The Batwoman (1968) is far more feminist that you would expect from the poster

If you look at the cover for this and go “why, it’s just a luchador-themed excuse for Maura Monti to run around in a Batman-themed bikini” then the art department has clearly done their job, Written (probably, it’s hard to say when the translation undoubtedly cost a tenner) by Alfredo Salazar and directed by René Cardona, this is a one hundred percent unofficial cash in on the success of Adam West’s take on DC Comics’ caped crusader. That includes being campy and nonsensical fun.

“Boss, what do you want us to do with the subtext?”

Maura Monti plays the role of Gloria; a socialite who decides to use her superpower of being rich to become The Batwoman, a nationally renowned mask-wearing wrestling superstar who fights all the wrestling-based crime that frequently strikes the nation. To keep her identity secret, she does things like arriving on the scene by parachuting into a crowd of her fans and driving everywhere in her full wrestling bikini and cape. If any of you is going “but why?” this is not the film for you.

“Thanks, it has pockets”

She has been called to wherever the hell the film is based by Mario (Hector Godoy) and Tony (Armando Silvestre), two vaguely hunky men with very large wardrobes. Their carry out the three important tasks of being the only two policemen in the Secret Service who know Batwoman’s identity, feeding her crucial bits of information, and making every scene they’re in look like the start of a porno. I’m fairly sure they are supposed to have distinct personalities and jobs, but they’re fundamentally a bit of eye candy for Batwoman to show off to, so who cares.

“I could kill both of you in a second, hu-hah!”

And in the Evil Villains corner, weighing in at a combined weight of 433 credited acting roles, we have Dr Eric (Roberto Canedo) and Igor (Carlos Suarez). Their plan is making a couple hundred giant fish-man creatures by putting the penial glands of wrestlers into Action Man dolls and shake them around a bit when they’re near goldfish. They mostly chew the scenery as if their next job depended on it, selling the crazy incredibly well, and order their indeterminate number of goons off to do things.

Never question the accurarcy of my plot discriptions again.

As you can imagine, the plot is vividly non-sensical and the direction matches it. Nothing happens without extensive foreshadowing, every line of dialogue is delivered like someone four gins into a murder-mystery dinner party, and nothing exists until it appears in frame. So, for example, people carefully explain, with great projection, how they got ambushed by goons who were clearly 5 feet away from them and in plain sight. Then The Batwoman turns up and judo-chops the goons into the ground with the grace of a drunken swan.

“I’m going to kill all of you in a few second with my bare hands, hu-hah!”

There probably is an argument to be made that the dub is badly translated and cheaply performed but given how well it marries up to the action on screen I don’t think that the case. About the only thing we lose from the original Mexican soundtrack is any natural background sounds, but that just adds to the overall kookiness.

“Bad shaving accident, honest”

Adding to the kook is the way The Batwoman’s costume is handled. Make no bones about it, Maura Monti didn’t get such a skimpy costume just to save on wardrobe costs. But The Batwoman isn’t presented as a sex object because of it, at least not by modern understanding. She is regularly seen wearing other costumes, almost always with the cowl on, with varying levels of practicality and elegance. it’s just that whenever she’s near the waterfront or in the water, which happens quite a lot, she’s in her bikini because that’s what you wear to the seaside.

“Time to put on my thinking-cardigen”

Combined with how she is regularly commented on as being beautiful in a respectful, rather than lustful, manner and it ends up being a semi-feminist inversion of the action heroes of the early 80s. The aforementioned duo of assistants are suggestively available for her, rather than her to them, she beats the crap out of or outthinks her opponents without using her feminine wiles, and her overall physicality is discussed in terms of competence rather than desirability. All this in a costume that caused regular pauses in filming because it gave her front and back wedges.


Bringing all this together is a breakneck directorial style that is completely indifferent to any production shortcomings. Every moment is high excitement combined with mild peril. Fights are brief and bloodless, 30mph car chases are shot like Bullet, and the endless exposition bombs have just the right speed to give a sense of adventure without you needing to work to keep up. This film is there to entertain you in the most relaxing manner possible, to offer you unstopping things happening on screen even if nothing much actually goes down.

It even has wrestling!

In short, it’s a hypnotic Treasure of a film and a total example of the sum being greater than the parts. On paper, this is pure garbage. But five minutes in and you just want to see what happens next, even if it is out of disbelief. It’s brazenly cheap and excessively cheerful, like a Mexican Butlins that plays nothing but age-appropriate Pop-Punk covers. It is fun for the sake of fun, and more movies need to be like it. Although probably with better everything.

The Raggedyman

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