For several years, movies were mainly dominated by men with do-gooder sensibilities, oozing machismo and a ruggedness that qualifies them as badass. Not very many movie studios were willing to put strong female characters into the mix. That is, until recently, with female empowerment being on the rise. Of course, since we’re talking about women here, it would only be appropriate to actually come up with a list of the best and strongest characters in movies that were all female.
In Quentin Tarantino’s alternate history movie, “Inglorious Bastards”, you had a character like Shoshana. When not surrounded by oozing machismo from rebels looking to overthrow Hitler’s regime, she is off planning the most intricate ways to exact revenge. Her story is one that seems pretty common in many movies. However, it was the execution of Melanie Laurent that really gave her more than enough dimension to become a highly memorable female lead.
Nancy Thompson is practically the prototypical horror movie lead. She gets chased around by some supernatural force quite a lot, especially in her dreams. Yet, this “Nightmare on Elm Street” heroine finds very resourceful ways to defeat Freddy Kruger. Besides, if you’re the first person ever to have defeated the dream demon, you know you’re badass in your own right.
While a lot of critics had a lot of mixed feelings about the grimness of “Batman Returns”, they all applauded Michelle Pfeiffer’s performance as Catwoman. A lot of women surely have portrayed this role in various forms of media. Yet, it was her turn that solidified the comic book character’s status as badass. Her portrayal would end up becoming the standard for all femme fatales in the comic book world to come.
Lara Croft was a video game character that was largely sexualized upon the release of Crystal Dynamics’ “Tomb Raider.” However, it wasn’t until the movie adaptation that people came to see this character as beyond having large boobs. In fact, Angelina Jolie gave Lara a streak of coldness laced with wisecracks and excellent gun-toting skills. The sequel was terrible, but the first movie ended up becoming a summer blockbuster that, despite being filled with cheesy moments, had the audience roaring in applause.
Here we have Milla Jovovich again. This time, she is off battling zombies and other mutated, undead freaks. While her character was never part of “Resident Evil” canon, she was memorable enough to have been given lead heroine status in all of the movies so far. While it’s very much a far cry from the source material, the movie franchise is still good, dumb fun.
Carrie Fisher’s breakout role as Princess Leia certainly paved the way for strong female characters in movies. Despite having been kidnapped by Darth Vader, getting her love interest frozen in carbonite and turned into a slave princess for Jabba the Hutt, she more than held her own. Not only did she prove effective as a kickass heroine, but also a skilled tactician in combat.