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Batman Returns: Michael Keaton Reflects On Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman Performance

Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman in Batman Returns
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

There have been many women who have taken on the role of Catwoman over the years (most recently Zoë Kravitz in The Batman), and each of them are memorable in their own unique way. Michelle Pfeiffer’s version of the DC Comics character from Batman Returns is especially iconic and a fan favorite. Pfeiffer’s co-star Michael Keaton has reflected on Pfeiffer’s portrayal of Catwoman and delivered some praise for her performance.

Michael Keaton is a whole generation’s Batman, and he is taking back up the role after over 20 years in the upcoming DC movies The Flash and Batgirl. As such, he is pretty darn qualified to speak on what Catwoman should personify. For Michelle Pfeiffer’s feature with The Hollywood Reporter, Keaton has some pretty strong words (via email) for Michelle Pfeiffer when it comes to Batman Returns and her Catwoman performance. Here's the positive descriptors he threw her way:

She pulled off the almost impossible combo of sexy, ironic, tragic, dangerous and just plain good.

Tim Burton’s Batman has spoken, and you know he speaks only truth. I know so many people who had childhood (and adulthood, honestly) crushes on Michelle Pfeiffer after they saw her in Batman Returns, and I can’t really blame her. She was electric in that movie, and is arguably the golden standard for future women who nab the Catwoman role.

Some real icons have played since Michelle Pfeiffer, like Anne Hathaway and Halle Berry, but Pfeiffer’s performance still stands tall and is one that Batman fans hold dear to their hearts. However, I’d be willing to bet that even if her Catwoman wasn’t as well acted as it really was, people would still be remembering that skin tight catsuit, because Pfeiffer absolutely killed in it. That’s before even mentioning Pfeiffer's skill with that whip - have mercy!

Michelle Pfeiffer has continued acting for in the 30 years since Batman Returns, and she has gone on to act in some truly great things. Hairspray, White Oleander, and I Am Sam just touch the surface of her stellar career. Even so, Batman Returns remains one of the most memorable of her roles and I don’t really see such an epic role even though so many have followed in her footsteps.

All of the actresses that have played Catwoman have definitely had the sexy part of Michael Keaton’s praise down, and The Batman’s Zoë Kravitz went through the workout ringer to get prepared to don her catsuit. If you have an HBO Max subscription, you can check out Kravitz in the role yourself and see which other of Keaton’s strong words to describe how Michelle Pfeiffer pulled off the role. The Batman recently dropped to the streaming platform and is breaking some wild records, and you still may be able to catch the film in some theaters.