Love is a human constant. In fact, to use the yardstick of entertainment, the UK publisher Mills & Boon has been publishing around one hundred romance novels per month since 1908. From movies to TV and video games, we just can’t get enough of fictional relationships. Perhaps it’s because we’re all longing for something special – or maybe we’re just living out our dreams vicariously through people on the silver screen.
Comic books, for all their odd plotlines, are no different. To date, we’ve been introduced to relationships between Clark Kent and Lois Lane, Barry Allen (The Flash) and Iris West, Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn, and, of course, Batman and Catwoman. Routinely voted the most important romance in DC comics history, the encounters between the latter two denizens of the night are familiar even to the most strident non-fans.
Of course, most recently, both characters appeared in Matt Reeves’ The Batman (2022), with Robert Pattinson and Zoe Kravitz starring as Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle. As usual, the pair’s first meeting is antagonistic, as the famous cat burglar tries to outwit the Caped Crusader, but their eventual cooperation was obvious even from one of the first trailers Warner Bros. released.
It’s a bit of a redemption arc for Catwoman, who was the focus of one of the worst films ever made back in 2004, a movie described by People Magazine as appalling and mortifying to actual felines. The New Yorker simply referred to it as “one hundred million dollars down the drain.” Still, all that is in the past now, and both Batman and Catwoman seem to be riding a cinematic high.
The two’s on-and-off-again relationship is so well known in the public consciousness that it exists in plenty of other media types, too. The video game Batman: Arkham City featured both Batman and Catwoman in playable form, as did a pair of point-and-click titles, namely, Batman: The Telltale Series and the later Batman: The Enemy Within. Online slot games have also borrowed the likeness of several superheroes recently.
The casino industry is well known for its licensed titles, which include a slot based on Green Lantern (another DC hero) and even one dedicated to the 2011 movie Bridesmaids. However, the best online casinos also have Playtech’s Batman & Catwoman Cash, a nostalgic take on the 1960s Batman TV series, which had Adam West in the starring role, and Eartha Kitt as Catwoman. Casinos frequently try to capitalise on the enduring legacy of all kinds of pop culture characters to attract players across different generations.
As Batman and Catwoman have been part of the public’s consciousness for the best part of a century, they have a way of making things seem familiar for even the most technology-averse fans.
Whether it’s the most popular romance for its relatability (unlikely), unending drama (possibly), or by virtue of the fact that it’s something everybody knows about, Batman and Catwoman are difficult to separate wherever they run into each other. There’s no denying the fact that the seemingly incompatible mix of good and not-so-good makes for some compelling storylines between the pairing, though.
The question that remains to be asked is, following the success of The Batman, could we now get a solo Catwoman film in the future? Halle Berry has already expressed an interest in the director’s chair, but her one-time gig in the catsuit left a superheroic number of bridges burned for the character. At least there’s no more Green Lantern on the horizon…