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Home > Why ‘Catwoman’ Is The Worst Comic Book Film

Why ‘Catwoman’ Is The Worst Comic Book Film

This May Be the Worst One Yet

With so many comic book films being released, naturally, some failures will happen. This can be caused by rushed production, studio interference, poor marketing, etc. Many argue that most recent movies from Marvel or DC are some of the worst comic book films ever made. While there is certainly an argument for them being bad, none of them come close to the worst comic book film of all time; Catwoman (2004). The movie follows Patience Phillips (Halle Berry) who is “murdered” and comes back as Catwoman seeking justice. There may be bad comic films recently, but Catwoman is still at the top of the list. Spoilers Ahead! 

The Plot Makes No Sense 

Instead of following the comics where Catwoman is essentially a thief known as Selina Kyle who sometimes helps the good guys, the filmmakers decided to tell an original story following a woman named Patience Philps who becomes Catwoman after drowning in which a cat resurrects her by breathing in Catwoman Powers into Patience. If that part alone didn’t sound ridiculous, there is a nonsensical plot where she has to solve her own “murder” with her initially led to believe it was her former boss, George Headare (Lambert Wilson), only to find out it was his wife Laurel (Sharon Stone). This twist could have worked if it weren’t for the fact that it was revealed Laurel was already the villain early on in the film when Patience finds out what she is up to and gets “killed” afterward. Granted, one could argue Patience didn’t know it was Laurel given she didn’t get a good look at her. But that just means the character has to play catchup with the audience and it gets tiresome to see her investigate a mystery that’s already solved. 

Continuing with unnecessary mysteries is everything with Detective Tom Lone (Benjamin Bratt), who is trying to figure out who Catwoman is with him not realizing it’s his girlfriend, Patience. This idea can be really interesting, even if it is a familiar one. The issue comes with the fact that the investigation is needlessly drawn out when the clues are so obvious. What could have taken him 2 minutes is dragged on for most of the film’s runtime. Patience doesn’t even hide her Catwoman powers that well. Lone, in full view, witnesses Patience perform athletic abilities most average people can’t do and sees her act like a cat, including purring. Some people online have made the case that Catwoman would be better enjoyed as a standalone film and not as an adaptation. The thing is, whether as a standalone or an adaptation, the plot is still contrived.

The Filmmaking Is All Over The Place 

Sometimes a script that isn’t great can be forgiven by audiences so long as the overall film is well put together. Here in then lies one of the biggest problems of the film; the filmmaking is horrid. The directing, cinematography and editing are all done in a way that is very distracting. The color palette uses a lot of brown and yellow, which makes for an unnerving watch. The camerawork involves a lot of unwanted close-ups of the actors’ faces. The editing has way too many cuts with hardly any shot given room to breathe. There will be cases where the camera is held on one person and cuts are being made to the same person talking from the same angle. It’s almost similar to the style of YouTubers like Jeremy Jahns or Chris Stuckmann, except even they don’t cut this often. One sequence in particular that shows off the worst of the cinematography and editing is the infamous basketball scene in which there are a dozen angels cut together so quickly that it makes it basically impossible for the audience to follow, even so the scene itself feels completely unnecessary.

The Acting Is Something Else 

Most of the supporting cast do decent enough with the material they are given. The main cast, however, are almost indescribable with their acting. There is a character named Ophelia Powers (Frances Conroy) who is supposed to be sort of a mentor to Catwoman, explaining her powers and such, but Frances Conroy delivers her lines in a way that makes her character come across like a creepy cat lady. Lambert Wilson and Sharon Stone play their characters with a smug, over-the-top attitude, which can be enjoyable for one. As for Halle Berry’s performance, while not good, is done so with full commitment. Even though Berry does scenes in this movie that some might find silly, including landing on all fours, the aforementioned purring, and making cat puns so cheesy they’d make the ‘60s Batman (1966-1968) series blush, Berry gives it her all. Many actors in her position would just phone it in, but Berry does the best she can with what she has. At the end of the day, the cast are just following their directions. When given a script like this, not even actors such as Robert De Niro or the late Cary Grant could make it sound good. 

Catwoman’s Legacy 

In the years following this film’s release, Catwoman has been listed among the worst of comic book films even winning a Razzie for worst actress. According to IMDb, Berry herself accepted the award and even made fun of herself along with the film by saying “This is just what my career needed”. While fans online may declare whatever recent comic book film is the worst there is, chances are it is still more enjoyable than sitting down to watch this dry and awkward film. 

Fans who want to see Catwoman done right have the option of viewing The Batman (2022), The Dark Knight Rises (2012), or Batman Returns (1992).

Catwoman (2004) Rotten Tomatoes Classic Trailer

Source: Dead Talk Live

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I am from Michigan. I am a recent graduate of Bowling Green State University majoring in Film Production with a minor in Media Production.
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Omid Rad is a freelance writer, movie lover and overall geek.