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Michelle Pfeiffer just proved that Catwoman is still the best female superhero

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Hannah-Rose Yee
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Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman

The actress unearthed her old Catwoman whip, and she’s definitely still got it. 

What are your thoughts on the Tim Burton Batman movies?

It’s a Rorschach test all of its own, truly. Batman and Batman Returns birthed the modern blockbuster and ushered in our current era of superhero madness, but for many Michael Keaton is a subpar Batman behind Christian Bale and even Ben Affleck. (I am not friends with any of these people.) 

Not for us here at Stylist. We’ve always thought of Batman Returns as one of the best Batman movies, courtesy of its razor sharp script (penned by Daniel Waters, the man who wrote teen comedy Heathers) and the kinky, off-kilter feminist performance of Michelle Pfeiffer as Selina Kyle, alias Catwoman. 

Michelle Pfeiffer and Michael Keaton in Batman Returns
Michelle Pfeiffer and Michael Keaton in Batman Returns

Has there been a better comic book villain than Catwoman? 

Sure, there’s been Loki and Killmonger in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but there’s something about Catwoman that sticks in your brain. She’s a true proto-feminist supervillain. Think about it: her origins story is that of a secretary killed by a man as collateral damage. She is reborn – courtesy of some alley cats – and spends the rest of the film agitating against the restrictions society places against women.

“How could you, I’m a woman?” she whimpers to Batman during one of their fights. Batman stutters an apology, leaving Catwoman just enough time to kick him squarely in the stomach.

“As I was saying,” she responds archly. “I’m a woman and can’t be taken for granted.” 

Michelle Pfeiffer and Michael Keaton in Batman Returns
Michelle Pfeiffer and Michael Keaton in Batman Returns

Catwoman was a strong, complex, takes-no-prisoners female comic book character before we realised how badly we needed to see them onscreen. Sure, she was a supervillain hellbent on revenge against the men who had wronged her and, in one case, killed her. 

But can you blame her, really? The best villains have motives that you can understand, even if you don’t agree with their methods. And Catwoman’s motives were all too relatable. 

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Anyway, Pfeiffer’s Catwoman only appeared in one Batman movie, which is a complete shame. She also never got her own standalone Catwoman movie. (That honour went, somewhat dubiously, to Halle Berry, and the less said about that the better.)

But Pfeiffer held on to her Catwoman costume include Selina’s infamous whip, unearthing it for an Instagram video.

“Just like riding a bike,” Pfeiffer said, proving that she can still crack that whip.

The video, which received almost 2,000 comments and more than 150,000 views, was praised by Sarah Paulson, who commented: “MAKE ANOTHER CATWOMAN MOVIE PLEASE AND THANK YOU.”

Pfeiffer responded: “Only if you are my sister cat!”

Pfeiffer and Paulson as two cat women, roaming the streets of Gotham in pursuit of one thing and one thing only? (Vengeance). We’re here for it. 

Images: Getty

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Hannah-Rose Yee

Hannah-Rose Yee is a writer based in London. You can find her on the internet talking about movies, television and Chris Pine.

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