopped. Just then, they saw a news bulletin about the Ice Princess's kidnapping with Batman as the apparent culprit. As Bruce excused himself in order to suit up, Selina left and got into her costume to carry out her and Penguin's plan.
Catwoman and Batman arrived at the same time and briefly fought before Catwoman forcibly dragged the Ice Princess to the building's roof. To her shock, the Penguin had engineered the Ice Princess to fall off the building while making it look as if Batman pushed her. When Batman was shot and injured from a fall, Catwoman approached him and tried to stab him again, but he kicked her aside and left on his glider. Later on, Catwoman rejected an advance from the Penguin, who responded by tying her neck to his helicopter umbrella. Though she managed to free herself, Selina fell into a greenhouse and lost a third life.
With her alliance with the Penguin shattered, Selina devised a plan to kill Shreck herself at his annual Maxquerade Ball with a concealed gun. Selina encountered Bruce at the ball and they danced for a while before she revealed her intentions to him. In the process, they discovered each other's identities, but before they could leave to talk outside, the Penguin attacked, revealed his plan to kidnap the firstborn sons of Gotham, and took Shreck himself hostage.
Catwoman, with her costume still shredded after the greenhouse crash, found Shreck trying to escape from the Penguin's lair , confronted him and was ready to finish him off. Batman intervened and requested that they hand him over to the GCPD, but Catwoman objected on the basis that no jury would ever convict Shreck. Batman unmasked himself as a sign of peace and implored Selina to abandon her vendetta and live with him at Wayne Manor, but Selina refused and was determined to end things then and there. Shreck drew a gun and shot Selina four times, but ran out of bullets. With two lives remaining, Selina sacrificed her penultimate life by electrocuting Shreck with the taser that she previously obtained and caused a massive explosion. In the aftermath, Selina's body was nowhere to be found, but it was later revealed that she survived as she was shown (with her costume fixed) looking up at the Batsignal in the ending scene.
Selina presumably left Gotham after that, and left her cat, Miss Kitty, with Bruce as a farewell gift.
Nine Lives motif EditCatwoman appeared to have nine lives, like a cat. In the course of Batman Returns, she lost eight of them:
- When Shreck pushed her out the window (before she became Catwoman.).
- When Batman knocked her off a building and into a truck that was full of cat litter.
- When the Penguin sent her drifting away on his helicopter umbrella and she fell into a greenhouse.
- When Shreck shot her.
- Shreck shot her for a second time.
- Shreck shot her for a third time.
- Shreck shot her for a fourth time.
- When she kissed Shreck with a taser, and, while they were electrified, grabbed a wire that caused the generator near them to explode, which killed Shreck.
- Batman Returns
- McDonalds and Diet Coke commercials
- The Bat, the Cat, and the Penguin (Cameo)
- Batman Forever (Mentioned only)
- Catwoman (Cameo in photograph)
Behind the ScenesEdit
- For the role of Catwoman, Michelle Pfeiffer learned yoga, weight lifting, kick boxing and karate. She also spent three months training with a 12 foot bullwhip. Pfeiffer called that one of her most "challenging roles" and critics called it one of her most "iconic roles" that is famous forever.
- Bruce and Selina discovered their dual personalities, and thus exposed one of Burton's main themes — duality — in the film.
- Tim Burton was set to direct a Catwoman spin-off film, with Daniel Waters returning as screenwriter. This prevented the character from appearing in Batman Forever.
- In the scrapped sequel to Batman & Robin, entitled Batman Unchained, Catwoman would be reappear as a hallucination by Scarecrow's Fear Gas.
- That Catwoman was used in one of Christina Aguilera's costume changes in her music video for "Keeps Gettin' Better" and the live-action TV show, Birds of Prey.
- Her character arc is strikingly similar to that of Pamela Isley/Poison Ivy from Batman & Robin. Both are glasses-clad women who get involved in an argument with their abusive bosses, who then attempt to kill them, but they somehow survive and exact revenge on their killers. The main difference being the fact that Kyle's boss is killed much later than Isley's.
- Catwoman was never seen again after Batman Returns, which was consistent with each of Batman's various girlfriends who appeared in one movie each. Selina's fate was left unknown, though she only had one of her nine metaphorical lives left by the end of the film. With that "reality", and her attempted murder avenged, Selina may have chosen to protect herself, and had given up her dangerous activity as Catwoman. It was possible that she sought out Bruce. Bruce was again single at the end of the events of Batman & Robin, which seemingly took place only five years after the events of Batman Returns.
- See: Catwoman (Michelle Pfeiffer)/Gallery for additional images