In honor of Wonder Woman’s historic origin film dropping this weekend, it’s only right to salute nine other female superheroes who save mankind from, well, men. Check out the entire list below! (*BEWARE SPOILERS*)
1. Trinity performed by Carrie-Anne Moss (“The Matrix”)
“Matrix” sequels aside, Trinity has more agency in one spin-kick than most individuals have in their lifetime. Introduced to the world at the beginning of the digital age, Trinity represents a woman whose power derives from self-confidence. By letting go of inhibitions or gender-conforming characteristics, Trinity is free to be a savior of humanity, a mentor, a lover and a fighter whose prowess no man dare question. Neo might be the “One,” but it’s Trinity who plays the integral part of breaking apart the digital chains holding Neo back. For once, it’s the man who takes a cue from a woman on heroism.
2. Jean Grey performed by Famke Janssen (X-Men Franchise)
Rising from the ashes of a cliché love triangle, telepathic mutant Jean Grey asserts her autonomy in spellbinding fashion. Formerly relegated to exposition and aforementioned love interest trappings, Grey ends “X2: X-Men United” by sacrificing herself in an awesome demonstration of power. Grey’s devotion to her mutant family and refusal to fall into either #TeamScott or #TeamLogan further cements her icon status. Returning as Dark Phoenix, the fallen hero conveys deep wells of pain and torment that humanly complicate this amber-haired fan favorite.
3. Catwoman performed by Anne Hathaway (“The Dark Knight Rises”)
Slinky, sinister and undeniably sexy, Catwoman demonstrates relatively early on such pretense is necessary to survive in Gotham. Hathaway’s Selina Kyle is a broken gal trying to find the escapist fun amidst the carnage. When Gotham is being overrun by Bane’s anarchists, Kyle goes from femme fatale to shockingly good Samaritan without losing any of her beguiling charm.
4. Hit-Girl performed by Chloe Grace Moretz (“Kick-Ass”)
It isn’t her foul mouth or hyper-violent tendencies that make Hit-Girl a heroine worth noting. Instead of succumbing to the darkness from her childhood past, Mindy/Hit-Girl draws from it to toughen her resolve. Most onscreen female heroines with a tragic upbringing tend to use it as a crutch for audience sympathy. Hit-Girl uses the past as a cautionary tale to spear her forward, rushing to enact a concoction of justice and revenge that marks appropriate targets. She might be a disturbed child, but as a crime-fighter, Hit-Girl is more effective than even the most law-abiding officers.
5. Wonder Woman performed by Gal Gadot (“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”)
Gadot’s commitment towards Wonder Woman’s spirit and fearless no-nonsense combat was the only thing shielding the movie from total failure. Even though her introduction echoed Hathaway’s Catwoman in terms of creating a flirtatious cat-and-mouse dynamic with Bruce Wayne, Gadot’s Wonder Woman never seemed bogged down by the script’s bloated nature. Every scene with Diana Prince was like a quick shot of espresso to wake moviegoers back up again. Once she appeared in full regalia to fight Doomsday alongside Tweedledee and Tweedledum (I’ll leave it up to you to figure out the distinction), audiences let out an enormous applause to signal the return of DC’s finest female defender of Earth. Gal Gadot wore that crown like it was bestowed on her by the Gods at birth.
6. Black Widow performed by Scarlett Johansson (MCU Franchise)
Queen of the hallway take-downs, Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff is defined via action instead of words. Born in Soviet Russia and trained as lethal spy, Romanoff biggest obstacle to overcome is deceiving herself. Often times she’s running headlong into battle while silently suppressing her dark past. Romanoff finds therapy in taking up causes or saving the world alongside the Avengers. The fear she has of letting others in lest they severly judge is entirely human and a dilemma millions of women face daily. As such, Romanoff is treated more as a weapon of fascination than a human being, a tragedy that has us all rooting for her eventual spinoff film.
7. Evey Hammond performed by Natalie Portman (“V for Vendetta”)
Although not a journalist, Evey Hammond represents someone close to the media whose uncompromising demand for truth casts them in an unfair treasonous light. Evey’s tireless efforts to support the mysterious “V” in overthrowing the British totalitarian government are driven by her devotion to social justice. There’s nothing intrinsically “special” about Evey other than she’s someone who stumbles upon the means to help the oppressed. Rather than let “V” solely fight the regime or pass along responsibility to someone else, Evey bravely puts her life on the line for something far grander than herself. It’s her altruism at any cost that evolves Evey from ignorant citizen to extraordinary freedom fighter.
8. Silk Spectre II performed by Malin Akerman (“Watchmen”)
The only female member of the resurfaced Watchmen team, Silk Spectre II/Laurie Jupiter endures double the pressure. Being the sole female representation means she has more to prove while protecting a society predisposed to entrusting men with lawfulness. Furthermore, Laurie is the second iteration of her heroine alter-ego, following in her mother’s footsteps in symbol only. In reality, Sally Jupiter was the token female member of the team who fell prey to sexual assault and fanfare objectification. Laurie proudly honors her mother by inspiring others to set aside their frustration and focus on their conscience. Although Laurie belongs to an imperfect world, her faith in the goodness of her friends reverses Earth’s assumed dark future.
9. Laura/X-23 performed by Dafne Keen (“Logan”)
Enduring a childhood of experimentation no adult could survive, Laura has every right to be violently reactive to those who wish her harm. Savagely primal and unconcerned with the wastefulness of speech or diplomacy, Laura represents the ultimate consequence of genocidal intolerance. Even though Logan eventually awakens something of a personality, Laura’s killer instinct never truly softens. Nor should it ever given her undeserved suffering from inception onward.
10. Storm performed by Halle Berry (X-Men Franchise)
Storm’s very presence sends a literal chill down her foes’ spines. As soon as her eyes turn milky-white, there’s no stopping the mighty blow of her maelstrom mutant powers. For a female to wield such astonishing abilities without a caveat or hackneyed explanation automatically puts her on equal footing with similarly written male heroes. Even more laudable is how humble Storm is; she’s never one to boast or show-off. When appropriate, she does what is needed, subsequently packs up for the day and goes back to her mutant existence. For causing quite the ruckus, Storm is ironically as far from an attention-seeker as they come.
Who are your favorite female superheroes in comic book films? Share below!