Audiences and critics are praising Zoë Kravitz’s tough but vulnerable take on Catwoman/Selina Kyle in Matt Reeves’ The Batman, along with her sizzling chemistry with the titular hero. A decidedly more discerning audience has voiced its approval as well: Comic book fans who appreciate how closely the film hews to the complicated relationship between the Bat and the Cat on the inked page.
However, the fan approval isn’t all that surprising, considering The Batman is a high point in a career that thus far has established an impressive amount of geek cred for Kravitz, with many of her roles coming in legendary comic book, sci-fi, and fantasy franchises like Harry Potter, Mad Max, and The X-Men. While some of her genre films, such as Kin, After Earth, and the Divergent trilogy, have been decidedly subpar, several have emerged as contemporary classics. Below are Zoe Kravitz’s best geek films, according to Rotten Tomatoes.
Neither critics nor general audiences were enchanted with the sequel to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which stretches Harry Potter author J.K Rowling’s thin source material even thinner in an effort to fill an excessive run time of 134 minutes. Set in Rowling’s “Wizarding World” 70 years before the events of Harry Potter, Kravitz plays the talented pureblood witch Leta Lestrange, one of Albus Dumbledore’s best students and close friend of the protagonist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne). Though the sequel features more of Lestrange than the original film and provides her with a cataclysmic sendoff, not even Kravitz’s charisma in the role is enough to save this plodding trek through the Potterverse.
While Catwoman may not be considered as much of a barometer for acting as the Joker, whose incarnations have been bestowed with Oscars for Heath Ledger and Joaquin Phoenix, Kravitz is still standing on the shoulders of some giants who have played the role before her in Michelle Pfeiffer, Anne Hathaway, and the legendary Eartha Kitt. And while Halle Berry’s Catwoman may not be as well-regarded, Kravitz nevertheless continues Berry and Kitt’s important legacy of African American women playing the character. In The Batman, she gets to fight for justice, play detective, and spin-kick goons and thugs alongside the Caped Crusader — all in full leather on a custom-built bike.
Producer Brian Singer’s reboot of the X-Men franchise he had shepherded through the initial iteration of the franchise, First Class got a shot in the arm from the style and energy of director Matthew Vaughn who came to prominence with Layer Cake and Kick Ass. The fresh conceit was to set the action in the 1960s and cast the mutants with hot, young actors such as Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence. Kravitz plays Angel Salvadore, who can fly from sprouted insect wings and spit acid and who ultimately goes over to the mutant dark side. The movie is notable for being the first entry in Kravitz’ geek canon before she became enshrined as a bonafide geek goddess.
Kravitz warmed up for her live action work in The Batman by voicing Catwoman in The Lego Batman movie, the first spin-off of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller’s much-loved original The Lego Movie. Kravitz is part of a large rogues’ gallery of famous Batman villains and joins a huge all-star voice cast that includes Ralph Fiennes, Channing Tatum, Rosario Dawson, and Michael Cera. Though her part is brief, Kravitz nevertheless doubled up on her geek cred by coming aboard both the Batman and Lego universes.
HBO Max released Kimi just a month before The Batman hit theaters. Comparing Kravitz’ performance in the two movies demonstrates her impressive range as an actor. In Steven Soderbergh’s near-future-set speculative film, she plays a tech worker who is afraid to leave her house. Her relationships are mostly virtual, as is her job resolving customer issues with “Kimi,” an Alexa-type device. When she overhears what she believes to be a heinous crime, she must conquer her fear of going out into the world in order to find justice for the victim. This digital update of classics about paranoia and voyeurism — such as Rear Window, Blow Out, and The Conversation — showcases Kravitz’s virtuosity.
After the success of The Lego Movie and The Lego Batman Movie, producer/directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller upped their animation game even further by delivering this spectacular and creative Oscar winner for Best Animated Feature. In the film, Miles Morales, a Brooklyn teen, becomes the new Spider-Man after the death of Peter Parker. The film follows as we be learns to embrace his role under the tutelage of various Spider-persons from across the multiverse. Kravitz has a small but pivotal part as Parker’s widow, Mary Jane, who provides much need motivation for the heroes. Kravitz is part of a star-studded voice cast that includes Chris Pine, Mahershala Ali, Lily Tomlin, and Nicolas Cage.
It’s a stone-cold classic and a film that cinephiles will likely be watching in 100 years — just as contemporary viewers still watch the Buster Keaton classics that inspired the Mad Max films. Director George Miller’s movie chronicles Max (Tom Hardy) and Furiosa’s (Charlize Theron) quest to rescue a slave harem from the loathsome dictator Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne) and free the suffering peoples of Joe’s Citadel. Kravitz plays Toast the Knowing (a name that only Miller could have dreamed up), one of the young women who becomes embroiled in a fight for the future of post-apocalyptic humanity. Winner of six Academy Awards, Fury Road has quickly become considered one of the greatest and most visionary of all modern cinematic action epics.
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