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There have been some great versions of Selina Kyle/Catwoman throughout the decades of Batman media, but when it comes to the character hasn’t been successful when going solo. This includes the cancelled Catwoman spin-off starring Michelle Pfeiffer and eventual Halle Berry-starred film from 2004 – which is one of the worst films ever made. While we await to see what Zoë Kravitz brings to the role in Matt Reeves’ The Batman this March, the latest instalment in the DC Universe Animated Original Movies lineup gives us a light, breezy romp with the cat burglar.
Catwoman: Hunted follows the fan favorite character in an attempt to steal a priceless jewel, Selina Kyle (Elizabeth Gillies), along with her pet cat Isis, becomes the top target of the evil organization Leviathan. Reluctantly teaming up with Batwoman (Stephanie Beatriz) and Interpol, Selina hopes to escape the clutches of the various supervillains coming after her, as well as stealing the jewel she yearns for.
Known for co-creating The Spectacular Spider-Man and Young Justice, the involvement of Greg Weisman writing the script is an exciting prospect. His knowledge of the DC universe is huge and he takes advantage of that knowledge to comical fashion, such as the opening sequence of Catwoman: Hunted where Selina (in her Silver Age costume) goes to a masquerade where people are dressed up as other DC characters. However, even the many references and characters that Weisman throws out, including the obscured Nosferata as a henchman, is not enough to save the problems that the script has.
As we are halfway through the fourth season of Young Justice, a show that brings a surprising amount of complex maturity, it feels like Weisman wanted to kick back and play loose with a Catwoman-centric adventure that never actually takes advantage on its fun premise of globe-trotting and being hunted by a plethora of supervillains. Leaning heavily into the comedy that tries too hard on the funny quips, the stakes don’t seem that big a deal and although it is later revealed that Selina has a personal agenda for wanting to steal the jewel, the jokey nature of the whole thing makes it irrelevant.
Along with its wasted premise, the anime-inspired look of the movie feels lackluster. Directed by Shinsuke Terasawa, who has worked as a key animator on Lupin III media, you can see the influence of that franchise creeping into this movie, especially in the heist sequence in which Yutaka Yamada’s jazz-based score kicks in. The action, however, leaves a lot to be desired with only a few instances when the movie provides some crazy anime visuals. Catwoman: Hunted should have taken a few notes from the insanity of Batman Ninja.
Despite the clunky dialogue throughout, the voice acting is one of the few standouts, from Elizabeth Gillies sounding seductive in the eponymous role, to Stephanie Beatriz serving as a fun counter as Batwoman. Considering their status as LGBT characters, there’s only one scene in which the Cat is attempting to seduce the Bat, only for the former tricking the latter, but once again, it feels like a missed opportunity to go deeper into that relationship, which ends up just being a standard buddy movie trope.
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