I can find tributes or homages to Michelle Pfeiffer anywhere, of course, but even non-obsessives must’ve noticed the similarities between Kristen Wiig’s Barbara Minerva in Wonder Woman 1984 and Michelle’s Selina Kyle in Batman Returns.
Both women transform from meek and mousy into ferocious feline predators, Selina as Catwoman and Barbara as Cheetah. Hair plays a similar role in each woman’s transformation, of course, with their messy curls being allowed to roam free from hair clips, acting as visual signatures of their new, unbridled feminine powers. They are women, heat them roar.
Wonder Woman 1984 has a lot of heart, even if it doesn’t always work as perfectly as the first film. At its core though, it’s about hope, compassion and love again, and Gal Gadot perfectly embodies these amazing qualities in Diana once more. Batman Returns, of course, is a vastly different, altogether darker movie, but the links between Michelle’s Selina and Wiig’s Barbara are impossible to miss.
And even though Wiig doesn’t reach the once-in-a-lifetime peak level of Michelle’s Catwoman, she is absolutely wonderful in WW84. I have to imagine she and the film are paying direct homage to Michelle’s monumental performance. And that makes me smile, to see that all these years later, Michelle’s mark on the superhero film genre remains as indelible as ever.