Catwoman in Matt Reeves’ “The Batman” is quite different from its previous big-screen iterations. Not only is she more grounded and completely ripped off of her sensuous image, but Zoe Kravitz’s Selina Kyle is also a more restrained take on the character that radiates its contained rage and strength. In the film, she is a waitress at the Iceberg Lounge, a drug dealer, and, of course, a cat burglar. Sure enough, Batman and Catwoman form a bond that grows out of their desire to help others. Moreover, her tendency to flirt with Batman, palpable throughout the film, is also what makes him question his own judgment regarding her. This is what makes Catwoman a woman of particular interest, not just to us but perhaps to him too.
Selina Kyle and Her Parentage in the Film
In the comics, Maria Kyle and Brian Kyle are her parents. They both died tragically when Selina was young, and their deaths are basically what led to her street life. There is also rumored speculation in the comics that says that not the Kyles but Carmine Falcone and his wife Louisa Falcone are Selina’s real parents. There is no way to either confirm or deny this, but Matt Reeves decides to up the ante of the character by keeping the mother the same and making Falcone the father. Selina’s mother, Maria, used to work at the Iceberg Lounge and had a relationship with Falcone, which led to her birth. Selina knows that Falcone is her biological father, but she has no attachment to him. She lost her feelings after she was apparently abandoned by him after her mother died. It was later revealed to us that it was Falcone who killed her. This essentially adds to Selina’s hatred and anger for him. The sense of abandonment by a father, along with the fact that it was the father who killed the mother, certainly makes Selina a character bent upon vengeance, much like Batman and Riddler.
Furthermore, when Batman helps her uncover the depth of Falcone’s criminal activities, including the murder of her roommate Anika, it paves the way for the most ruined relationship between a father and daughter. Naturally, Selina does all in her power to bring Falcone to justice, which for her is nothing but his death. So the fact that Falcone would be put on trial and eventually imprisoned is something she cannot accept. This is because she knows that he will use his power to get bail and be free again. This, however, doesn’t happen as the Riddler shoots him. This does seem to bring her peace, as she, too, wanted him to die. Does it, however, quench her thirst for vengeance, given that she wanted to kill Falcone with her own hands? Maybe or maybe not, and this is what adds to her nature, the contained rage.
Selina Kyle’s Gender Identity
From the way Selina interacts with her roommate, Annika Kosolov, there is a clear sign of her being bisexual. Selina’s character has never been explored from her gender identity standpoint, an important aspect in the comics. This is a sign that Matt Reeves does want to delve deeper into the character (hopefully in the sequel). In the manner in which Selina addresses Annika as “babe” and “baby,” there is a clear hint of them sharing an intimate relationship. This is closer to the Selina in the comics, who is often depicted as bisexual. Catwoman #39 even had it as a canon. So, while it is not definitive, these hints are no less than signs of exploration of this aspect of Selina Kyle, AKA Catwoman, in the future.
Does Catwoman Leave Batman?
The final scenes of Batman show him and Catwoman parting their ways. Selina does not want Batman to come with her, but knows that he is needed in Gotham more than anywhere else. While she does leave Gotham, there is nothing that says that she is gone forever. Moreover, the place where she is headed, i.e., Bludhaven, has a strong connection to Batman as well.
In the comics, Bludhaven has Dick Grayson, aka Nightwing, Batman’s first Robin, as its protector. So there is a chance that we will get to see another orphan boy, this time adopted by Bruce Wayne himself, who grows up to be the next Robin for the big screen. Or it could also be that Bludhaven already has Nightwing as its protector, who will come across Catwoman and find out about Batman too. This will definitely make Catwoman reach out to Batman again.
Catwoman still has a long way to go as far as her representation is concerned. It is Matt Reeves’ Batman that touches on Selina’s past for the first time in a movie. And yet it is just a few mentions. Kravitz does pull off her role pretty well, and one can only do so much with a character that is still given so little. Catwoman deserves a lot more than being a damaged, sensuous woman in a tight leather costume. With so long a history in the comics, she has a lot more to her than sneers, pretty cries, and daddy issues. And perhaps only Matt Reeves and Peter Craig (who co-wrote the screenplay with Reeves) can give her a well-deserved return.