The importance of Black Panther has not been lost on fans, critics, experts, and the remaining hoi polloi who have no interest in comic books or superheroes. Yes, Blade and Spawn did come first, but Panther's expertly balanced mix of stylish action, laugh-out-loud humor, and powerful takeaways on race and racism are what make it a groundbreaking (not to mention game-changing) project for the world of black superheroes. However, some believe that this cultural phenomenon should have been set in motion long ago with other projects featuring comic book characters of color.
Recently, a senior contributor to The Federalist posted on Twitter, asking why there wasn't such an outpouring of love for Catwoman, the 2004 film where Halle Berry played a loosely based version of the classic DC antihero.
"Michelle Obama says it's about time black kids have a superhero that reflects who they are. Why didn't we hear this when Halle Berry as Catwoman was released years ago? #BlackPanther," wrote DC McAllister on February 22.
One of the movie's screenwriters, Jon Rogers, fired back at McAllister, pulling no punches on a film that died at the box office and in the hands of critics.
"As one of the credited writers of Catwoman, I believe I have the authority to say: because it was a sh-- movie dumped by the studio at the end of a style cycle, and had zero cultural relevance either in front of or behind the camera. This is a bad take. Feel shame," he wrote in a response on Twitter before adding:
"Also full disclosure: I’ve never watched the movie all the way through in one sitting. I skipped premiere night to shoot @jenni_baird audition footage for Global Frequency. And they’d fired me anyway for, y’know, snark."
Rogers was one of the co-creators on the animated Jackie Chan Adventures and helped Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman come up with the story for Michael Bay's first live-action Transformers film. He co-wrote Catwoman with the writing duo of John Brancato and Michael Ferris (The Game, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Terminator Salvation).
Directed by French visual effects supervisor Pitof, Catwoman was a critical and box-office failure for Warner Brothers. It made $82 million against a $100 million budget and holds a 9% on Rotten Tomatoes. At the Razzies, it won Worst Picture, Worst Actress, Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay; Berry even showed up to accept the award for Worst Actress, going so far as to say, "First of all, I want to thank Warner Brothers. Thank you for putting me in a piece of sh--, god-awful movie ... It was just what my career needed."
Me-owch! It's kinda hard to glean any significance from a movie if everyone involved in making it reviles the finished product and considers it worthless. You'd be better off with the live-action portrayals of Catwoman by Julie Newmar, Lee Meriwether, Eartha Kitt (Madame Zeroni and Yzma!), Michelle Pfeiffer, and Anne Hathaway.