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Film / Catwoman (2004)

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Catwoman is a 2004 superhero film directed by Pitof and starring Halle Berry, loosely based on the DC Comics character Catwoman.

Patience Phillips (Berry) is a shy secretary with few friends who works at the Hedare cosmetics company. She learns that the company is developing an anti-aging cream that gives incredible results but comes with severe side effects — and is highly addictive to boot — but gets discovered and killed by her boss's scheming wife Laurel.

Patience is subsequently brought back to life and given special, cat-like abilities by Midnight, an Egyptian Mau she earlier encountered and attempted to rescue. Now she must remember who killed her, find out why, stop their evil schemes, and come to terms with the changes brought on by her abilities, and use them for good rather than exploiting their potential for evil.


This film contains examples of these tropes:

  • Actor Allusion: It's not the first time Michael Massee (Armando) plays a henchman responsible for the main protagonist's death who eventually comes back for vengeance.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Catwoman is generally a lot nicer and more heroic than the comic book version.
  • Adapted Out: Batman, Catwoman's nemesis and occasional love interest, does not appear nor get mentioned in the film at all.
  • Animalistic Abilities: Patience has the strength, speed, agility and senses of a cat.
  • Animal Motifs: Cats.
  • Animal-Themed Superbeing: This version of the character fits Type I of this trope ("Animal Abilities"), unlike her Type II ("Animal Alias") comic counterpart.
  • Anti-Hero: Catwoman. Though she's a hero, she's got no compunctions about stealing and roughing up her targets.
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  • Artistic License – Physics: The scene where Catwoman short circuits the speakers in a club by spraying them with water is a pretty egregious example. Doing this, in reality, is a sure-fire way to get electrocuted yourself!
  • At the Opera Tonight: George Hedare takes his mistress to a Cirque du Soleil-style performance; After the latter gets bored and leaves, Catwoman takes her place and confronts him. When the security officers confront Catwoman, she jumps off the balcony and onto the stage, then scrambles up the back wall; the audience, of course, thinks this is All Part of the Show.
  • Back from the Dead: How Patience becomes Catwoman.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Whenever Patience Becomes Catwoman. Probably the only thing to admire in this movie.
  • Bad-Guy Bar: Catwoman attends one during the film.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: The mystical Egyptian cat spirit Mau, who kindly resurrects Patience after she is drowned in the floodgates because she'd tried to save him.
  • Canon Foreigner: There are absolutely zero characters in this movie originating from any point in DC Comics history.
  • Cardboard Prison: During her Despair Event Horizon, Midnight appears to Patience by squeezing through the bars of the cell, which leads to Patience breaking out of jail by squeezing through the bars due to her cat-like powers.
  • Cat Girl: Catwoman, of course, wears a cat-themed costume.
  • Cats Are Magic: They have the power to bring you back from the dead and give you their powers.
  • Cats Hate Water: Patience does not like rain.
  • Classy Cat-Burglar: Catwoman again.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: George is one and Laurel turns out to be far worse.
  • Cosmetic Horror: The cosmetic product produced by Catwoman's enemy Laurel is physically damaging and addictive.
  • Crazy Cat Lady: The heroine's mentor, believe it or not.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: The Nostalgia Critic wondered why they didn't take the makeup that makes you indestructible and sell it to the army.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Along with Light Is Not Good. In the final fight scene, the leather-clad Catwoman is pitted against the white-wearing Laurel.
  • Dating Catwoman: Patience a.k.a. Catwoman and Tom Lone, although Tom doesn't know about her alter ego at first.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Patience has one of these after Tom arrests her and Beau-line is still going to be shipped.
  • Digital Destruction: A rare instance of this happening in a film's theatrical release, with virtually all detail on Catwoman's skin being erased so as to make the transitions to her CGI model less jarring. Even the film's other scenes have excessive levels of noise reduction applied.
  • Disney Villain Death: Laurel goes out this way.
  • Dressed Like a Dominatrix: The titular heroine, played by Halle Berry, wears a very Stripperific dominatrix outfit, complete with a whip.
  • Drink-Based Characterization: Catwoman orders a White Russian without ice, vodka, or Kahlua. The bartender gives her a glass of cream. Did we mention that Catwoman is basically a cat?
  • Driven to Suicide: It's implied that Laurel deliberately allows herself to fall to her death after discovering that her face has become scarred and cracked during her fight with Catwoman.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Doctor Ivan Slavicky, the scientist who created the face cream, notes that he could have lived with the side-effects such as headaches or nausea, but he has concerns about the discovery that prolonged use of the cream causes serious skin damage if the clients stop using it after a certain length of time.
  • Evil Laugh: George and Laurel have the archetypal Corrupt Corporate Executive Smug Snake chuckle.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: After Patience becomes Catwoman, she cuts off her long lovely curls in exchange for a short, spiky hairdo.
  • Expy: Tom Lone to Batman. Like Bruce, Tom is Catwoman's lawful love interest and investigates a lot.
  • Fair Cop: Tom Lone is a handsome and honest police officer.
  • Fanservice:
    "There are three good things in Catwoman: Halle Berry's face, Halle Berry's body, and Halle Berry's costume. Those are first-rate."
    • Also, there's a scene toward the end where the Big Bad is lathering herself up with the poisonous makeup cream. Distractingly sexy.
  • Fountain of Youth: With a twist; continued use of the cream deadens the nerves and makes the skin like "marble," but if you stop using it, your face will decay.
  • Gay Best Friend: One of Patience's few friends.
  • Gender Flip: Oddly enough, the closest thing in the film to any DC Comics plot element is the resemblance between Laurel's arc and the original Batman comics origin story for Black Mask, the male C-list Batman villain who became comics Catwoman's personal Arch-Enemy during her 2000s solo series. The concept of a literally addictive beauty product bears a resemblance to the origin story of Clayface from Batman: TAS.
  • Hurricane of Puns: All of them cat-related, courtesy of Patience; the vast majority of them also double as a case of a bad Pun.
  • In Name Only: Given that the main character isn't even Selina Kyle, you kinda have to expect this trope to be in play. The movie makes a few references to previous Catwoman incarnations - notably the scene in Batman Returns where Selina is brought back to life after being killed by Schreck, but otherwise, this movie goes off on its own track and bears little resemblance to the comics version of Catwoman. Other than the main character being a cat-themed anti-heroine who dresses in black leather and wields a whip, there's no resemblance.
  • Lactose Over Liquor: In one scene, Patience goes to a club and orders a glass of milk (because of her feline inclinations and behaviours). The bartender smirks and gives her one.
  • Makeup Is Evil: Beau-line is a skin cream that causes all sorts of terrible side effects - if you stop using it. See Cosmetic Horror.
  • May Contain Evil: Beau-line, the new line of cosmetics the Hedare company is releasing.
  • Mistaken for Suicidal: Tom Lone believes Patience is trying to jump out of her apartment window when she's really trying to save a cat.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Selina Kyle's Catwoman was this in the comics already, but is taken to ridiculous levels with Patience Phillips (as played by Halle Berry) in this movie with her Stripperific ensemble and the camera focusing on her boobs and ass many times.
  • My Instincts Are Showing: Happens repeatedly to Patience after she is brought back to life. As to be expected, it freaks her out at first.
  • Obviously Evil: George Hedare, who is clearly established as an antagonist from the first scene he appears in. With Laurel, it's played with. She comes across as an antagonist at first, but later helps Catwoman, and then stabs her in the back.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: While escaping the police station Patience hides behind a corner as a pair of cops pass, then appears several feet away from an instant later, despite a solid wall between those two points.
  • Power Fantasy: Patience is a meek and shy woman who, after being killed and revived with cat powers, becomes a confident and kick-ass superheroine who humiliates men that are mean to her, dominate guys in sports, and can beat up entire crowds of armed criminals.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: An overconfident post-resurrection Patience lays out a pretty brutal one on her Bad Boss George Hedare in front of the entire office after he pushes her buttons too much, only to then come back to her senses, immediately regret what she just did, and getting fired on the spot. Cue to her walking down the street with obligatory Cardboard Box of Unemployment.
  • Satellite Love Interest: Tom Lone. Really, what else do we know about him other than he's in love with Patience? He's a cop. Although even that may not be saying much...
  • Sexy Cat Person: Catwoman wears a Stripperific costume.
  • Sexy Discretion Shot: This happens on Patience's second date with Tom.
  • Shout-Out: When being educated about the cat-women through time, one of the pictures thrown down is from Batman Returns, a shot of Michelle Pfeiffer's Catwoman.
  • Shrinking Violet: Patience at the beginning of the film.
  • Spy Catsuit: Patience wears one at first. She later ditches it for a somewhat less tasteful outfit.
  • Stealth Pun: Sharon Stone playing a woman whose skin is like marble due to a side effect of the skin cream she markets.
  • Straw Feminist: When Patience asks Ms. Powers why most people have been oblivious to the existence of the cat-women for centuries and why she's had little success proving it, she chalks it up to "male academia", rather than the fact that her ideas were absolutely ludicrous. It's unclear, however, if she's just being silly/sarcastic or if the writer feels we're supposed to side with her on this.
  • Stripperiffic: Catwoman's revealing costume, a departure from the typical full-body catsuit. The making-of material reveals (no, not visually) that the top to the costume had a tendency to pop off — so often that it actually became annoying to everyone on the set.
  • Stupid Evil: Against all advice and warnings, Laurel continues with her plan to roll out her toxic and addictive face cream, with the justification that the worst side effects — aka facial disintegration — only happen if you stop using the product. Never mind the fact that at least some people would seek medical advice about the lesser side effects of the cream like the headaches and fainting spells that Sally's been getting, their skin becoming hard as marble if they kept using it, and their faces melting if they stopped using it for whatever reason. In addition, the healthcare system, media or police would soon be able to spot a pattern when scores of Laurel's customers died or were hospitalized in a very distinctive fashion. Even in the unlikely event that no one died, there would still be a class-action lawsuit the likes of which has never been seen, especially when the customers learned they were tricked into becoming addicted to a product that the manufacturers knew was dangerous before widespread release, and which they would have to keep using if they didn't want their faces to be destroyed.

Alternative Title(s): Catwoman