-By Arnie Fenner
There’s been a great deal of excitement in 2015 about women action heroes—women warriors, as it were—in no small part because of the widely-held belief that there has been a serious lack of them in genre films/TV through the years so that whenever one appears it’s a big deal. And, proportionally, that’s true. But it’s also true that there have been—and are—a number of serious buttkicking heroines (with more undoubtedly to come) and today, along the same lines of the “who is your favorite Batman” game, I thought I’d pose the “who was/is your favorite?” question here. Just for fun.
Honor Blackman as Dr. Cathy Gale in the British series The Avengers.
“Mrs. Peel, we’re needed!” Diana Rigg’s Emma Peel replaced Honor Blackman in
The Avengers and she and John Steed alternated each week between who saved whom.
But as I mentioned to Lauren recently during a conversation, I never saw Steed beat up
two guards and mow down a firing squad with a submachine gun like Mrs. Peel did
to save him in “The Living Dead” episode. Who would I count on when things were
desperate, John or Emma? Mrs. Peel, hands down.
Anne Francis as Honey West, a kinda American version of Mrs. Peel. My wife Cathy’s mom
went to high school with Ms Francis (best known for her role as Altaira in Forbidden Planet).
Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman.
Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia was a true badass. In Star Wars she plugged Stormtroopers right and left; in The Empire Fights Back she led a rebel army; in The Return of the Jedi she defrosted Han, strangled Jabba the Hutt while wearing a slave girl-bikini, and croaked Empire scouts in a high-speed chase. Sure, sure, thirty-odd years later some people have problems with her slave girl outfit in RoftJ. Me? It’s part of the story, Jabba made her wear it, she made Jabba sorry, so it’s all fine by me.
Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley in Alien and Aliens (I’d rather forget the other
sequels). Smarter, more tenacious, and definitely tougher than everyone else on the
screen, heroes don’t come any better. I mean. c’mon, if they had listened to her in the
first place and left Kane outside, her first crew, the settlers, and the Marines, would’ve
lived (though the movies would have been, admittedly, much less exciting).
Agent Dana Scully as played by Gillian Anderson in The X-Files.
She had tons more brains than Mulder.
Lucy Lawless as Xena: Warrior Princess.
Carrie-Anne Moss as Trinity in The Matrix trilogy. If she hadn’t saved Neo
a couple of times, he would have never lived to be “The One.”
Angelina Jolie as (top) Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and as “Jane” in Mr. & Mrs. Smith.
“Who’s your Daddy now?”
Kate Beckinsale as the vampiric Selene the Death Dealer in Underworld.
Leeloo—The Fifth Element—as portrayed by Mila Jovovich kicks some serious
Mangalore ass before saving the world. (Ms Jovovich also plays Alice in the
Resident Evil film series.) “Multipass!”
Uma Thurman as Beatrix “Black Mamba” Kiddo—aka The Bride—in Kill Bill 1&2.
A “wronged woman entitled to her revenge”—and she got it. Ms Thurman
also played Mrs. Peel in a 1998 movie version of The Avengers.
Scarlett Johansson as Natasha “Black Widow” Romanoff in the Iron Man,
The Avengers, and Captain America films. If they gave her her own movie, I’d go.
Though there are many strong women in HBO’s Game of Thrones adaptation
(Daenerys Targaryen, Brienne of Tarth, Ygritte, Yara Greyjoy, Osha, and more) my bet
is that Maisie Williams’ Arya Stark is going to turn out to be the most important character
in the series. She’s a fearless survivor and she does hold a grudge.
Like Ripley—and Princess Leia, too, for that matter—Katniss Everdeen, as played
by Jennifer Lawrence in the Hunger Games series, is a hero with a conscience and a heart.
Charlize Theron’s as Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road: a sequel, Mad Max: Furiosa is supposedly in the works. Ms Theron also portrayed the title character in Æon Flux.
Daisy Ridley as Rey in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. There were a lot of angry fans when
the SW Monopoly set appeared without a Rey figure, but my hunch is we’re going to see
a lot of product featuring her in the weeks, months, and, yeah, years ahead.
Gal Godot will be the new Wonder Woman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
that will be released on March 25. Inspired more by the WW of Kingdom Come than the
1940s (and TV) version, there’s a lot of anticipation for the film. Let’s see if they pull it off.
I know this is something of a cursory list; there are many others that can be listed, especially when films and TV shows from around the world are considered (not to mention animated characters), and feel free to nominate your own favorite if I missed her.
Is there a sexuality to a lot of the costumes and characters? Of course. We’re people and sex is a huge part of being human.
Are male heroes treated similarly? Certainly not. Never. Not once. Nope, nope, nope. No one would ever depict—and no one would ever want to see—guy heroes as, ewwwww, desirable, right?
So…favorite warrior women? Discuss.