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Quiet, or Mama Spank

I love Anne Hathaway, and as I stated in “Santa, All I Want for Christmas is… Wait, Does Barbie Come with a Latex Catsuit?,” I think she has the stuff to make a wonderful Catwoman. But her upcoming interview in the Los Angeles Times “2012 Film Sneaks” contains such a perfect essence of what’s gone wrong with the Batman fandom, I thought it was worth addressing.

Back in August, when the first still of her as Selina Kyle was released wearing goggles and riding a motorcycle, without a pixel in sight that represented “Catwoman,” Anne did what she’s supposed to: she defended her non-costume. She said we hadn’t seen a tenth of what it could do. The savvier bloggers observed that all it’s supposed to “do” is make her look good and make her look like Catwoman.

Now we’ve seen one progression and, thanks to the LA Times piece, we’ve heard about another. The goggles slide onto her head forming cat ears, presenting a Julie Newmar-inspired silhouette evoking one established Catwoman, while the high heels of her Balent-inspired thigh boots give us some serrated action to serve as this Catwoman’s claws.

And that’s fine—unless you think it is necessary. Unless you say, as Anne did in her latest defense of the costume, “nothing is in place for fantasy’s sake.”

Catwoman is a fantasy. Batman is a fantasy. Comic books and superheroes, good old fashioned good versus evil storytelling, these all plug straight into that part of us that used to go outside to play, and which is seldom indulged as adults except slipped in through backdoors and subterfuge.

Anne, remember that story you told Access Hollywood about all those interviews after The Princess Diaries?  “A lot of questions that I used to get asked were, ‘So, every girl when she grows up wants to be a princess, did you want to be a princess when you grew up?’ And I so wish I’d said what I felt back then, because the truth was, ‘No, I wanted to be Catwoman!’ 

So did I. So did a lot of us. Catwoman is a fantasy, and not just for us but for all those little boys who grew up wanting to be Batman. That’s why the very first question asked on hearing you were cast was “what about the catsuit?” I don’t think this will come as a shock to you or anyone else over the age of 15: they were forming a mental picture. 

Catwoman is a fantasy. Batman is a fantasy. Acting as if there is something wrong with an element of the costume, of Gotham City, or of anything else being there just “for fantasy sake” misses the whole point. 

I’m not going to pay $12 that I worked for to sit for two hours watching an execise in practicality. I’m expecting you all to tell me a story, just like mom and dad did when we were kids. 

Not only is praising the practicality of a costume the wrong thing for anyone in this production to say, it’s worst of all coming from you, Anne, because you’re playing Selina, and that attitude is just not true to the character. Those championing “practicality” have a problem embracing their own fantasy enjoyment, I get that. Some of us feel silly or embarrassed, as adults, and we have to rationalize it. Some of us just aren’t comfortable with the power of our imaginations to make us feel.  Some of us just aren’t comfortable with who we are.  Whatever the reason, there are folks out there who can’t just read a comic book because they enjoy it, they have to analyze it for 48 layers of socio-psycho-sexual undertones.  They can’t just enjoy a movie as escapist wonderment, they have to be experts on the practical minutiae of film making.

The thing is, Selina is not one of those people. She will do something just because she enjoys it.  And say so.  “Ears, because I wanted to, that’s why. Clawed gloves? Yeah, because I like them. High heels, cause they make me feel sexy.”

You know why Batman drives a hot car? Because we’re Americans and we get this tingle at a ton of beautifully engineered metal careening down a road at 200 mph. There’s no reasonable explanation for it, we just like it! You know why women in comic books have tits that defy gravity? Of course you do! We all do!

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