We love us some heroic feminine icons in pop culture! From Wonder Woman to Supergirl and beyond, there are a ton of powerful female superheroes that we absolutely adore. In honor of the Dec. 25, 2020, release of "Wonder Woman 1984," Wonderwall.com is taking a look at the best female superheroes of our time. Keep reading for more…
Wonder Woman has finally made it to the big screen! More than 70 years after the character's DC Comics debut — and 42 years after "The Adventures of Wonder Woman" TV series premiered — Israeli actress Gal Gadot played the Amazonian princess and her alter ego, Diana Prince, in the 2017 action-adventure film "Wonder Woman." As a former member of the Israeli army with combat training experience, it seems this role was tailor-made for Gal! She told Collider in March 2017 that this character seemed to always be an aspiration for her: "Somehow I think that I always wished to play Wonder Woman, without even knowing it myself."
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The paragon of female superhero power was embodied by the original Wonder Woman, who was portrayed by Lynda Carter on TV's "Wonder Woman" from 1975 to 1979. In May 2017, Lynda posed with the new Wonder Woman, Gal Gadot, on the red carpet at the film's premiere. "I'm very excited — I feel like I just passed the baton to the anchor in the relay race in the Olympics," Lynda told People magazine of seeing Gal take on the iconic role.
One of the most underrated Marvel heroes? Okoye, played by Danai Gurira. The Wakandan heroine — a close ally of King T'Challa — made her Marvel Cinematic Universe debut in 2018's "Avengers: Infinity War." She embodies what it means to be a strong, resilient heroine. While she lacks superpowers in the literal sense, Okoye is both a skilled martial artist and a critical thinker. She shows just how powerful she is when she joins the Avengers following the Snap while leading Dora Milaje, the Wakandan armed forces, at the same time.
In 1997, 21-year-old Alicia Silverstone played Batgirl — a rebellious, crime-fighting computer-science enthusiast — in "Batman and Robin." Though, like Batman, Batgirl possesses no supernatural powers, she is endowed with incredible speed, flexibility and strength. Alicia would love another opportunity to play the character. "I feel like I could do a much better Batgirl now than I did then," she told USA Today in 2017. "It would be fun to tackle it again because I'm older and my acting is better. I know I would bring so much more to it." Let's get the band back together!
Leadership runs in the family! Shuri (Letitia Wright), the sister of King T'Challa, is Wakanda's leading scientist. In addition to developing ultra-advanced technology, she proves herself to be a self-sufficient ally and fighter in her own right. Shuri — who made her debut in 2018's "Black Panther" — bravely stands up and fights for her people alongside her brother.
Elizabeth Olsen portrayed the first female Avenger with superpowers in the Marvel franchise, beginning with "Avengers: Age of Ultron" in 2015 and "Captain America: Civil War" in 2016. Her character, Wanda Maximoff, has the superhero alias Scarlet Witch. Scarlet Witch's chief power is her ability to warp reality with energy that manifests in her hands. Elizabeth told People magazine in 2016, "What I like about Wanda is the idea of her being terrified of her own abilities — it's really fun to play with."
It's a bird! It's a plane! No, it's Supergirl! Melissa Benoist plays the titular character, who was born Kara Zor-El, in the show that debuted on The CW in 2015. Like her cousin Superman, Supergirl is Kryptonian, which means she posses superhuman strength, speed and stamina as well as X-ray vision and superhearing. Yup, a powerful lady all around.
Brie Larson is a seriously fierce Captain Marvel! The character — former U.S. Air Force pilot Carol Danvers — exhibits superhuman strength and the ability to fly. Rather than cower in the face of adversity, Captain Marvel remains steadfast — time and time again, she's proven that she will fearlessly fight when she knows she's needed.
In her most high profile role to date, Kate Mara portrayed geneticist and superhero Sue Storm, aka The Invisible Woman, in 2015's "Fantastic Four" remake. Although the film flopped at the box office, we still love this character. Sue's primary power, which emerged after she was exposed to a cosmic storm, allows her to become invisible and make others invisible.
Jessica Alba played Sue Storm in the 2005 "Fantastic Four" film as well as its 2007 sequel. The first one brought in nearly $200 million at the box office but received fairly negative reviews from critics. Critic Roger Ebert gave the movie one star. Ouch.
There are several reasons that Gamora from Marvel's "Guardians of the Galaxy" film franchise is a beloved female superhero. What particularly stands out, though? Just how brave she actually is. Gamora is a hero in the truest sense of the word — she willingly turns on Thanos despite her complicated history with him, and, as we know, she tragically loses her life while attempting to fight for the greater good.
Jennifer Garner portrayed Elektra Natchios in "Daredevil" in 2003 and reprised her role in "Elektra" in 2005. Elektra, a master of martial arts and weaponry, is a trained assassin and fervent feminine force.
While the Black Canary has been played by three different actresses on The CW's "Arrow," we especially commend Katie Cassidy's portrayal of the female heroine. With exceptional power over her vocal cords, the Black Canary exhibits a capacity to create any sound she wants, which allows her to ruthlessly fight off enemies.
Halle Berry played the villainous superhero Catwoman in the eponymous (and critically bashed) 2004 film loosely based on the DC Comics character. In the old comic version, Catwoman is known as both a superhero and a villain: She begins her career as a thief then shifts over to the righteous side to fight crime with her stealth and combat skills. In the film, Catwoman has actual superpowers of speed, agility and heightened senses.
Before Halle Berry, Michelle Pfeiffer portrayed iconic femme fatale Catwoman, aka Selina Kyle, in 1992's "Batman Returns." The role was later reprised by Anne Hathaway in 2012's "The Dark Knight Rises."
"Buffy the Vampire Slayer" first came to life in the 1992 comedy-horror movie about a high school Valley girl cheerleader, Buffy (played by Kristy Swanson), who hunts vampires. Five years later, the film was developed into the cult hit TV series of the same name, which ran from 1997 to 2003. Sarah Michelle Gellar will always be remembered for playing the impressive teen heroine.
When Faith (played by Eliza Dushku) debuted on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," she was this seemingly cool, calm and collected slayer — one so disparate from Buffy. What we came to learn, however, was that she was more troubled and less confident than she initially led people to believe. Still, Faith was a totally self-sufficient woman — she was left entirely to her own devices from early on and remained relentless and brave in the face of evil. Despite some temporary lapses in judgment (ahem, when she fought alongside the Mayor), Faith proved she was a reliable ally to the Scoobies by the end of the series.
Scarlett Johansson slays as Black Widow in "Iron Man 2," "The Avengers," "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," "Avengers: Age of Ultron," "Captain America: Civil War" and "Avengers: Endgame." Scarlett spoke to Variety in 2016 about exploring the possibility of a standalone Black Widow movie. "I would like for it to happen under the right circumstances. I think there's a lot of opportunity to mine that storyline. She's got a really rich origins story. There's a lot of places you can go — you can bring it back to Russia. You could explore the Widow program. There's all kinds of stuff that you could do with it." ScarJo soon got her wish: The film "Black Widow" will be released in 2021.
Mutant superhero Kitty Pryde was played by Elliot Page in 2006's "X-Men: The Last Stand" and 2014's "X-Men: Days of Future Past." Kitty Pryde has the supernatural ability to "phase" herself through solid matter — like walls and floors. She also has the power to alter people's states of consciousness and travel through time.
Jennifer Lawrence put on a stellar performance as Raven Darkholme aka Mystique in the second trilogy of "X-Men" films. In the franchise, Mystique is a shapeshifting antihero whose powers limit the rate at which she ages. Many people would pay big money for that power, no?!
And in another shade of blue… Rebecca Romijn portrayed the character of Mystique in the first trilogy of "X-Men" films. The costume process to transform into the powerful antiheroine was intense. Rebecca told Entertainment Weekly, "What's hard is acting behind all those prosthetics on my face, because I don't know if I'm getting across what I'm trying to, because of all the silicone. It's like exterior Botox without the needle. I should market it."
The Wasp — aka Hope Van Dyne — was played by Evangeline Lilly in 2015's "Ant-Man," 2018's "Ant-Man and the Wasp" and 2019's "Avengers: Endgame." She's talented hero with superior martial arts skills who's able to shrink to the size of a tiny (but mighty!) insect.
Halle Berry has played the mutant superhero Storm four times in the "X-Men" franchise. Ororo Munroe, aka Storm, possesses a bevy of magical powers, including psionic control over the weather and the gift of flight.
Hayden Panettiere portrayed Claire Bennet, a young teen with the superpower of magical healing, on the NBC psychological thriller "Heroes," which ran from 2006 to 2010. Claire could regenerate herself and then save others by doing the same.
Rogue, a member of the X-Men, is a standout when it comes to female superheroes. With the ability to steal the power of whomever she touches, Rogue (played by Anna Paquin) is one of the most powerful superheroes to date. Her unique mutant powers, which she uses exclusively for good rather than evil, makes her a serious threat to anyone who tries to cross her.
Krysten Ritter starred on Netflix's "Jessica Jones" as the titular Marvel antihero who has the powers of superstrength and resistance to physical injury. On the series, Jessica opened up her own detective agency after her superhero career came to an end.
In the animated Disney/Pixar film "The Incredibles" and its sequel, protagonist Helen Parr, aka Elastigirl, is the matriarch of her family of superheroes. She's married to Mr. Incredible, making her Mrs. Incredible. As evidenced by her name, Elastigirl has the superpower of flexibility — in addition to shapeshifting and superhuman strength. The character is voiced by Holly Hunter.