I may be dreaming the impossible dream, but I dreamt of a Catwoman review that somehow avoided not only feline puns, but dominatrix jokes at the same time. Let's see what happens.

Catwoman uses most of the conventions of the superhero film, is reasonably faithful to them, and in the end produces a decent film. It is a quality film in the "You go girl!" vein.

Catwoman begins with the timid, pathetic Halle Berry -- the kind of person we all are before the horrific toxic spill accident gives us super powers. This isn't really the case in Catwoman because it isn't a toxic spill as much as a choral number. Add in a love interest, humorous/horny friend, and insightful older woman and Catwoman is off and running. All of the parts are played excellently. Halle Berry and Benjamin Bratt have chemistry, and even some of the more painful lines work out because they're delivered well, except for the moralistic closing monologue.

The main deficiency of the film is its antagonist. Superheroes are only as good as the villains they have to beat, and Sharon Stone isn't nearly a super villain as much as a super bitch. The villain is introduced, but not developed at all, and the audience isn't really made aware of any super evil power, until she says what it is out loud. I'd prefer multiple robotic limbs, or lasers, to her makeup-related super power. The evil empire Sharon Stone's character rules over is a cosmetics empire, thus provoking the trite rejoinder along the lines of "All women are beautiful."

Halle Berry channels Eartha Kitt, purrs successfully, and delivers her cat clich‚s well. Unfortunately for Catwoman, it had to be released in the summer of Spider-Man 2, when its faults would inevitably be compared with all the things Spidey did right. Unfortunately for Spider-Man, he could not possibly look as good in leather as Berry does.


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