Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Make It a Movie May: Batwoman

As I've already covered in this series, there are some pretty obvious choices for movies out there in the comicsverse. Oracle has the whole women-superhero squad thing going for her, Jenny Sparks is a legendary figure of awesomeness, and Wonder Woman is, well, Wonder Woman.

So, I'd like to delve a little further afield and bring back another woman who I think would benefit greatly from her own movie: Batwoman.

"Batwoman?" I hear you say, "But isn't she just a pale imitation of Batman, or maybe Batgirl all grown up or something? I thought she was just trying to get in Bruce Wayne's pants."


Batwoman was introduced on the Batman TV show in the 60s as a female foil for Batman, yes, but she was a lot more than that. Admittedly, she was a little silly, but so were most things about that show. What she really served to do was establish the credibility of female caped crusaders in the Batman universe.

She faded from popularity after that, and was reincarnated in her present(-ish) form in the mid-2000s. I'm ignoring whatever has happened to her in New 52 because I hate New 52, in case that wasn't already abundantly clear.

Batwoman, or Kate Kane as she is sometimes called, is sort of a mirror version of Batman, it's true. She rose to prominence in Gotham when Batman was dead (long story), but when he came back, she refused to just fade into the shadows like a good little girl. She kept on fighting crime, and doing it with a lot stronger hold to her secret identity than most heroes are able to keep.

Kate's background prepared her uniquely for deciding to stalk the night. Independently wealthy, like Batman, she enjoys a close relationship with her father, and, like him, attended West Point. She was highly regarded and on her way to a very decorated career when she was outed as a lesbian and dishonorably discharged. After that she floundered for a while, playing the dilettante heir, and even dating another Gotham hero, The Question (Renee Montoya). Renee eventually got fed up with Kate's recklessness, and demanded she clean her act up. They aren't together anymore, but Kate finally got herself back on her feet and found a new war to fight. One on crime.

What makes her compelling? Well, differently from Batman, Kate isn't fighting any obvious personal demons. Her family was attacked when she was a child, a fact that comes up later in the comics, especially in the brilliant collection Batwoman: Elegy, which I've already reviewed here, but Kate isn't motivated by a need to fix that or to wipe it from her memory. She does good because she needs to do something, and because fighting crime is a war worth winning.

As far as movie potential goes, Batwoman is appealing in a lot of the same ways Batman is. You've got your cover identity, with Kate swanning off to galas, only with a twist, because she's always hitting on the prettiest woman in the room. You've got your secret lair where she works on her gadgets, only twisted because her military-trained father is the one who helps her, and they're up in a treehouse, essentially. And fundamentally, where Batman broods and angsts about his past, Batwoman just gets the job done.

Her villains are just as crazy, her stories are just as epic, but she's a touch more fun, and a lot more interesting.

The only question left in my mind is who the heck could play her.


  1. As the kids say: THIS!

    Yes! to a Batwoman movie. Flailing arms in agreement to everything you've said.

    Also, great blog! Found you through Feministe, and I am now a fan.

    1. Thanks so much! Batwoman's been a favorite of mine for a while, and it just kills me that she gets so little respect over at DC. Ugh. Need Batwoman movie stat.

      And I'm glad you like the blog! I just checked yours out, and I have to say I love the Friday quotes. Serious kudos on always finding something thought-provoking.

  2. Kate's a fantastic character.

    The first one who went through my head to play her was Patricia Tallman (who I mostly remember from Babylon 5). She's 55 now, which might be too old for the part - not that stops guys getting cast for action roles - and she's a stuntwoman as well as an actor. If she doesn't play Kate, she'd make a good Maggie Sawyer for the Gotham police department.

    The second was Julia Benson, who managed to turn a recurring bit part on Stargate Universe into one of the two best characters on the show (even when contending with them writing in an Unrequited Love for the prettyboy) (IMO the other best character was Jennifer Spence's Dr Park).

    Naturally, Michelle Rodriguez should play Montoya.

    1. Forgot to say. One of the best things about her - that I saw in Elegy - was that unlike the rest of the Batfamily, she wasn't inspired by Batman so much as the Bat *signal.* I like that because it's the signal, that link to the authorities represented by Gordon, that makes Batman's mission more than personal vigilantism. And that same "more" means it can be adopted as someone's own mission and banner rather than riding the trail of his - which is what Kate has done.

    2. And how could I forget Anna Torv as Kate?

  3. id like two see amber hrard or megan fox as batwoman when is the movie coming

  4. id love two see amber heard as batwoman or megan fox bovl good girls and when is the movie coming