Hollywood has been in love with Batman ever since Lewis Wilson first strapped on the cape in 1943 for a series of short films, but the infatuation will reach absurd proportions next year when three A-list actors will be playing him on the big screen. The blitz begins in March when Robert Pattinson’s The Batman lands, and continues in November when The Flash will feature both Ben Affleck and Michael Keaton playing the Caped Crusader due to multiverse shenanigans.
The Flash will mark the first time Keaton has worn the cape since 1992’s Batman Returns, a true masterpiece thanks in part to Michelle Pfeiffer’s brilliant portrayal of Catwoman. With all due respect to Julie Newmar, Eartha Kitt, Lee Meriwether, Anne Hathaway, Lili Simmons, and Camren Bicondova, Pfeiffer brought a maniacal edge to the character that’s never been topped.
Batman Returns ends with Catwoman somehow still alive after her battle with Batman, perfectly setting the stage for Pfeiffer”s reappearance in a future Batman movie or her own spinoff film. But back in the Nineties, studios weren’t thinking in terms of expanded universes and they never made it happen despite intense interest from fans and even Pfeiffer herself.
When a Catwoman movie finally came in 2004, it starred Halle Berry. She’d just won a Best Actress Oscar for Monster’s Ball and was at the peak of her career, but the film was a major box-office disappointment and the reviews were brutal.
“Catwoman is a movie about Halle Berry’s beauty, sex appeal, figure, eyes, lips and costume design,” Roger Ebert wrote in a one-star pan. “It gets those right. Everything else is secondary, except for the plot, which is tertiary. What a letdown…The director, whose name is Pitof, was probably issued with two names at birth and would be wise to use the other one on his next project.”
That “next project” that Ebert envisioned for Pitof never came since Catwoman basically destroyed his career. It also racked up seven Golden Raspberry Awards nominations, and managed to win Worst Picture, Worst Actress, Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay. Like nearly every Golden Raspberry award winner in history, Pitof did not attend the ceremony.
To her eternal credit, Berry showed up to accept her Razzie for Catwoman. Gripping her Academy Award, and mock-gushing like she’d just won another one, she truly delivered one of the great acceptance speeches in the history of award shows.
“First of all, I want to thank Warner Brothers,” she said, “for putting me in a piece-of-shit, godawful movie. It was just what my career needed! I was at the top, and then Catwoman just plummeted me to the bottom. Love it! It’s hard being on top. It’s much better being on the bottom.
“I want to thank my manager Vincent Cirrincione,” she continued, before escorting her former, now-disgraced manager onto the stage. “This guy loves me. He loves me so much that he convinces me to do projects even when he knows they’re shit! That’s how much he really loves me. My only advice to you is next time I do a movie, if I get a chance to do another movie, maybe you should read the script. Just counting the zeros behind the one really isn’t enough. You really have to read the script. I love you, man. Love you.”
Catwoman didn’t end Berry’s career, and she even stuck around the X-Men universe through 2014’s X-Men: Days of Future Past, but it certainly did nothing to help her. And while fans are hoping that the DC Multiverse will somehow find a way to incorporate Danny DeVito’s Penguin, Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman, and maybe even figures from the Christian Bale movies , there aren’t many calls to bring Berry’s Catwoman into the fold.
It would be a wonderful form of justice, though. This is a woman who brought her Academy Award to the Golden Raspberries and called her own movie a “piece of shit.” For that alone, her Catwoman should at least get a scene in an upcoming DC movie. Not a very long one, though. That movie is horrible.