The Batman Finally Gets Batman & Catwoman's Relationship Right

Warning: This post contains spoilers for The Batman.

Batman and Catwoman’s relationship has been on and off in the comics — in live-action, however, The Batman finally gets to the heart of Batman and Catwoman’s relationship. Before ZoĆ« Kravitz was cast in the role of Selina Kyle/Catwoman, there were previously two iterations of the character: Michelle Pfeiffer’s in 1992’s Batman Returns and Anne Hathaway’s in 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises. Both versions of the character had some kind of connection to the Caped Crusader, but Matt Reeves’ The Batman goes more in-depth.

In The Batman, Selina works at the Iceberg Lounge, a club that caters to the criminal and corrupt elite (like former District Attorney Gil Colson and previous mob boss Carmine Falcone). Selina partners with Batman in a bid to help save her friend Annika, who knew about Falcone ratting out Sal Maroni’s drug operation to the Gotham City Police Department. She doesn’t trust Batman at first, but they partner together, pooling their information despite having different reasons for going after Falcone and the dark mysteries threatening to wreak havoc upon the city. In previous Batman movies, Catwoman has been portrayed as someone infatuated with Batman, but ultimately works to get her revenge against him (Batman Returns), and as someone who rats out the vigilante to a villain before joining Batman’s crusade to save Gotham (The Dark Knight Rises).

Related: The Batman Ending Explained (In Detail)

However, Batman and Catwoman not being on the same page 100 percent of the time — and being in moral opposition of each other at times — is exactly what makes their relationship so tantalizing in The Batman. Just like in the comics, the pair’s connection is layered in moral ambiguity, an ideological push-pull that colors their interactions. They make for great partners, but they don’t always see eye-to-eye about how to handle certain situations and The Batman understands this aspect of their relationship. And still, they are drawn to each other for better or worse. Reeves’ film shows just how much Batman and Catwoman challenge each other. Selina isn’t afraid to call Batman out and highlight his blindspots and privileges of growing up rich. They’re on the same side even though they come from different worlds and carry different perspectives.

What’s more, their dynamic is heated and full of sexual tension. It’s a primary aspect of Batman and Catwoman’s relationship in any iteration, live-action or not, but The Batman certainly leans more heavily into it. Selina Kyle is embedded into Batman’s world and their partnership seems inevitable. Whereas there is a push-pull between Selina/Catwoman and Bruce Wayne as Batman in Batman Returns, Catwoman isn’t privy to the vigilante's identity in The Batman, only working alongside Batman. This creates more of an intriguing, simmering dynamic between them and reflects their relationship in the comics, in which Selina doesn’t learn of Batman’s identity as Bruce until much later. Their involvement with each other brings a lot more depth to their characters and allows them to organically build a foundation and trust that suggests they will continue to be in one another’s lives.

The Batman sees the vigilante living on the fringes of Gotham, an elusive hermit who is more concerned with instilling fear in the hearts of criminals than in doing anything else. Catwoman’s involvement in his life gives him a needed wake-up call on a number of levels. Heightened by their romantic chemistry, their relationship works because they help each other along. The fact that Catwoman’s personal life is also shown adds to the layers of their partnership; they are bonded in more ways than one — in their mission to bring down Carmine Falcone and help people who are most vulnerable. Both of their pasts play into their relationship, which only makes their interactions throughout The Batman all the more worthwhile. They are bound to each other and their alliance feels authentic and deeper than any previous live-action iteration of their onscreen pairing.

Next: Is The Batman Better Than The Dark Knight?



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