After more than a decade, screenwriter John Rogers has finally confirmed what many have long suspected: the 2004 film Catwoman is not a very good movie. The occasion for Rogers’ statement was a tweet from the Federalist’s D.C. McAllister, suggesting that people getting excited over Black Panther were somehow insincere, given that Catwoman wasn’t greeted with similar praise:
The first problem with McAllister’s tweet is that we did, in fact, “hear this” when Halle Berry made Catwoman, right up to the moment audiences actually got to see Catwoman. The interesting thing looking back at pre-release coverage of the film is that questions of representation are relentlessly discussed, but almost always solely in terms of their potential impact on box office, even by the actors themselves. Here’s Berry’s co-star/love interest Benjamin Bratt on starring in a superhero film with people of color in the leading roles:
That a big movie like Catwoman has two ethnic leads proves that, at a certain point, even people of color become green. That’s what it’s all about. That nobody said a thing about it was a relief to someone like myself who’s been up against walls of discrimination.
And here’s Berry:
This movie presented to me a whole new challenge, something I haven’t done. It allowed me an opportunity to hopefully prove—if I’m really lucky, if the movie god is watching—that a woman, especially a woman of color, can open one of these summer movies.
Whether Bratt and Berry described their work on Catwoman in financial terms because that was the savvy way for actors to talk about movies in 2004 or because they correctly guessed that no one was going to be praising their performances, it wasn’t a secret that the film’s casting was a milestone. In any event, John Rogers wasn’t having it: McAllister’s tweet led him to break Hollywood’s longstanding Code of Not Admitting Catwoman Was Terrible:
The film’s other credited writers don’t seem to have weighed in yet. Meanwhile, Rogers has been blown away by media coverage of his tweet, so much so that he wrote a tweetstorm about it:
The notion that you can redeem yourself for Catwoman by launching the Transformers franchise seems a little dodgy as a moral or artistic proposition, but as a matter of accounting, it’s solid. As to whether or not Rogers’ original tweet rates the media coverage its received, as one of the credited writers on “It’s Official: Catwoman Screenwriter Admits Catwoman Is Not a Very Good Movie,” I will be making an official statement on the matter of its quality and newsworthiness fourteen years from now.