One of the things I loved about 2015 was the wider array of stronger, powerful, action-packed roles available for actresses. A far cry from the damsel-in-distress roles that have been way too many for way too long. The best part of these action roles is that they were loved, the performances were praised, and most of these movies did well too. So as we wind down the year, let’s hear it once more for the action women of 2015!
Sofia Boutella as Gazelle in Kingsman: The Secret Service
She was not part of the good guys’ gang. Instead she worked with Samuel Jackson to destroy most of the world. But boy, was she a cool killer! As Gazelle, Sofia Boutella had bionic legs that could easily slice a human in half. Cool, confident, swift and an expert in martial arts, Gazelle was one of the deadliest sidekicks to be seen on the big screen this year.
Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow in Avengers: Age of Ultron
Scarlett Johansson has been playing this role since 2010 when she was introduced into the Marvel universe in Iron Man 2. While a standalone Black Widow movie is surprisingly still not in Marvel’s immediate plans, Johansson has found a huge fan-following for her portrayal of this highly flexible, ass-kicking, gun-yielding superhero. While the love angle with Bruce Banner was a bit of an irritant, Black Widow was still terrific when it came to making the bad guys pay this year. We’ll be gleefully waiting for her return in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War.
Charlize Theron as Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road
The movie’s name may say Mad Max but the movie’s biggest asset and surprise too was Charlize Theron’s role of Imperator Furiosa. A calm warrior with a prosthetic arm, who does not flinch when shooting down her pursuers. Furiosa’s shaved head and that war-paint, along with a fierce determination in her eyes, made her one of the most iconic roles of the year. But the beauty of this role lay in the humanity that Furiosa managed to display in a broken dystopian world. Mad Max was simply catching up with her throughout the film!
Emilia Clarke as Sarah Connor in Terminator Genisys
Sarah Connor is already one of the leading names of cinema when it comes to action women. Played by Linda Hamilton in the first two movies of the franchise, Sarah Connor went from being a frail woman who needed Kyle Reese to protect her in the first movie to a motivated fierce fighter in the second one. Even though Terminator Genisys took us to the time period of the first movie, it thankfully gave us a tough Sarah Connor who knows the dangers in store for her and is mentally and physically ready to take them on. The role reversal was complete when she screamed to Reese, “Come with me if you want to live!”, a line uttered the other way round in the original movie.
Rebecca Ferguson as Ilsa Faust in Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation
Tom Cruise was always been the center of attention in Mission: Impossible movies, but in this year’s latest instalment he would have gladly shared the spotlight because Rebecca Ferguson was here to make a big impression. Her character of Ilsa Faust carries a strong commanding personality, quick to take decisions when the going gets tough, ready to pick up any weapon when called into action. She is deadly and dangerous, and keeps Ethan Hunt on his toes the whole time. And the audience too.
Emily Blunt as Kate Macer in Sicario
Kate Macer is the FBI agent in Sicario who likes to follow the rule book. Only to learn soon that everyone ain’t doing the same. Quite a gender-neutral role, it was great to see that Emily Blunt bagged it and delivered it with such perfection. Kate Macer is tough, determined, and more importantly, real. She goes through a lot of dilemma internally, while still trying to do her job to the best of her abilities. One of the best roles of the year!
Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2
We have come to admire Katniss Everdeen in this franchise for her ability to absorb pain and suffering and turn them into motivation to claim justice. In the last movie too, Katniss Everdeen is once more a role model, who never steps back, who isn’t afraid of being in the line of fire, who will risk her life to save those of her friends and family. The book series and then the movie franchise has turned Katniss Everdeen into a global icon, with her dexterous use of the bow and arrows becoming quite symbolic.
Daisy Ridley as Fey in Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Star Wars gets the credit for creating Princess Leia way back in 1977 who was tough in her own way, a leader with immense fortitude, a lady who needed no man to help her (even though Han Solo came along). In Star Wars: The Force Awakens we meet Rey, who was left as a young child on a difficult planet to fend for herself. Smart, confident, definitely capable of flooring a few of the bad guys, Rey’s character arc brings her closer to the Force and its powers. Her battle with the antagonist, Kylo Ren, was one of the highlights of the movie. We’ll be seeing and learning more about Rey in the upcoming Star Wars flicks. Hurrah to that!