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Catwoman is an intriguing character.

In a world full of thugs and brutes driven by greed and chaos here is a woman who is both elegant and in a sense still very innocent. She may be seen as a girl caught up in a game for men but that would not do justice to the fact she is always one step ahead of the pack and one of those in the pack is Batman. Like all characters lurking around Gotham City Catwoman has a special bond with Batman, an intertwined history that helps define each of their characters. But the relationship is especially unique simply because we are never quite sure if she is good or bad; should our hero trust her or not? Sometimes you wonder if she even knows herself. Selina Kyle came from a poor background and never lived an easy life. To help escape from the sinking weight of poverty she took to a life of crime, developing herself into an accomplished thief. There is no doubting her skills, she is both sexy and dangerous and above all very intelligent. Throughout Christopher Nolans The Dark Knight Rises she gives throw away lines about the art of thievery like they are common knowledge Never steal from someone you cant outrun She exudes confidence and kicks ass to boot. And just when it looks like she is done you can be sure Batman will turn up to save the day. The relationship between Batman and Catwoman in any Gotham tale is always interesting but in Rises it is pivotal. We first see the shadow of Bruce Wayne lurking in the upper floors of Wayne Enterprises. He is a crooked and ragged figure, a man who has given up. But as Catwoman enters his quarters we see he is not such a lost cause. He flirts with her, playing along with her game, but as soon as Bruce reveals his hand calling her a thief Catwoman kicks out his walking stick and disappears out the window. Bruce stares at the open window with half a smile. Finally there is something in the outside world that could wake Batman from his slumber. The flirtatious nature of Catwomans relationship with Bruce Wayne is only half the story. The other half is told on the streets of Gotham, where her fate seems intricately tied to Batmans. They never quite fight the same war but they always end up fighting the same battles. As viewers we are toyed with as Batman betrays too much trust to Catwoman. We are left like the cautious mother watching on as her precious boy too eagerly gives his heart to the untrustworthy girl. She may be kind-hearted deep down it is Batmans wont to believe everyone is but her prime motivation is self-preservation and if turning Batman in is going to help her survive then she would do it. Even if it meant handing him over to Bane himself. Beyond her sexy suits and ass-kicking moves it is Catwomans ability to act and adapt to any scene that is most notable. She can play innocent; she can play seductive; and she play bad ass. And if all else fails she can come full circle and play innocent again. There are very few times you actually see her thick exterior crack and show some real emotion. It takes a false promise of a Clean Slate and the unwise decision to turn Batman over to Bane in the sewers to see her real emotion. She realises she has screwed up again; like a gambler going in too deep, there is no one last heist that she can pull off and everything will be OK. Gotham is taken over by Bane and there is no Dark Knight left to protect the City.

IT is easy to categorise Catwoman as an icon of seduction but she is far from a one-dimensional character. She is naive and brave and her true allegiance is a constant source of intrigue. In The Dark Knight Rises she fights with Batman and dances with Bruce Wayne, but it is not until she realises the two are one in the same that we see her given a true conflict. Batman is no longer the idealist in a costume and Wayne is no longer the playboy heir of a fortune chasing his own dick. She has so much to fear within Gotham and so little left to salvage but Batman still trusts her even after she betrayed him and left him begging for death he still trusts her. Once more we see her steely exterior and tough girl act give way to real emotion. Nolan gives her the choice: Fight or Flight? The running theme in Nolans trilogy is the sacrifice of Bruce Wayne. At the end of each film Batman finds himself deeper, forcing himself to sacrifice more his lifestyle, his body, his reputation, his symbol all given to the people of Gotham for the greater good, and in return he is broken and hated. At the end of Rises it looks like he will be forced to make the ultimate sacrifice, but after such an epic trilogy is it too much to ask for a happy ending? Has he not earned it? In the closing scene we see Bruce Wayne with Selina Kyle, sharing a moment at a cafe. She came back for him; he saved the day. He could have given his life and would have only months before but she gave him reason to live, that pretty cat burglar whose final act of thievery was to steal his heart. Christopher Nolan couldnt have done any better for his reintroduction to a much loved character: the minute she is caught stealing from Bruce Waynes (Christian Bale) safe (Oops. No-one told me it was uncrackable!) you knew that she was going to be a lot of fun. More importantly, you knew that Nolan and his brother Jonathan had nailed the character perfectly. Catwoman is one of the most famous comic book women ever, and she already had two successful portrayals before one in the 1960s TV show (Julia Newmar) and in the 1992 Tim Burton film, Batman Returns. When Anne Hathaways casting was announced, the general belief was the character and the actor would fall short. Both Hathaway and Nolan exceeded all expectations including my own, and as Ive mentioned before, Nolan is something of a hero of mine so I wasnt going into this film expecting the worst by any means. This Catwoman is high-tech thief who desperately wants to put her life of crime behind her, the life of crime she fell into as a way to survive. Her means of escaping is by way of a programme that will allow her to erase all traces of herself from every database including her criminal records. Businessman John Daggett (Ben Mendelsohn) offers to give it to her if she will lift Bruce Waynes fingerprints for him, but when she brings them to an arranged meeting with Daggerts underling Stryver (Burn Gorman), Stryver attempts to kill her instead. This scene is a wonderful example of how cunning Selina is. She comes armed with a back-up plan in case of such an eventuality and manages to take down Stryvers hired muscle and escape. During said escape she feigns being a damsel in distress, screaming in fright when the police enter and then quietly slipping away while they are distracted. Its also a wonderful example of

Selina playing up to sexist stereotypes of women, which she frequently subverts throughout the film. Its also one of many examples which show her to be any mans equal, outsmarting the smarmy Stryver, who clearly looks down on her purely because she is a woman. She later appears at Daggetts house to confront him, resplendent in her infamous costume. In keeping with the grounded reality of Nolans series, her outfit is a bit more practical than the ones that have come before. Even her high heels have a purpose they are razor-tipped and very useful in a fight. Flat combats wouldve been the better option, but the heels are the subject of one of Selinas best comebacks, so Im willing to let that pass. The outfit is not meant to objectify her, which is a refreshing change. One of the most interesting aspects of Selinas character in the comic book canon is her moral ambiguity, and The Dark Knight Rises is the first time this has ever really been looked at on film. For all her apparent relishing of violence, she remains a woman trapped by whatever dire circumstances forced into a life of crime in the first place, and she is desperate for a way out for herself and her friend/accomplice, Jen (Juno Temple). After Daggett refuses to hand over the Rykin programme, Catwoman leads Batman to Bane (Tom Hardy) in exchange for it, an act she bitterly regrets. While she may be self-interested, she is not heartless, and this constantly emphasised through the film. In one particularly amusing scene, she saves a young boy from being attacked by two men for stealing an apple. After rescuing him, she takes a bite from the apple and tosses it back to him, a great example of both her sense of humour and her ability to show kindness to others. It is perhaps this aspect of her character that gives Batman reason to trust her despite her earlier act of betrayal. Like us, he his fascinated by her contradictions as well as finding her a lot of fun, something which the Nolan series has often been accused of lacking. All of these aspects of Selinas character are wonderfully brought to life by Anne Hathaway. Ive expressed my admiration for her before but she really exceeded my expectations in this film she is absolutely pitch-perfect from beginning to end. Nolan has hinted that he might like to make a prequel focusing solely upon Selina and I, for one, would really love to see that! Now, honestly, I'm stating this now before you all jump to conclusions, that no, I'm not going to give this character a standing ovation just because she's my favourite character. If anything, I've got more reason to critique her because of that than anyone else. Prior to seeing this film, I remember the comments people made about Anne Hathaway. "She's not sexy enough to pull it off", and "She's too much of a goody girl for this kinda role" were lines I heard frequently. However I've always been of the belief that Anne would be perfect for the role. I knew from the moment she was cast that she would accurately portray Selina Kyle as she is within the DC unniverse: a cunning, manipulative, and highly professional thief who has brains to burn, balls of steel, can fight like the devil and happily plays on her femininity and good looks to get the better of the men around her. What people don't realise is that Michelle Pfeiffers version of Catwoman was and still is, a creative liberty taken by the director and the

actress for that movie. Pfeiffer's Catwoman was never anything like the comic book version bar the sassy one liners and the whip and claws, despite how legendary her portayal was. Needless to say, I hate to say I told you so. Hathaway was everything I knew she would be, and nothing more. Which isn't a bad thing, don't get me wrong. I've wanted to see Catwoman as Catwoman on the big screen for years, and by that I mean I actually wanted to see the smart and resourceful thief on the big screen as opposed to a hot woman in a skintight suit licking milk from a bowl. Hathaway's performance was the best performance of the cast (second only to Michael Caine, who was impecable as Alfred) solely because she actually got the character right. She plays on the fact she's "a woman" to the men around her which helps her escape two different crime scenes by being both "Damsel in Distress" and "Seductress", effectively manipulating the men around her by playing up to pre-concieved societal gender stereotypes before calmly leaving the scene of the crime with a smirk on her face and her hands clean. Her fight scenes are gritty, flashy and incredibly impressive for "good girl" Hathaway, yet the only complaint I had was they were far too quick: blink and you'd miss her killing two men and knocking the third one out. She's tough, smart, independant, and just like the comic book version, she struggles with her morality and conscience. Her costume was very impressive too, as the "ears" on her head are actually her night vision goggles folded up (the corners look like cat ears when they're resting on her head). Her high heeled boots are actually serated blades, which she uses without hesitation to stomp and kick her opponents into catfood. Whilst she's certainly not a nice lady and is incredibly self-centered, she's got an independant streak, a braveness, and a sharp mind that I think little girls should be proud to look up to and little boys should be incredibly impressed by. The only critique I do have about her is that unlike Pfeiffer, Hathaway hasn't managed to master that "dangerous/sexy" vibe that Catwoman has in her comic book portrayals, nor does her chemistry with Batman feel very authentic of passionate. He seems more amused by her than anything else, and it's not really believable that there is any genuine sexual chemistry between them, which has always been a huge asset to both of their characters and the way they behave with each other in the comics. She's certainly one of Nolan's better characters in the trilogy, but solely because it's a faithful portrayal of who Catwoman really is. Considering how effective Hathaway was as Selina, my only complaint was that there wasn't enough screen time for her. She filled her role in the 3 hours well, but I'd always welcome seeing more of her.

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