EDITOR’S NOTE: BOF received a free copy of this film from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment for reviewing purposes.
After decades of being one of Gotham City’s most famous faces, Catwoman has her own animated movie. CATWOMAN: HUNTED is a fun heist movie that takes chances, with mixed results, but keeps the character front and center.
Selina Kyle has her eyes on a heavily-guarded gem. By way of a masquerade, she climbs and trots her way into the possession of the object, momentarily, before setting off a chain of events that brings her face-to-face with other known members of the DC Universe.
The story unfolding in CATWOMAN: HUNTED starts off VERY Catwoman, takes a few detours into the DC Universe, before ending in a smaller-scoped catfight. On the surface, I don’t think I completely loved the story as a whole. The beginning started perfect, it added some ingredients that worked more often than not, dipped into a little too fantastical, then culminated in a really cool showdown.
However, this version of Catwoman has all of the features of the best iterations of the character. In the beginning, she’s very reminiscent of the version we got in ARKHAM CITY: light on her feet, sleek, quick, agile, and elegant in her speech. She’s sneaky and toes the line of hero/villain. Catwoman is perfectly voiced by actress Elizabeth Gillies. She hits all of the right notes, capitalizing on the golden age Hollywood dialect that the best Selinas have. With such a great version of the character, I was in to go wherever the story took me.
Another standout in this movie was Black Mask, voiced by Jonathan Banks (BREAKING BAD). He brought a very serious, grounded version of Roman Sionis that we haven’t really seen in animation (THE BATMAN, UNDER THE RED HOOD) or live-action (BIRDS OF PREY). Sadly, Stephanie Beatriz was a bit of a letdown as Batwoman, which is a bummer because I’m such a huge fan of hers in BROOKLYN NINE-NINE. Though cool in fight scenes, I found her Kate Kane quite monotone and just kind of boring. The rest of the cast voicing familiar characters (Barbara Minerva, Julia Pennyworth, Tobias Whale, and more) did a respectable job.
When this movie was first announced, one of the headlines was that it was going to be anime. Now, anime isn’t really my genre, but I’ll dip in when some of my favorite characters are included (BATMAN: GOTHAM KNIGHT, BATMAN NINJA). CATWOMAN: HUNTED didn’t go as hard into the style as BATMAN NINJA did, but it’s still there…if you know what I mean. I actually really enjoyed the look and style on display here. It offered something different from before and was unique in its approach into the world of Catwoman.
I only have two real complaints about the movie, but they carry some weight. First, the vibe is a little all over the place. At times, the movie felt like it was going for a 60’s spy film, then morphed into an odd 70’s bit, then unidentifiable, then a 90’s heist, then repeat. It felt a little jarring at times and was distracting instead of enjoyable. Secondly, at about the 45-minute mark, the movie goes in a direction that doesn’t feel Catwoman…at all. That, too, took me out of the film for a few moments.
Like I said at the top though, when you create such a strong lead, you’ll follow them wherever the story goes. Which is the overall strength of CATWOMAN: HUNTED. The lead is a great version of the 82-year-old feline, that holds true to the core of the character while taking her into places we haven’t been before. – Ryan Lower