Let me introduce you to the Catwoman test – hopes and fears with The Dark Knight Rises

Been thinking about comic book films...

Last night I made the brave choice of watching all of the 2004 Catwoman film. And it got me thinking about how we judge films as well as videogames or any media text for that matter. It also got me thinking about how Catwoman will be portrayed in The Dark Knight Rises.

Yesterday, I put forward that Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is essentially not that bad a film. The people that rip on it do so for the silliest of things. A similar situation has been occurring with videogame reviews lately, where a huge swathe of highly reviewed games has led to a situation where a 6, 7 or an 8 is not a good enough rating, when clearly they are.

But what is this Catwoman test that I speak of? Well, I propose a new baseline for bad, that in order to consider any media text truly appalling, it must be rated against the 2004 Catwoman film, because it truly is one of the worst media texts to have ever been created on this Earth. It’s flawed beyond redemption, because too many fundamental aspects of it from the narrative, to the acting to the concept are just plain awful.

So if you think something is bad, compare it to this film and actually you may realise that what you’re criticising is actually okay, not appalling.

Still not there.

Now on to the second part of this blog post. Okay, so I’m a little worried about how the character of Catwoman is going to be portrayed in The Dark Knight Rises. Let’s face it, the character in the self-titled film, played by Halle Berry, was like Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman from Batman Returns on really bad Skittles. Yet Pfeiffer’s Catwoman wasn’t really a decent portrayal of the character either, considering what Frank Miller had established in Batman: Year One a couple of years previously.

Having read quite a few Catwoman graphic novels/trades this year, such as Catwoman: Relentless, and series such as Batman: The Long Halloween, Catwoman: When in Rome and Batman: Dark Victory I’m kind of hoping for a character that has had a strikingly less charmed life than Bruce Wayne. Basically, I’m hoping for a gritty Selenia Kyle who’s a thief either to survive and/or as a Robin Hood kind of figure. To me, this is the only way the character can really be done any justice.

Though ensuring that Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman has no supernatural origins would go part of the way to ensuring that the character is truer to the comics. And considering Christopher Nolan has been steering away from metahumans in his portrayal of Batman, we should be okay.

We just need a highly successful cat burglar.

Of course we have to wait until summer next year in order to really find out how the characterisation has gone. Well, unless they release a trailer that isn’t a teaser.


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