As The Penguin once said to Catwoman, “Just the pussy I’ve been lookin’ for!”
But which one though?
Behind every great Bat is an even greater Cat, and the fascination and adoration with Selina Kyle aka Catwoman continues with every passing generation. The intelligent anti-hero, known for her sharp claws and sharper wit, along with her whip and stealthiness, has long been a popular character alongside Batman in the comics, going as far as to even marrying him at one point, so it’s no surprise that there have been several live-action depictions of this infamous, flirtatious ally and lover of the Dark Knight.
Heck, fans even got one solo movie that, whilst undeniably bad and loosely based on the famed cat burglar, helped paved the way for even more successful female-led superhero movies, including Wonder Woman and Birds of Prey – but that’s beside the point.
A number of actresses have donned the latex suit and charmed the man behind the bat cowl, including the latest to sink her claws, Zoe Kravitz, from Matt Reeves The Batman, now showing in cinemas. And just like our famous Caped Crusaders, we’ve taken a crack at ranking all the live-action Catwomans to have graced the movie screens, from worst to best.
As seen in: Catwoman (2004)
Halle Berry takes the worst spot because her outing as Catwoman was well, catastrophic. In this solo movie, Warner Bros decided to come up with a new character named Patience Phillips. An employee at a cosmetic company, Patience gets killed whilst attempting to stop the release of unsafe products. She was later resurrected by Egyptian cats and gains the ability to fight.
If you found the premise confusing, wait until you see her terrible costume and the over-the-top cheesy performance by Berry. Director Pitof’s overuse of quick shots and awkward angles makes the movie-watching experience a headache. In all, the movie was one of the worst movies to be made, and not even the beautiful Berry can save herself from her cringey performance. In fact, this movie was so bad, it likely tanked the future of female-led comic book flicks, until the solo Wonder Woman movie that was much better. At least Warner learns from their mistakes.
As seen in: Batman (1966)
Lee Meriwether starred opposite Adam West in Batman. Whilst West played the Dark Knight in the series from 1966 to 1968 too, Meriwether only played the character in the movie. Meriwether, who was also the winner of the Miss America 1955 pageant, earned the hearts of viewers with her sultry voice and beautiful eyes. She was classy yet oozed with dangerous sexuality. Unfortunately, her performance in the movie has been wedged between two other strong portrayals of the same character.
Julie Newmar – who plenty have dubbed the original Catwoman – played the rogue opposite West in the earlier seasons of the TV series, before Meriwether came on board for her one-time-only role in the movie. After that, the scene-stealing Eartha Kitt took on the role for the show’s third season, and cast a shadow over Meriwether’s Catwoman.
As seen in: The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman was likely the best part of The Dark Knight Rises. She was charismatic, funny, intelligent and full of life. She had incredible chemistry with Christian Bale, had pretty solid action sequences and delivered her lines with perfect timing. Most impressively, she was able to successfully land classic catty lines that truth be told, would be completely cheesy if it came out of someone else’s line. It was in all honesty, a crime that Hathaway didn’t receive more screen time. That said, despite how enjoyable Hathaway’s performance was, she lacked a certain angst and pain that was the foundation of the character in the comics.
As seen in: The Batman (2022)
Sit in any theatre, and watch how everyone in the audience tenses and sits up the moment Zoë Kravitz walks onto the screen. Kravitz is undeniably sexy as Selina Kyle, and can easily draw in viewers with a single look – bob wig on her head and gum in her mouth. Kravitz’ Catwoman toes the line between hero and victim of Gotham’s corruption – making her a far more complex and relatable Catwoman as compared to all her predecessors. Just like Hathaway, she was able to land catty lines with ease but with more flair, drama and kick seeing how her character in The Batman is one so heavily affected by her own past traumas. Hathaway was a delight, but Kravitz’ heavy performance felt more real, more human.
As seen in: Batman (1989), Batman Returns (1992)
It’s been 30 years and we’ve said it once, and we’ll say it again – the first two Tim Burton Batman movies are iconic. Not only did fans get Micahel Keaton as Batman, but they also got Danny DeVito as The Penguin, Jack Nicholson as the Joker, and topping it off was Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman. These three rogues are one of the best trios in all of Batman live-action movie films, so maybe that’s why Matt Reeves decided to bring them all back in The Batman. Kinda.
There are many reasons why Pfeiffer deserves top spot. Some may argue it’s due to the sleek and sexy costume, while others will say it’s due to Tim Burton’s fantastical direction, but we love her for all of that, plus her brilliant performance. Pfeiffer nailed her dark, hilarious and seductive lines and knows how to be completely unhinged one second, and then relatable the next. Her chemistry with Keaton was phenomenal and set the gold standard for comic book relationships on the big screen. Each dynamic was different and unique, with her romance with Batman being the most heartbreaking and transformational. Pfeiffer is extremely lovable as Selina Kyle, and she got us 100% whipped.
Which one of these actresses as Catwoman got you catnipped? Let us know below! On the other hand, check out all the live-action Batman ranked from worst to best.