An unworthy representation of a great character.
Catwoman, female leads, and Halle Berry are all great essentials. But this film demeans all three.
By Tym Stevens
Selina Kyle is Bruce Wayne without the constraints.
On the page, however, she has been every trope restraint put on female characters; a spoiled socialite ('40's), a catty femme ('50's), a kinky vamp ('60's TV), a vengeful hooker (80's), and an unbalanced hysteric (90's film). Then there's this film with every wrong move left. Changing her name to Patience Phillips (Holy Stan Lee!) and her persona to a Victoria's Secret ad to fight a cosmetics magnate villainess, it simply reeks of ad hoc and trope.
Except that there was no excuse for that. In 2001, Ed Brubaker and Darwyn Cooke had just redefined Catwoman in comics to her ultimate essence, a strong person in a DIY biker leathers, a class act with a Punk soul saving real people in a crumbling slum by hook and crook. A strong indie character film on a modest budget with great action could have been made straight off the ink and been a revelatory hit, but the corporate vision was too blinkered and Batman Begins was a year away. (Ed Brubaker left DC for Marvel after this film, where he wrote the "Winter Soldier" story in Captain America, which became one of the best and most successful graphix films ever made. So, there's that.)
Luckily, someone did know how to read, and the real Selina Kyle emerged unbound in The Dark Knight Rises (2012). And the spirit of Brubaker and Cooke's streetwise character stories made it to the screen in Netflix's Daredevil and Jessica Jones series.