This Women’s History Month, we’re continuing to bring you some of the most powerful, smart, and intelligent on-screen female characters in recent decades! We’ve put up a list of characters from movies who fans have identified with and who have inspired many people through their portrayals.
Cherry Darling (Planet Terror)
In 2007, the horror-comedy film ‘Planet Terror’ introduced audiences to ‘Cherry Darling’ – a go-go dance performer who is hardened by her profession. She loses a leg after a car accident when she is attacked by a horde of zombies. As an appendage, she is first fitted with a wooden plank and then a high-powered machine gun as a replacement for her leg. Using a combination of her dance moves and the assault rifle, she wreaks havoc on the mutating zombies.
‘Cherry Darling’ is played by actress Rose McGowan and the movie also stars Marley Shelton and singer-songwriter Fergie.
Watch ‘Planet Terror’ on: Apple TV
The Bride (Kill Bill)
Strutting with her Katana blade, dressed in all yellow and known as ‘Black Mamba’ is ‘the bride’ from Kill Bill. She’s a vengeance-seeking skilled assassin who disposes as much blood from her enemies as seen in any slasher movie. The character is trained by a lethal group of assassins and rises high in their ranks.
In the movies, she gets pitted against many other powerful female members of the ‘Deadly Viper Assassination Squad’ on her journey seeking revenge. After surviving an assassination attempt and spending years in a coma, the bride seeks vengeance and stops at nothing. In her own words, “It’s mercy, compassion, and forgiveness I lack, not rationality.”
In 2020, the character was ranked at number twenty-three in Empire Magazine’s list of The 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time. Despite the fact that Kill Bill was released in two parts, Quentin Tarantino is reported to have scripted it as a single film. Uma Thurman plays Beatrix “The Bride” Kiddo in another venture with Quentin Tarantino after 1994’s Pulp Fiction.
She is no stranger to playing dominating female characters on screen playing ‘Medusa’ in ‘Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief’ (2010), ‘Agent Emma Peel’ in the spy flick ‘The Avengers’ (1998), a superpowered ‘Jenny Johnson’ in the romantic comedy ‘My Super Ex Girlfriend’ (2006) and famously ‘Dr. Pamela Isley / Poison Ivy’ in ‘Batman & Robin’ (1997).
Furiosa: Mad Max (Fury Road)
Charlize Theron’s role as ‘Furiosa’ was one of the standout performances in the film. She is defiant and adamant to fulfil her mission, despite only having one arm and a mechanized wrist to complete the other. Being kidnapped from ‘The Green Place’ at a young age, her heritage lies with ‘The Vuvalini’ or ‘The Many Mothers.’ In the movie, ‘Furiosa’ works for the citadel’s commander, ‘Immortan Joe’. She operates a vehicle known as the ‘The War Rig’, which she can put into motion via a kill switch sequence. She Sports a buzz cut and is highly skilled in combat and the use of artillery.
‘Catwoman’ Zoë Kravitz also stars in ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ as ‘Toast the Knowing’, one of the wives of ‘Immortan Joe’. Fans need not wait too long to see the character once again as ‘Furiosa’ will return to the big screen in a prequel movie, however, the role will be played by Anya Taylor-Joy.
Charlize Theron has played a number of strong female characters on-screen, including ‘Cipher’ in the Fast and the Furious Franchise, ‘Queen Ravenna’ in both the ‘Snow White’ and ‘Huntsmen’ movies, ‘Æon Flux’ in the live-action movie ‘Æon Flux’, and ‘Andy / Andromache of Scythia’ in ‘Old Guard’.
Madison “Maddie” Young (Hush)
One for representation, ‘Hush‘ depicts a strong female protagonist who fights for her survival. Madison ‘Maddie’ Young is a writer who lives in a secluded cabin in the woods with her cat. In the author biography section of her book ‘Midnight Mass’, it is revealed that she suffered hearing loss and vocal temporal paralysis after contracting bacterial meningitis.
The movie commences with her battling writer’s block while demonstrating her daily routines. A night of terror reigns when she finds herself being terrorized by a masked assailant. With no superpowers or enhanced senses, she engages her attacker. Her attention to detail, ability to lipread and careful planning are key to her survival.
Kate Siegel underwent extensive training in sign language for the role. Mike Flanagan directed the horror-slasher film. He is also the creative mind behind the series ‘The Haunting of Hill House’, ‘The Haunting of Bly Manor’, ‘Midnight Mass‘, and the movie ‘Gerald’s Game‘. There is a level of continuity between his productions as the novel ‘Midnight Mass’ appears in ‘Gerald’s Game‘ too. Kate Siegel also stars in the TV series ‘Midnight Mass’.
Watch ‘Hush’ on: Netflix
Lara Croft (Lara Croft: Tomb Raider)
An entry in our list of a character represented in multiple films and in the 2000s video game series. By profession, Lara Croft is an archaeologist and treasure hunter. She lives at ‘Abbington Estate’, where she stores all her recovered prizes. On her several treasure-hunting expeditions, she is frequently faced with others who are looking for the same relics as her. She has two handguns and a shotgun in her arsenal. Lara is a master acrobat, an expert martial artist, and a person of high intelligence.
Angelina Jolie played ‘Lara Croft’ in the 2001 film adaptation of the iconic video game ‘Tomb Raider,’ which was based on the popular video game. She portrayed the character once again in its sequel ‘ Lara Croft: Tomb Raider – The Cradle of Life.’ Recently, in the 2018 remake, the character was played by Alicia Vikander.
Watch ‘Tomb Raider’ on: Apple TV
Harley Quinn (Suicide Squad)
Dr. Harleen Frances Quinzel is one of the few anti-heroines to appear in multiple films. Her character was also one of the first to feature in an animated television series, followed by comic books and finally, a film. The movies show her transformation from Dr. Harleen Quinzel, a psychiatrist at Arkham Asylum, into ‘Clown Princess of Crime’- Harley Quinn.
An inmate of ‘Belle Reve Penitentiary’, she joins ‘Task Force X’ – a response force of inmates established to confront world dangers. She has extensive acrobatic training and is seen swinging a baseball bat while she also owns a mallet. Harley possesses a spotted hyena which she calls ‘Bruce’ and serves as the love interest of her ‘puddin’ the Joker.
Actress Margot Robbie plays the character in ‘Suicide Squad’ (2016), ‘Birds of Prey’ (2020), ‘The Suicide Squad’ (2021) and there is a mention of her in the conversation between Batman and the Joker in Snyder Cut of ‘Justice League’ (2021).
Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games)
Katniss Everdeen is an expert archer. She is also a skilled knife fighter and a trained specialist hand-to-hand combatant. She lives in the dystopian nation of ‘Panem.’ Her adventure begins when she volunteers to take her younger sister’s place in the Hunger Games as a ‘tribute’. Born in poverty, she is stubborn and courageous will not give in to the ways of ‘the capitol.’ Her tenacity and bravery are displayed through her compassion.
Jennifer Lawrence plays ‘Katniss Everdeen’ across all the four movie adaptations of the books by author Suzanne Collins. She also plays comic book female character ‘Raven Darkhölme / Mystique’ in the X men Franchise and ‘Dominika Egorova’, a famous ballerina turned spy in the thriller movie ‘Red Sparrow’ (2018).
Black Widow (Marvel Cinematic Universe)
Since 2010’s Iron Man 2, fans have been enthralled by the modern-day female superhero played by Scarlett Johansson. First introduced as ‘Natalie Rushman’, a notary in Stark Industries Legal department, she goes on to be one of the members of the Avengers initiative. She is not only a trained superspy but also well prepared in handling human and alien threats. Her gear of weapons includes a variety of electronic tasers and glock handguns. Widow is an interrogation expert and uses her skills to retrieve vital information from her targets.
A former KGB assassin, she gets recruited by S.H.I.E.L.D with assistance from “Hawkeye/Clint Barton”. Her MCU story arc puts her up against various other superheroes and villains on her journey to redeem herself from the acts committed as a black widow assassin.
Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow appears in nine movies in Marvel Cinematic Universe. She finally got her solo story in the ‘Black Widow‘ released in 2021. Cannon to the MCU timeline, the character is voiced by Lake Bell in Marvel’s ‘What If’ animated series. Scarlett Johansson has also played strong female protagonist leads in ‘Lucy’ (2014) and ‘Ghost in the Shell’ (2017). In ‘The Avengers’ (2012) she was the only female character on the team. She is set to return to the MCU in another role soon.
Watch ‘Black Widow’ on: Disney+
Okoye (Black Panther)
Introduced in the record-breaking and Oscar-winning film ‘Black Panther‘ in 2018 was ‘Okoye’. Another comic book and MCU character on our list is the General of the ‘Dora Milaje’. Dora Milaje are an elite squad of female warriors in the fictional nation of Wakanda. She is also the head of the Wakandan army.
She carries a collapsable Vibranium spear, is armed with ‘Kimoyo’ beads and sports a Dora Milaje red and gold-colored outfit. Across the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, she aligns herself with T’Challa, Captain America, Black Widow, and Wanda Maximoff.
Danai Gurira plays ‘Okoye’ in the MCU and will reprise her role once again in the upcoming ‘Black Panther’ sequel, her fourth time playing the character.
Watch ‘Black Panther’ on: Disney+
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Feature Image Via Marvel.