In honor of Women’s History Month, it is only right to observe that the rising status of female characters in comic-book-spun movies have come a long way from 2002. That was when the most iconic scene in “Spider-Man” — considered the template for the modern superhero film — was a rainy upside-down kiss shared by Kirsten Dunst’s Mary Jane Watson and Tobey Maguire’s Peter Parker after he saved her from being attacked by a gang of street thugs. Nothing wrong with romance, but Mary Jane was mostly defined by her attraction to her friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.
These days woman are doing more rescuing and less kissing in the comic-book adventures that are part of Marvel Cinematic Universe. In 2018’s “Black Panther” – the first film based on a superhero adventure that was nominated for a Best Picture Oscar – a collection of Wakandan all-female special forces act as T’Challa’s bodyguards. Then there came 2019’s “Captain Marvel” starring Oscar winner Brie Larson as the large and in-charge title hero. That movie cashed in at the worldwide box office, grossing $1.228 billion dollars in ticket sales.
And there is a motherlode of fierce femininity on display in upcoming Marvel movies in 2020. Most anticipated is the prequel “Black Widow” starring Scarlett Johansson along with fellow recent Oscar nominee Florence Pugh (“Little Women”) and Academy Award supporting actress winner Rachel Weisz (2005’s “The Constant Gardener”). It is directed by a woman – Cate Shortland, who hails from Down Under. The sure-to-be-blockbuster will kick off the summer movie season when it opens May 1.
And arriving in November is “Eternals,” directed by acclaimed indie helmer Chloe Zhao (2017’s “The Rider”). The story that is a spin-off from “Avengers: Endgame” centers on an immortal alien race that has secretly lived on Earth for 7,000 years as they reunite to protect humanity from an evil force. Richard Madden headlines with such co-stars as Salma Hayek, Angelina Jolie, Kumail Nanjiani and Kit Harington.
Here’s our list of the Top 10 Marvel-ous additions to the universe of female-driven films that fully flesh out the lore behind these mighty women superheroes, ranked lowest to highest in popularity by Gold Derby users who participated in a poll.