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Selina Kyle's Darkest Moments In The Batman Ranked

One of the best aspects of the multiple Batman film franchises made over the past few decades has been their excellent portrayals of Selina Kyle. 1992's "Batman Returns" offers Michelle Pfeiffer's wildly dangerous and anarchistic take on Catwoman. 2012's "The Dark Knight Rises" features Anne Hathaway in the role, who mixes flippancy with true emotional depth and impressive physicality. In 2022's "The Batman," Zoe Kravitz delivers a wounded and selfless Selina Kyle who echoes previous incarnations while still feeling like her own woman.

A large part of what sets Kravitz's portrayal apart is the darkness of her journey. Batman, of course, is no stranger to all things grim and gritty, be it in terms of color palette or emotionality. But Catwoman's path can be even more harrowing than his — a fact "The Batman" takes advantage of. Kravitz's Selina Kyle is the darkest across the board: From her origin to her current state to her options going forward, shadows, injustice, and pain define her world.

But not all events are equally dipped in darkness, even in Catwoman's life. Which moments stand out as the feline fatale's bleakest? We're here to find out. These are Selina Kyle's darkest moments in "The Batman," ranked from the merely grim to the hopelessly pitch-black.

8. Selina goes it alone

At the conclusion of "The Batman," Catwoman and Batman (Robert Pattinson) share a moment by Selina's mom's tomb. They briefly discuss the future, including her plans to leave Gotham in the rearview. She figures she might check out Bludhaven and target a few hedge fund managers. It's a direction perfectly in line with this Catwoman, who mostly seems to steal to help the weak and punish the corrupt. She also thinks it'd be good to have Batman along for the ride. 

She feels an undeniable attraction to him, despite never seeing his face and correctly guessing he's grown up wealthy. More significant, though, is the emotional bond she feels between them. While she doesn't know he's an orphan with a lifetime of trauma mirroring her own, she certainly senses it. But Batman rejects this invitation. He can't justify theft, even if it is to punish the corrupt, and he can't leave Gotham — not with all that's happened and all he feels he still has to do.

There is darkness in the disappointment of rejection, of course. However, this alone isn't what puts this moment on this list. Selina makes the bleak truth of this decision clear in her own words: Not only is she leaving without the man she believes could be her partner in romance and justice, she knows his choice is damning him. She'll be fine, even if it takes a while — but Batman? She's certain Gotham will destroy him physically, emotionally, and spiritually. And there's nothing she can do but accept that.

7. Batman demands answers

After Batman and Catwoman's initial tête-à-tête, she agrees to go into the Iceberg Lounge wearing a wire and video-broadcasting contact lenses. The Lounge is something of a playground for Carmine Falcone (John Turturro), Gotham's most prominent gang leader, and a symbol of his approach. Sure, the Penguin (Colin Farrell) owns and runs the place, but he works for Falcone. Let others say and act like they're in charge — when the chips are down, they all report to him.

Selina unexpectedly runs into Falcone, who seems to recognize her right off. In addition to saying he hasn't seen her in a while, he is very physically familiar with her. He strokes her face gently and encourages her to be around more often. Batman seizes on this immediately and demands she explain how she knows Falcone, why she didn't tell him earlier, and so on. Selina warns him to let it go, but he doesn't listen. She pulls out the contact lenses and terminates both the audio and video feeds.

This might not seem like a particularly dark moment in and of itself. However, by the film's end, we understand  how deeply uncomfortable this encounter truly is, because of a crucial revelation: Selina is Falcone's illegitimate child. She's aware this is the case, but neither Falcone nor Batman has any idea. This unexpected meeting is profoundly unnerving for obvious reasons, but the fact that Selina is then forced to endure interrogation makes it even worse. Batman essentially asks her to expose her darkest secret to someone she barely knows. He has no idea what's truly going on, of course, but he certainly misses a lot of obvious signs of distress for being the world's greatest detective. Accidental though it might be, the Caped Crusader nevertheless contributes to a very dark moment for Selina.

6. Working the Iceberg Lounge

While Selina is a criminal in her own right, that doesn't mean she signs off on all criminal behavior. Case in point, she's displeased by much of what happens between the rich and poor in the Iceberg Lounge. No one symbolizes this brutal power disparity more than the boss of the Lounge himself, Carmine Falcone. Decked out in tailored designer suits and tinted sunglasses, Falcone cuts a striking and strangely endearing figure. However, Selina knows better than most what a lie that image is.

Selina's mother worked for Falcone years earlier in the secret club-within-a-club, 44 Below. This is where the real criminal activity seems to take place: Whatever vice a person has, 44 Below is ready to fill it, provided the guest has the money and influence to make it worth the proprietors' while. Despite fancying himself the consummate businessman, Falcone was not above the temptations of the flesh. He began an affair with Selina's mother that eventually resulted in her birth. Years later, when Selina became an orphan, Falcone refused to step up and claim her as his own. As a result, the future Catwoman was left to brave the foster system while the gangster went on living the high life.

Years later, Selina finds herself working for the man who could have changed her life ... and didn't. This is an especially grim moment in a life Falcone has ensured is already full of them.

5. Returning to 44 Below

While Selina seems to mainly work in the respectable part of the Iceberg Lounge these days, comments made by certain characters suggest this was not always the case. The most explicit comes from Carmine Falcone himself, who notes it's been a long time since he's seen Selina in 44 Below, the Lounge's seamy underbelly. Given what we later learn about their relationship, we can assume she did not have close contact with him in 44 Below, but she was clearly around enough that he took note.

Working in 44 Below can't have been easy, given its reputation for allowing the rich and powerful to indulge their desires with little restraint. However, that's not wholly why this visit is such a dark moment for Selina. What makes this event so trying is her history: Selina's mom worked in 44 Below before her. There, she met Falcone and became his lover. Even after giving birth to Selina, she continued to work for Falcone, apparently without demanding he take responsibility for his child. Despite the unconventionality of the situation, it did seem to work out for a time. Selina even mentions that her mom would sometimes bring her to the club while she worked a shift.

But everything fell apart when Selina mom was murdered in 44 Below. Going undercover there is revisiting the scene of a heinous crime for Selina. To make matters worse, we later discover Falcone himself was the murderer. While Selina has no idea at the time, this revelation adds an even darker hue to her return to 44 Below.

4. Annika's abduction

When Batman first encounters Catwoman, much of her motivation seems to be getting a woman named Annika (Hana Hrzic) out of Gotham. However, unlike Selina, Annika specifically works in 44 Below. There, she meets Mayor Don Mitchell Jr. (Rupert Penry-Jones), who is implied to have been physically abusive at least once. After that incident, Mitchell took Annika's passport. This ensures Annika won't go to anyone with what she knows about him, because she'll have no way of escaping after exposing such secrets.

After Mitchell is killed, Annika worries it might be because of what he told her, which means the killer could be coming for her next. Selina decides to help her by stealing back the passport. Though she does ultimately manage to crack the safe, liberate the passport, avoid the cops, and convince Batman of the crime's righteousness, when Selina returns home, Annika is gone. The broken front door and disheveled apartment suggest an abduction. 

Selina faces a crushing truth in this moment: Her mission was successful, but she left Annika alone and vulnerable while completing it. With the passport in hand, the only remaining challenge should be finding a way to get Annika out of the country without being stopped by criminal thugs or corrupt officials. After this brutal kidnapping, however, Selina must find and save Annika before something terrible happens.

3. Sinking her claws into a corrupt cop

When Batman first visits the Iceberg Lounge, he doesn't receive a warm welcome. Specifically, the club's goons attempt to punch, kick, and shoot him. Batman works them over pretty well until Penguin intercedes and invites the Dark Knight up to his office.

Batman later realizes one of the men he fought was a Gotham City cop moonlighting as part of the Penguin's security detail. Selina takes that information and chases down the corrupt Detective Kenzie (Peter McDonald). Some time after that, she lights the Bat Signal to bring the Dark Knight running. Gordon (Jeffrey Wright) arrives at almost the same time, and the two find Kenzie tied up and brutalized.

The cop's physical state makes it seem likely that Selina didn't just drag him to the signal and immediately turn it on. Rather, it suggests she took her time working him over a bit, perhaps even torturing him, before alerting Batman. If that wasn't disturbing enough, Selina continues to delve into darkness by threatening to kill Kenzie. While she ultimately doesn't, she does kick him off the building. Of course, it can be argued that she does so knowing Batman and Gordon will save him. Still, given how difficult that proves to be, she certainly seems fine with the alternate possibility of neither being able to get to Kenzie in time.

2. Selina's fateful choice

While viewers never learn exactly how long Selina Kyle has wanted to ruin Carmine Falcone's life, this doesn't seem like a spur-of-the-moment thing. Since learning of her true parentage, Selina has done her best to take back what's hers. As she succinctly puts it, Falcone owes her. And what's a bit of grand larceny between family members?

But in light of Annika's fate, Selina alters her plan. She doesn't just want to take Falcone's money any longer — she wants to take his life. The gangster certainly doesn't help matters when he confesses, while attempting to strangle her, that he had to do the same to her mother all those years ago. Psychologically, Selina must wade through near-total darkness in this moment. Falcone killed Annika. Falcone killed her mother. Falcone ensured she never had a childhood. Murdering him doesn't just seem understandable — it almost feels necessary.

However, Selina also has Batman's voice in her head, telling her that killing Falcone will see her sink to the mobster's level. Thus, she's in a no-win situation, which only seems to promise more darkness. On the one hand, she can pull the trigger and wipe Falcone off the face of the planet. She'll forever be trapped with the knowledge that she murdered another human being when other choices existed, but her revenge will be complete. On the other hand, she can spare him and hope that, against all odds, justice will win out. That outcome sounds nobler, but it also forces her to let her mother's killer live. Even if he were sentenced to death, would that ever sit right with her?

1. Annika's fate

Selina's darkest moment arrives in the trunk of a car. There, hidden among bags of money, lies a significantly heavier bag. When she and Batman unzip it, the fate of Annika, Selina's whole reason for becoming involved with this sordid situation, is revealed. Annika was not only kidnapped that night she disappeared from the apartment — she was murdered, and her body was stuffed into this bag, to be tossed into the river or buried in some remote location.

This is a horrible moment for Selina on multiple levels. Annika, who was so dear to Selina, is dead — this is a desperate tragedy unto itself. Buried beneath that is the foolishness of the grueling search Selina embarked upon to find her: There was never any chance of saving her after all. Then, Selina must face the fact that she promised Annika everything would be okay. Finally, at the bottom of this brutality, lies a simple, awful truth: Annika met her demise after Selina left her alone. Had Selina only gone out at a different time or on a different day, she could have been there when Falcone's thugs arrived. Her mere presence might have dissuaded them from even trying.

Selina Kyle's life is already full of death, but until this point, she's been a passive observer of this fact. She couldn't have saved her mother, as she was too young, and her mom was too willing to walk back into danger. But in Annika's case, Selina was an active player. She was even coming close to getting her out of Gotham and on the road to safety. But in the end, Selina finds Annika's body in a bag, two days after her death. The darkness of this moment is so intense, no light can penetrate it.