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Batman: Why Michelle Pfeiffer Is The Best Catwoman

While she was a last-minute replacement for Batman Returns the Michelle Pfeiffer Catwoman become the defining performance of the character - here's why she's the best big screen Catwoman. Tim Burton's Batman was a game-changing blockbuster for Hollywood and would shatter the campy image of the character from the 1960s TV show. A sequel was inevitable, but Burton wasn't sure he wanted to make it. The stress and demands of the original had left a mark on the filmmaker and he didn't want to direct another movie under similar conditions.

Warner Bros eventually convinced Burton to come back by allowing him free rein creatively. This might explain why Batman Returns is one of the most unique - and weirdest - blockbusters in movie history. While it was another blockbuster it earned less than its predecessor and parents complained about Batman Returns' darkness and twisted sexuality, so the studio opted to replace Burton with Joel Schumacher for the third movie Batman Forever.

Related: Why Batman Movies Keep Telling The Same Story

Actress Sean Young was originally cast as Vicki Vale in Batman but had to leave the production following an injury. She famously campaigned for Catwoman in Batman Returns, even showing up unannounced to Burton's production office in a custom outfit for an audition. Annette Bening (Captain Marvel) was later cast, but when she had to leave due to pregnancy Michelle Pfeiffer became Catwoman.

Pfeiffer's Selina Kyle is the meek secretary to Gotham City businessman Max Shreck (Christopher Walken), but after he attempts to kill her when she uncovers one of his evil schemes, she transforms into Catwoman. Selina is initially exhilarated by her transformation, with Pfeiffer embodying Catwoman's mischievous spirit as she plots to destroy Shreck and teams up with The Penguin when Batman tries to spoil her fun. It's when she unknowingly helps frame Batman for a murder that her conscience resurfaces, with her quest for revenge gradually destroying her.

Pfeiffer is equally as strong playing Selina, who forms a surprisingly sweet romance with Bruce Wayne - with neither being aware of the other's superhero antics. This helps show the human side to Catwoman and what drives her. While there have been great Catwoman performances elsewhere, from Anne Hathaway in The Dark Knight Rises to Adrienne Barbeau's voice-over work in Batman: The Animated Series, the Michelle Pfeiffer Catwoman is still a fan favorite. She captured the antihero spirit that would come to define the character and brought the wicked humor, vicious fighting style and ultimately the soul behind the mask.

The Michelle Pfeiffer Catwoman is often considered the ultimate live-action take on the role, and she was originally supposed to return for a Burton-directed spinoff. This would have found Selina in a new city with amnesia following the events of Batman Returns and having to fight three male superheroes. The movie would fall into development hell and would eventually morph into the much-maligned Halle Berry Catwoman movie - which still features an easter egg reference to the Michelle Pfeiffer Catwoman.

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