The Marvel Cinematic Universe has done a lot right in the 11 years since it began. One of their biggest accomplishments is the way women have been depicted. Gone are the days when females were simply damsels in distress or just the love interest of a male superhero. The MCU has showcased heroic women in ways that we've never seen on the big screen before.
Things have ramped up recent years with the release of films like Captain Marvel, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Black Panther, which all featured strong female characters. Throughout the more than a decade of history in these MCU films, there are plenty of standout moments for these ladies. We've picked out the ten most badass of them all.
10 Black Widow's Interrogation
The first time audiences got to see Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow was in Iron Man 2. She shined in a big hallway fight that nearly made this list. It was our first look at her in 2012's The Avengers that stood out to us. In it, Romanoff gets interrogated by a group of thugs.
It looks like she's in serious trouble. Then a phone call comes in for Romanoff and she confidently says the interrogator is giving her everything she wants. Knowing that she has to come in and save her friend Clint Barton, Romanoff fights off the thugs and breaks free. She does it with the greatest of ease and vanquishes them before calmly picking up her heels and walking off.
9 Valkyrie Arrives
In Thor: Ragnarok, viewers are introduced to Scrapper 142 (Tessa Thompson) as she takes down Thor and sells him into slavery to the Grandmaster. She's immediately cool, but not much is known about her. Thor finds out that she's a Valkyrie, who were a group of warrior women who defended Asgard. Thor recruits her, but she declines and just wants to drink her life away.
Scrapper 142 eventually agrees to join Thor's "Revengers" group. He gifts her back her old outfit and Valkyrie is officially born. She walks into the final fight with swagger before she kicks ass against Hela's minions. It's the moment that made Valkyrie into a crowd favorite and is part of why Thor went on to choose her to take over as King of Asgard.
8 Mirror Dimension Fight
Long before Doctor Strange proved himself to be the master of the mystic arts, he had to suffer through a long learning period. He got all of his skills from the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton). When 2016's Doctor Strange begins, we see the Ancient One as she fights off a group of Sorcerers in a visually impressive battle.
However, it's the fight in the Mirror Dimension towards the middle of the film that steals the show. The Ancient One holds back Kaecillius and his buddies in one of the most breathtaking fights that the MCU has ever witnessed. It all leads up to her finally letting go and dying as she sets Doctor Strange up to succeed her.
7 Women Of Wakanda In South Korea
One aspect that Black Panther was lauded for was how it handled the supporting female characters. Teenage genius Shuri (Letitia Wright), loyal warrior Okoye (Danai Gurira), and freedom fighter Nakia (Lupita Nyong'o) all got many moments throughout the film. But it was the trip to South Korea that ranks above them all.
While there, Okoye throws off her wig when she's spotted and beats up a bunch of guys. While they hunt down the villainous Klaue, Okoye and Nakia do some pretty awesome stunts during a car chase. Meanwhile, Shuri remotely gets her brother where he needs to be to save the day while showcasing her brilliant mind. It was a wonderful stretch for all three.
6 "She's Not Alone"
During the Battle of Wakanda in Avengers: Infinity War, things look almost as dire as they ever have for our heroes. Other than dealing with the Outriders, Thanos' Black Order army are among those that fight. The lone female member of the Black Order was Proxima Midnight. She stands off against a downed Scarlet Witch and says she'll die alone, but then something awesome happens.
"She's not alone," is heard as the camera pans up to see Black Widow and Okoye ready to stand up for their fellow woman. Three of the most badass ladies in the MCU join forces to take down Proxima Midnight and help swing the momentum of the important war.
5 Extremis Pepper
Aldrich Killian/The Mandarin spends most of Iron Man 3 dishing out the Extremis virus that he created. It was meant to heal injuries but Killian couldn't perfect it. In an effort to get Tony Stark to find a way to fix its flaws, Killian injected Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), knowing that Tony would rush to save her.
During the fight between Tony and Aldrich, Pepper gets involved and seems to fall to her death. With Tony's life on the line, Aldrich is suddenly knocked aside by none other than Pepper, powered by the Extremis virus. She defeats the bad guy and does a badass kick to do so. Even Tony is left speechless at this awesome moment.
4 "You Took Everything From Me"
A driving force of Avengers: Infinity War is the relationship between Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision. With Thanos searching for Infinity Stones and one of them stuck in Vision's head, his life was on the line. Wanda eventually destroys him to save everyone, only for Thanos to rewind time and brutally murder Vision. Thanos snaps his fingers and wipes out half of the universe, including Wanda.
When the snap is reversed in Avengers: Endgame, Wanda returns. She confronts 2014 Thanos from the past with a, "You took everything from me." This Thanos doesn't know her but Wanda proceeds to violently decimate him. She does what no other hero was able to. She has Thanos defeated and is only stopped by missiles raining down on everyone. It reminded everyone of how powerful Scarlet Witch is.
3 The Wasp Kicks Ass
At the end of 2015's Ant-Man, Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) is gifted the Wasp suit that her mother used to wear by her father. That set her up for a big role in the sequel and once we saw it was titled Ant-Man and The Wasp, some were concerned she may end up as nothing more than a sidekick.
But in the first scene where we see her don the suit, it's clear that she's no sidekick. The Wasp takes out a group of henchmen in impressive fashion while showing off her wings and blasters. In fact, she proved to be superior to Ant-Man in her combat skills in just one scene.
2 Endgame Team Up
The massive battle at the end of Avengers: Endgame is one of the largest in cinematic history. It nearly lasts an entire hour. At one point, Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) joins the fray and is handed the Infinity Gauntlet by Spider-Man. With Thanos' army heading right towards them, Spider-Man questioned how she could get it where it needed to be.
Captain Marvel is them joined by Okoye, Valkyrie, Pepper Potts, the Wasp, Gamora, Shuri, Nebula, Mantis, and Scarlet Witch. The women of the MCU come together to face off against Thanos' army in a badass moment of fan service. They proceed to clear a path for Captain Marvel, even if Thanos ultimately blows up the time machine.
1 Captain Marvel Powers Up
Throughout the course of Captain Marvel, Carol Danvers shows flashes of being powerful but something always holds her back. Near the end, she encounters the Supreme Intelligence and removes the Kree implant that suppresses those powers. From then on, Captain Marvel shows how powerful she can be.
The final section of the movie sees her utterly destroy every nemesis that comes into her path. That includes a one shot victory over her former mentor Yon-Rogg, the destruction of a giant ship all on her own, and catching a missile with her bare hands. There's a reason Kevin Feige said she was the strongest character in the MCU and we got to see it here.