How Batman’s Catwoman Romance Compares To Other Live-Action Stories

The Batman features the iconic romance of its titular character and his feline felony Catwoman, but how does the new film compare to others?

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for The Batman, which is currently playing in theaters.

The romance between Batman and Catwoman is as iconic as it is tumultuous. From Return of Batman (1992) and The dark knight rises (2012) to various cartoons and comics, their undeniable chemistry, deep friendship, and unbearably frustrating fear of commitment have captivated fans for decades. Although not all media succeed in capturing this dynamic, the new The Batman– featuring Robert Pattinson and Zoë Kravitz in the notorious roles – seems to have an edge over previous live performances. With both characters looking for revenge this time around, Selina Kyle, perpetually furious with Kravitz, and Bruce Wayne, equally jaded with Pattinson, have an interesting and unforeseen commonality.


While Pattinson’s Batman has been widely well received by fans, his portrayal of Bruce Wayne is often criticized. Although they are identical, most fans agree that it’s important to understand this duality, noting distinct differences in the two characters. Far from Michael Keaton’s portrait of a modest, charming and charitable billionaire in Batman (1989) and its sequel, Pattinson’s Bruce Wayne is extremely antisocial, reacting with contempt when asked to face the public. He’s also drastically different from Christian Bale’s portrayal in Christopher Nolan’s trilogy, in which Bruce poses as an irresponsible, self-centered womanizer. In contrast, Pattinson’s Batman is a newly created vigilante, fully determined to seek revenge. For the majority of The Batmanis on the run, he is completely reluctant to play any type of role for any reason. This, according to some fans, is part of what makes Kravitz’s Selina her perfect counterpart.


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Although she depicts the interior of her candy pink apartment, Return of Batman does not give the public any insight into Selina Kyle’s personal life. Michelle Pfeiffer’s version of the character — while fierce, goal-oriented, and undeniably sexy — is characterized as little more than a lonely secretary before her transformation into leather. Like Bruce, the film’s Selina struggles with duality. And while this similarity works to bond them and a deeply felt sexual tension lingers throughout, The Batman incorporates these elements in a much more organic way.


The new film lets audiences get to know Selina through her past, parentage, and relationships. While her relationship with Batman also presents an instant attraction, this Selina has other goals. She desperately searches for the whereabouts of her missing roommate, friend and possible love interest, Anika. Audiences also learn that she’s no stranger to disreputable characters, having spent a significant portion of her childhood in the company of gangsters and eventually learning that her father is none other than Carmine Falcone.

Selina harbors a significant hatred for the mob don, suspecting his involvement in her mother’s death and resenting him for neglecting her. This cleverly crafted storyline works to not only tie her to Pattison’s Batman, but to allow the titular character to face the ruinous nature of revenge. Like many beloved stories featuring the couple, what binds them also separates them.


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Selina Kyle and Bruce Wayne dancing in Batman Returns

fans of The dark knight rises note that Anne Hathaway and Christian Bale have far greater chemistry as Bruce and Selina than they do behind their respective masks. While the 2012 film attempts to showcase the couple’s trademark banter as Batman and Catwoman, a lack of focus on their development, as well as Bruce’s date with an undercover Talia al Ghul, marred the inclusion. of these elements. Audiences were unaware of the long talks, intense rivalry, and tangible chemistry that made the duo so famous. And while Selina and Bruce are seemingly together by the end of the film, this huge lack of substance has left fans feeling hollow.


The Batman does not have such a problem. Like nearly every Cast before them, this version of the couple faces ideological differences that ultimately drive them apart. Despite a deep bond and obvious spark between them, Bruce’s commitment to Gotham and Selina’s murderous intent towards her father serve to end the romance before it begins. After following each other for some time, The Batmanit’s closing scene depicts the two on diverging paths.

Longtime fans of the Batman/Catwoman romance describe the pairing dynamic as a perpetual dance. At a time Return of Batman and The dark knight rises — along with countless other outlets — the two engage in literal ballroom dancing while making small talk. These interactions sometimes contain undertones of flirtation, mystery and even tragedy. Such a scene is conspicuously absent from The Batmanbut while there’s no clever visual metaphor in this iteration, for some, Matt Reeves’ film captures their dance much more expertly than most.

To see Matt Reeves’ take on the Batman and Catwoman romance, That Batman is in theaters now.

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