Catwoman: coudn’t she be more than just sexy?

Catwoman is a 2004 American superhero film based on the DC Comics character of the same name. The long-awaited movie had a very little cultural impact or value and is essentially remembered for Berry’s overly-sexualised costumes.

©Den of Greek

The film follows Patience Phillips, played by Hall Berry, a meek and frustrated designer who discovers a conspiracy within the cosmetics company she works for. After being killed by the conspirators, Patience is revived by a feral cat which breathes life back to her and grants her superhuman cat-like abilities. 

A betrayal is the nicest thing one could say about this movie. It is a disappointment to people who loved the character of Catwoman and to those who were impatiently waiting for a movie centered on a female superhero. Catwoman is mainly a film about Halle Berry’s facinating beauty, sex appel, figure, lips and costume design but little it has to do with having a real plot, story or cultural value. What the filmmakers saw as empowering when they redesigned the character of the Catwoman, can also be seen as condescending and derogatory. Patience begins the movie as a weak girl with bad fashion sense. Her “character growth” is basically represented by being sexualized to an exaggerated and horrifying degree, particularly once she’s endowed with the powers that enable her to become Catwoman. The new development made her have more in common with a dominatrix than a crime fighter superhero. 

©The Spool

No one denies that Catwoman has always been featured as a character that uses her sexuality to her advantage. However, the portrayal of Catwoman in the movie didn’t provide the viewer with the full package.  The balance between great sexuality and strong personality was totally missed. The filmmakers have given longer and greater thought to depicting Patience as a beautiful and sexy woman than to providing her a strong and well-built character. We can’t observe the buildup in the story; the shock and the attempt to reason and deal with the emotional turbulence that comes with the revelation, for instance. Once she’s told that she’s a Catwoman, she buys a costume, wears makeup and she’s now a superhero. 


We assume that the focus on the visual effects was, in a way, an attempt to patch up the movie’s poor story.  The entire film is tricked out with digital dazzle and cameras sliding through cityscape which appears to be more designed for a video game than for a movie. Mission failed succesfully!

The uncompelling plot, the poor performance of the cast and especially the tone-deaf depicton of the central character made Catwoman one of the biggest flops of all time.

Imane Adouay

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