You make it so easy, don't you? Always waiting for some Batman to save you. I am Catwoman. Hear me roar.
Life's a bitch, now so am I!
Selina Kyle, also better known as Catwoman, is the anti-heroic deuteragonist of Tim Burton's 1992 superhero film Batman Returns. She was a lonely, frustrated woman pushed over the edge into obsession and crime after her boss, tycoon Maximillian Shreck, tried to kill her to keep her from revealing his plot to build a power plant that would steal Gotham's electricity.
Selina Kyle worked as a secretary for the powerful and ruthless Max Shreck, owner of a business empire and the department store Shreck's. Despite being a secretary, Selina fancied herself as more as an executive assistant, since she helped out in more ways than a mere secretary. On Christmas Eve, Shreck forgot his speech and Selina tried to take it to him, but the city came under attack by the Red Triangle Gang and she herself was taken hostage by one of the clowns. Batman intervened and saved her by knocking the clown out. Selina instantly became fascinated with Batman, who took his leave. She took her defeated clown captor's taser home as a self-defense weapon.
At her flat, things were no better. Selina listened to unpleasant messages on her answering machine: the first from her parents, who express disappointment at Selina not going home for Christmas; the second from her boyfriend, who had decided to go on a Christmas holiday on his own on advice from his psychologist; and the third from herself, reminding her that she has to go back to work and prepare documents for Shreck's meeting with Bruce Wayne, something she herself had anticipated she would forget.
As she went through the files, Selina inadvertently discovered that Shreck's proposed Power Plant would suck power from Gotham City and store it, effectively bringing Gotham under control of the Shreck family. Shreck himself appeared and confronted her about this information, and though Selina swore that she would not let it slip, Shreck pushed her out of the window to silence her.
Selina fell through several red awnings on the side of the building, suffering only a mild concussion when she finally hit the street. She was mysteriously awakened by alley cats and returned home in a daze. When her answering machine gave an advert on a perfume sold by Shreck, Selina appeared to suffer a psychotic break: ransacking her apartment, destroying her possessions, and sewing a homemade cat costume in preparation for her revenge on Shreck. Calling herself Catwoman, Selina became a vigilante in her own right; on her first night, she brutally beat a mugger for trying to rape a helpless woman, but then chastised the woman for being unable to defend herself.
The next day, Selina appeared in Shreck's office while he was speaking with Bruce Wayne, covered in bandages and sporting a more confident and assertive attitude, somewhat impressing Shreck. Selina feigned amnesia and an instant attraction developed between herself and Bruce.
A few days later, during an attack on the city by the Red Triangle Gang, Catwoman blew up the bottom floor of Shreck's store, bringing her into conflict with Batman. In the ensuing fight, Catwoman stabbed Batman in the abdomen (not severely), while Batman napalmed Catwoman's arm and knocked her into the back of a truck hauling sand, narrowly escaping death a second time. In response, Catwoman joined forces with The Penguin to destroy Batman, and the two came up with a plan to frame him for kidnapping the Ice Princess and killing him by turning his Batmobile into a bomb.
Meanwhile, whilst in the city, Selina came across Bruce and the two talked for a while before Bruce invited her for an early dinner at his house. Over dinner, Selina and Bruce spoke about Bruce's personal life, and Bruce revealed that he had trouble with his previous girlfriend, Vicki Vale, over his apparent difficulty with duality. Once Bruce makes it clear that he and Vicki were finished, Selina leapt on him and the two started kissing passionately. Their attempts to become more intimate resulted in almost exposing the other's injury and they abruptly stop. Just then, they saw a news bulletin about the Ice Princess's kidnapping with Batman the apparent culprit. As Bruce excused himself in order to suit up, Selina left and gets into her costume to carry out their plan
Catwoman and Batman arrived at the same time and briefly fought before Catwoman forcibly dragged the Ice Princess to the building's roof. To her shock, the Penguin had engineered the Ice Princess to fall off the building while making it look as if Batman pushed her. When Batman was shot by the police and injured from a fall, Catwoman approached him and pinned him down, straddling his chest. She flirted with him for a bit, before they noticed they were laying under some mistletoe and she gave him a long seductive lick from his chin to his nose, as a cat-styled kiss. After she briefly mocked him by saying how every girl Batman tries to save ends up dead, referring to herself and the Ice Princess, and that maybe he should retire, she slowly started to get off him before suddenly grabbing him and trying to stab him again, but he kicked her aside and leaves.
Later on, she rejected an advance from the Penguin, who responded by tying her neck to a helicopter umbrella. Though she managed to free herself, she luckily only took a short fall into a greenhouse directly across from her apartment window. Saved by landing on a bed of roses, her costume had been torn to shreds.
With her alliance with the Penguin shattered, Selina devised a plan to kill Shreck herself at his annual Maxquerade Ball with a concealed gun. She encountered Bruce at the ball and they danced for a while before she revealed her intentions to him. In the process, they discovered each other's identities, but before they could leave to talk outside, the Penguin attacked and revealed his plan to kidnap the firstborn sons of Gotham, taking Shreck himself hostage.
Catwoman found Shreck trying to escape from the Penguin's lair and confronted him, ready to finish him off. Batman intervened and requested that they hand him over to the police, but Catwoman objected on the basis that no jury will ever convict Shreck.
Batman unmasked himself as a sign of peace and implored Selina to abandon her vendetta and live with him in Wayne Manor, but Selina refused, determined to end things there and then. Shreck drew a gun and shot at Selina four times, but ran out of bullets. Only shot in the shoulder and sides of her legs, she contented to approach Shreck. With "two lives" remaining, she held out her stun gun in front of her open mouth, before placing it under Shreck's chin as she gave him a deadly kiss of death. During she pulled a power cable wither other arm, causing a massive explosion in the generator. In the aftermath, her body is nowhere to be found, but it is later revealed that she survived (with her suit repaired) as she is shown looking up at the Bat Signal in the movie's closing scene.
Selina presumably left Gotham after this, and left her cat, Miss Kitty, with Bruce as a farewell gift.
Catwoman appears to have nine lives like a cat, narrowly escaping death eight times in the course of the film:
When Max Shreck pushes her out the window (before she becomes Catwoman).
When Batman knocks her off a building and into the back of a truck full of sand.
When the Penguin tried to hang her on his umbrella-copter and took short fall into a greenhouse.
When Max Shreck shoots her left shoulder.
Shreck shot at her and grazed her right thigh.
Shreck shot at her and grazed her left thigh.
Shreck shoots at her for a fourth time and misses completely.
When she appears to kiss Shreck with a taser, ominously holding it out in front of her lips before pulling a wire causing the generator near them to explode, killing Shreck.
In the comics, Catwoman sports black hair and green eyes, but in Batman Returns, Catwoman is depicted as a blonde with blue eyes.
Annette Bening, Meryl Streep, Brooke Shields, Susan Sarandon, Cher, Madonna, Demi Moore, Geena Davis, Jodie Foster, Sigourney Weaver, Lena Olin, Ellen Barkin, Lorraine Bracco, Bridget Fonda, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Raquel Welch, Nicole Kidman and Jennifer Beals were all considered for the role of Catwoman before Pfeiffer was cast. Bening was originally cast in this role before being forced to drop out due to pregnancy. A different cowl was created for her version of the costume.
Catwoman was never seen again after Batman Returns, which is consistent with each of Batman's various girlfriends only appearing in one movie each. Her fate is left unknown, though she only has one of her nine metaphorical lives left by the end of this film. With this "reality", and her attempted murder avenged, Selina may have chosen to protect herself, and given up her dangerous activity as Catwoman. It is possible she sought out Bruce. He was again single at the end of the events of Batman & Robin, seemingly taking place only five years after the events of Batman Returns.
Michelle Pfeiffer was previously considered for the role of Vicki Vale in Batman, that consideration was rejected due to the fact that Keaton and Pfeiffer had previously dated, which is interesting seeing how she was cast as Catwoman.
For the role of Catwoman, Michelle Pfeiffer trained at the Steeleboxer kick boxing gym two hours a day for six months. She also practiced yoga, weight lifting and karate. She also spent 3 months training with a 12 foot bullwhip. Michelle Pfeiffer called this one of her most "challenging roles" and critics called it one of her most "iconic roles" that will be famous forever.
Bruce and Selina discovered their dual personalities, thus exposing one of Burton's main themes — duality — in the film.
Many fans regard Michelle Pfeiffer's version of the character among their favorites.
Michelle Pfeiffer said about her character, "As a young girl, I was completely obsessed with Catwoman." Pfeiffer revealed in a 2017 interview. "When I heard that Tim was making the film and Catwoman had already been cast, I was devastated. At the time, it was Annette Bening. Then she became pregnant. The rest is history. I remember
This Catwoman was used in one of Christina Aguilera's costume changes in her music video for "Keeps Gettin' Better" and the live-action TV show Birds of Prey.
Tim Burton signed on to direct a Catwoman spin-off film, declining to direct more Batman sequels, and Michelle Pfeiffer was slated to reprise the role. Unfortunately, plans didn't materialize and Burton moved to other films while Pfeiffer desisted from reprising the role ever again. The film ultimately took shape of the critically panned 2004 Catwoman film.
Catwoman was later set to reappear in the unmade sequel of Batman & Robin, that was named Batman Unchained. In the film, she was planned to return as a hallucination by the Scarecrow's fear gas.
In the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover event of the Arrowverse, in the scene where Alexander Knox appears on Earth-89 (the designation given to the universe in which the Burton/Schumacher films take place), it was originally intended to show on the headline of the Gotham Gazette that Knox was reading that Bruce Wayne is to marry Selina Kyle, now a socialite. This would have implied that Selina and Bruce eventually crossed paths again and married. Unfortunately, the idea was dropped when Michael Keaton was found unavailable to reprise his role, leading the headline to be changed into one that says that Batman has captured the Joker.