- "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.
Discovering Shreck's Secret
At her apartment, things were no better. Selina listened to unpleasant messages on her answering machine: the first from her mother (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.
Selina fell through several red canvas awnings adorned with the Shreck cat logo, softening a fall that would have been fatal otherwise. She landed in an alleyway, knocked unconscious with only a mild concussion. She was mysteriously revived by local stray cats she fed from her apartment window, including her favorite Miss Kitty, 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 conference room 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.
Ransacking Shreck's and Fighting Batman
A few days later, during an attack on the city by the Red Triangle Gang, Selina became inspired. She decided to seize the opportunity as cover while she ransacked Shreck's and caused a major explosion on its ground floor, which brought her into conflict with Batman. In the ensuing fight, Selina was quickly defeated by Batman but managed to get him to drop his guard. Catwoman was able to land a severe kick from her stiletto heeled boot to his abdomen. Immediately after she began wildly attacking him with her bullwhip, knocking Batman over a ledge and ensuring him with it, where she began to taunt him. During this Batman grabbed a Napalm Capsule from his belt threw it at her arm, causing her to fall on a slick rooftop. Scrambling to save herself from falling, Batman pulled her up to a ledge in front of a large penthouse window, where the two seemed to have established a temporary truce. All of a sudden, Catwoman took Batman aback by behaving in an openly seductive way: first she caressed his cowl, then she sensually explored his body armor with her clawed hand, and eventually she stroked his abdominal protections with her fingers. Once again deceiving him, she found a weak point in the batsuit (on the flank just above the batbelt), and abruptly stabbed him in the side. Although in severe pain from the punctures, Batman reacted by immediately knocking her off the building, causing Catwoman to plummet into the back of a truck carrying sand, absorbing the force of her fall.
Alliance with the Penguin
Sometime after this Catwoman appeared at the second floor of the Cobblepot Office Building, making herself comfortable on his victorian brass bed with Miss Kitty. She proposed an alliance with the Penguin to get back at Batman. Catwoman dismissed Penguin's idea to kill the Dark Knight by turning the Batmobile into a bomb, claiming he'd have even more power as a martyr. Instead Batman needed to be brought down to their level, framed as a criminal. After brushing off Penguin's sexual advances, she playfully threatened his canary by placing it her mouth. Penguin responded by immediately holding a hidden blade from his umbrella to her cat. Afterward Catwoman began to "bathe" herself by licking the gloves of her vinyl suit rather than propose ideas on how exactly to frame Batman. Penguin soon devised a new plan to frame him for kidnapping the Ice Princess and controlling the Batmobile by remote to attack pedestrians.
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. A flock of caged bats were released from the tree when the girl's body hit the button, swarming the plaza. When Batman was shot by police, Catwoman approached him and tried to stab him again, but he kicked her aside and left, transforming his cape into a glider.
Catwoman and Penguin celebrated the success of the plan and drank champagne while looking down at the bat swarmed ceremony. Catwoman expressed dislike of his murder of the girl, indicating she was misled about the lethality of Penguin's plan. She again rejected an advance from the Penguin, who responded by tying her neck to his helicopter umbrella. She eventually managed to free herself, taking a short fall into a greenhouse directly across from her apartment window, once again displaying incredible luck.
The next day, Selina attended a rally held by the Penguin, and witnessed his followers turn on him. When the crowd began to react negatively, she left abruptly, knowing he always carried a gun and would likely react violently.
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.
Killing Shreck at the Old Zoo
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, shoving Shreck into a electrical transformer connected to a massive generator. Batman 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 Bruce while the pair debated. Selina challenged the gun he fired at her four times, hitting her once on her left shoulder and the grazing sides of her thighs. During this Selina began ranting that she had nine lives, counting each gunshot as a "life" even though two of Shreck's shots missed her completely. Shreck looked at his in gun in disbelief after emptying his revolver at such close range. Through sheer force of will Selina lumbered into the emptied revolver and began laughing wildly. Pulling the stun gun from her right boot, she held it up ominously infront of her open mouth as she leaned in for a kiss - pulling a wire from the transformer over their heads. A sparking electrical overload ensued, causing an explosion after a chain reaction giving Shreck a fitting death. In the aftermath, Selina's body was nowhere to be found.
Selina later revealed a pristine, mended catsuit on a rooftop shortly after this, while observing the Batsignal.
Selina presumably left Gotham after that, and left her cat, Miss Kitty, with Bruce as a farewell gift.
- "You like strong women. I've done my homework. Or do I need skin-tight vinyl and a whip?"
- ―Chase Meridian to Batman[src]
- Batman Returns
- Batman Forever (mentioned only)
- Catwoman (cameo in photograph)
- Injustice Mobile (playable character)
Behind the Scenes
- For the role of Catwoman, Michelle Pfeiffer trained at the Steeleboxer kick boxing gym two hours a day for six months. She also practiced yoga, weight lifting and karate. Additionally she 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 exhibiting focus on one of Burton's main themes — duality — in the film.
Nine Lives motif
Catwoman displayed incredible luck in her brushes with death throughout the film and appeared to have nine lives, like a cat. In the course of the film, 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 sand truck.
- When the Penguin tried to hang her on his umbrella-copter.
- When Shreck shot her left shoulder.
- When Shreck shot and grazed her right thigh.
- When Shreck shot and grazed her left thigh.
- When Shreck shot for a fourth time and missed completely.
- When she pulled a wire that caused the generator near them to explode, which killed Shreck.
- Annette Bening was initially cast as Catwoman, but was forced to drop out due to pregnancy.
- 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.
- This 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, trash their living area or working area, and exact revenge on their killers (the main difference being the fact that Kyle's boss is killed much later than Isley's).
- In the scrapped sequel to Batman & Robin, entitled Batman Unchained, Catwoman reappeared as a hallucination induced by Scarecrow's Fear Gas.
- 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