These Female Characters Don’t Need to be Rescued by Anyone.
Female Characters don’t get the respect they deserve in movies. Hollywood has an obsession with old school storytelling where Prince Charming has to come along and save the damsel in distress. Check out most action movies and the women in them are treated more like plot devices than actual characters. What kind of message does that send kids?
That’s why this week I decided to honor the badass female characters that send a very different message to kids. Namely, that girls will mess you up if you get too fresh with them. It was a hell of a list to narrow down because it turns out there are a lot of powerful women in film. However, I steered clear of animated movies, because that’s a list all in its own to tackle one day. No, this one is for the live-action women in movies that can throw down with the best of them. I’m not talking “strong” in the emotional fortitude, “I shall carry on while my husband is off at war,” kind of way. This is for the women who kick some serious ass. So, get ready because you’re about to get punched in the face by some hardcore feminism.
Honorable Mention: Rita Vrataski AKA The Angel Of Verdun AKA The Full Metal Bitch (Edge Of Tomorrow)
Alas, there are only top slots for badass female characters on this list and way too many kick-ass women from movies to put on it. However, I just had to give a shout out to Rita Vrataski from Edge of Tomorrow. The kind of warrior that never blinks in the face of impending doom and spits in the executioners face when he asks if she has any last words. Rita was so tough that she made Tom Cruise look like a sissy by comparison (a task not easily done by someone shorter than 6 feet). Besides, how badass do you have to be to earn the nickname The Full Metal Bitch?
10. Hanna (Hanna)
Kicking off this list is a female character you might remember from Stars & Popcorns 10 Best Movie Assassins list. Hanna might seem relatively young for this list (though she’s not the youngest), but she spends almost 2 hours taking apart heavily trained government operatives despite not having her driver’s license. Trained in the wilderness since she was a small child by a former CIA agent. Hanna pretty much “Jason Bourne’s” it across Europe after her father sends her on a mission. Stone cold in her resolve, Hanna not only completes her mission but makes everyone who stands in her way regret it. It turns out, hell hath no fury like a teenage girl.
9. Lorraine Broughton (Atomic Blonde)
Just a heads up, you’re going to see Charlize Theron on this list more than once and there’s good reason for that. 2017’s Atomic Blonde took John Wick and, well, made him blonde. From the same director as our favorite assassin, Lorraine Broughton has all the qualities we loved about him with a bit more charm and sophistication to her. A British Intelligence officer working with the CIA, Lorraine doesn’t resort to the “graceful” fighting style we normally see from female characters. Instead, she savagely beats her opponent by any means necessary and that means she has to take some hard hits to do it sometimes. But hey, women are hella tough and Lorraine is one of the toughest we’ve seen in years.
8. The Bride (Kill Bill Vol 1 and Vol 2)
Look, I’m not a fan of Quentin Tarantino’s, mostly because I’m not a college freshman who just discovered R-rated movies. However, I have to give the guy a bit of credit when it comes to The Bride. One of the first movies that really showed not just how brutal women can be, but also that they can look good even after a hardcore brawl, Kill Bill had several strong female characters in it. In the end, though, The Bride (aka Beatrice Kiddo) proved to be the strongest there is. Filled with 70’s-esque kung-fu fight sequences, samurai swords, and buckets of blood, Kill Bill puts its hero through the ringer. This character showed that not only can women create life, but they can take it away even easier.
7. Letty Ortiz (The Fast & Furious Franchise)
If you’re going to run with the likes of Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson, then you’ve got to be tough and if you’re looking for a tough woman, then you’re probably looking for Michelle Rodriguez. Letty might have played the damsel in distress once or twice in the series, but she also threw down when Ronda Rousey and Gina Carano (both are/were professional fighters in real life). She’s a gearhead with a solid right hook and has more than enough testosterone to fit in with the boys club that makes up the rest of the movie. This female character proves that anything boys can do, girls can do better.
6. Alice (The Resident Evil Franchise)
Hey, I’m not here to debate if the movies these female characters were in are good or not, just if they’re badass. Based on the blockbuster video game franchise, Alice was an original character created for the films and proved to be a one-woman army. Alice made surviving and even thriving in the zombie apocalypse look easy and always managed to find a form-fitting outfit to do it in. Mila Jovovich is known for playing incredibly strong female characters, but Alice reaches nearly ridiculous levels of badassery. Then again, how many times have we seen a man make it look all too easy? Alice does exactly that and doesn’t smear her eyeliner while doing it.
5. X-23 (Logan)
It only makes sense that a female character from one of the best movies of 2017 would make it onto this list. I know what you’re thinking, “How could a little girl be considered badass?” Well, she might be a little munchkin wearing a rainbow shirt with a horsey on it, but when her claws come out there isn’t enough oxy clean in the world to get the blood out of that shirt. Just take the scene where she first pulls them out, the man who laughed in “The Wolverines” face gets a look of terror and backs up slowly from her. That moment alone speaks volumes about just how badass this little girl is. Here’s hoping Marvel gives us a lot more of her in the future.
4. Ellen Ripley (The Alien Franchise)
Ripley is an absolute classic when it comes to badass female characters. She’s stood her ground against one of the most nightmarish creatures in all of cinema, and it took the xenomorph three movies to finally take her down. Ripley is so damn tough, that even Space Marines cower behind her when the stakes get a little too high. She managed to survive with her wits alone and then came back to take the fight to the bastards that terrorized her. Ripley is a role model for every little girl, because she’s not just tough in the traditional sense, she also stands her ground and wont be pushed around by men. It’s too bad the movies she’s in will probably give said little girls nightmares (I still get them sometimes).
3. Wonder Woman (The DCU)
In what might have been the most amazing superhero reveal of all time, Wonder Woman leapt onto the big screen and wowed audience across the world. Not only did she fight a literal God of War in her debut film, but in Justice League she was the one that held her own against Steppenwolf each time they crossed paths. Gal Gadot made Wonder Woman a powerhouse in a world that sets the bar pretty high when it comes to that kind of thing. Best of all, first time we get to see her on the big screen, she’s saving Batman and Superman’s butts. As far as badass female characters go, Wonder Woman was and is a game changer.
2. Imperator Furiosa (Mad Max: Fury Road)
2015 gave us one of the greatest female characters of all time. Charlize Theron makes her second appearance on this list as Furiosa, a woman who defied a warlord and lived to make him regret it. In a wasteland where only the most brutal and savage survive, Furiosa had the unwavering respect of Immortan Joe’s War Boys until she turned on them. After that, she proved herself to be a damn hard woman as she tore ass across a desolate landscape with an army chasing her. Furiosa was a strong woman that was never treated like a sex object by filmmakers. She wasn’t strong and sexy, she was just tough in all sense of the word.
1. Leia Organa (Star Wars)
Princess, senator, freedom fighter, general. Leia Organa is one of the most important examples of strong female characters in cinema. Bursting onto the screen during the height of exploitation films, the first time we meet Leia she’s standing face to face with the biggest villain in the galaxy and she barely bats an eye at him. It’s not the last time she proves to be a thorn in the Empire’s side, as she eventually goes on to lead the Resistance that would destroy a fascist state. Even with her brother being one of the most powerful warriors the galaxy has seen, Leia earned the respect of warriors that would die for her. Plus, she’s pretty handy with a blaster. That’s why she’s tops the list of the most badass female characters in movies.
Like I said, this was a list that proved to be way more difficult than I suspected when I sat down to write it. Narrowing it down to just 10 was painful as plenty of characters didn’t make it on here. While there’s no debating that these female characters are badass, I’d love to hear who your favorite of all time is. Be sure to comment below who you loved from the list and who you wish had been on it!