Here’s the thing – Tom already reviewed Catwoman and he killed it. I have nothing to add to his writeup at Number 5. I’m more fascinated by the process that created this movie.
Michelle Pfeiffer was amazing as Catwoman. To critics and fans alike, she was the one thing everyone agreed was great. I’m indifferent to Michelle Pfeiffer and I never was a Catwoman comic fan, and they knocked this out of the park, I would have gone to the Catwoman spinoff movie Tim Burton was planning. But Warner Brothers thought that Batman Returns was going to be an even bigger hit than it was, and a couple parent’s groups were complaining about how dark the Batman films were, and the toy people wanted to sell toys that were actually in a movie that kids could see.
So they ditched Burton and his ideas. Burton at that point was on his fifth straight hit. And they hired Joel Schumacher who had just done Dying Young, Flatliners and Cousins. Someone got paid to make a decision like that.
It worked for a movie before they drove the franchise off of a cliff.
Twelve years after Batman Returns, after no one cared about Catwoman anymore and they lost all momentum, Warner Brothers decided to give her her own movie because that’s the sort of thing Warner Brothers does. (Like spending a quarter of a billion dollars on a Green Lantern film that didn’t have a finished script when they started filming.) They also changed everything about her that worked in every medium she had previously appeared in.
They hired a director known for visual effects who somehow made the entire film look like a really lousy videogame. They hired a writer from Terminator 3. No scratch that. They hired TWO writers from Terminator 3. And a writer from The Core, the movie where we drill to the center of the Earth to get it spinning again.
Catwoman had potential. She was DC’s premier burglar and a permanent wildcard that engaged Batman almost as much as the Joker did. Instead, she got vague cat powers, a part in a makeup company conspiracy, and a costume that was neither useful or sexy.
It’s kind of appropriate that Tom had Catwoman as his #4, because my next selection kind of ties in to that theme. You would think that, in the aftermath of that fiasco, that studios would learn their lesson, that they would no longer create standalone pictures based on characters that no one cared about, and that they would no longer miscast actresses in roles they had no business playing.
Daredevil did OK business at the box office, but that was in spite of itself. It was meandering and boring, with unimpressive action sequences and terrible performances. Apparently, however, a studio exec at Fox thought the problem with that film was that it was just too damned believable. To remedy this, they brought Elektra back from the dead, and attempted to pretend Daredevil never existed- which is like attempting to cover up a pile of bullshit with a pile of bull semen.
The film was made on the cheap, which presumably meant cutting out decent effects, original action sequences, and a coherent plot. I’ll try to explain it: Elektra is resurrected and trained by Stick to be a member of The Chaste, but can’t quite hack it because she’s too angry. So, she becomes an assassin in the employ of The Hand, and is hired to kill a girl called The Treasure, but she can’t do that either because she’s too compassionate, so the Hand come after her, and….
Every action element of this film is culled from a different, far superior martial arts film, be it the Hero-like curtain fight or the Crouching Tiger – like tree maze fight. That wouldn’t be so bad, except for the fact that the sequences are so far and few between.
Instead, most of the film deals with Elektra dealing with her inner demons, which essentially means Jennifer Garner looking sour for most of the film. She drifts around brooding and being upset, but Garner can’t pull anything off any other face except I- can’t- stop- eating- lemons. It’s the other side of the terrible superhero film coin: Instead of being relentlessly stupid and campy, it’s relentlessly serious and boring. But the price paid by audiences is the same: you just can’t wait for it to be over.