More Marvellous Women
Marvellous Women was our biggest hit to date. To reward your fidelity, dear reader, we present the sequel. More Marvellous Women!
It’s NOT a B list. Every feminine contribution to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is a warmly welcomed, invaluable asset. There are NO ‘token’ girls.
Some have more prominent plot presences but ALL are distinctively compelling. The ongoing outlet for winning women is the secret super-serum sustaining successes for the MCU.
There’s no need to wave a flag around these characters that says ‘I’m a Badass /Kick-Ass girl’; ‘I endured trauma’ or ‘I’m a sexy siren’. Movies and comics are visual media, thereby equipping talented actresses with a legacy of looks to transmit.
Truly lovely characters, one and all. Stand to attention, boys. You just met your matches.
Skye (Agents of SHIELD)
Ok, we’re cheating. Skye (Chloe Bennet) is not yet in Marvel movies. But just a matter of time and she’s a leading light of Marvel television. Remember: #itsallconnected. Chloe’s Skye is capably charismatic. A star is born! Her appeal is multi-faceted; ticking boxes and playing clichéd beats whilst injecting fresh energy and cohesion.
Skye is an initially typical ‘hacker chick’, breaking into top secret databases with a community of drifting outsiders using laptops in vans. Bennet brilliantly brings tinges of emotional vulnerability. That pays off as the series advances, her skills evolving under Agents Coulson and Ward’s tutelage at SHIELD.
There’s something behind her eyes; conveying the quest to discover her own identity, via frequently frantic and frenzied activity. It’s difficult to make computer action interesting. But Bennet’s Skye pulls it off.
She’s funny in clashing contrasts with SHIELD personnel. Skye sometimes gets it very wrong; flawed and even fatally so: very raw and real territory for the genre. But compensations include her determined will to win; genuine loyalty to friends and an emerging set of ‘super-powers’. And yes, Skye is beautiful. Very.
We know: this is our second trip to Thor’s universe and we STILL have not given full platform to Jane Foster (Natalie Portman). There’s a reason for that. Much as we LOVE Natalie, Jane’s part is underwritten and frankly her performance is subdued. Her cartoon equivalent had more depth. And DENNINGS’ DARCY STEALS THE SHOW!
Kat Dennings belongs in classic Hollywood comedy; the kind they made with the likes of Cary Grant. She’s kooky but it’s not forced. There is a glowingly comedic buzz onscreen whenever Darcy emerges and it fades as she departs.
The character is convincing and compelling as an academic. She’ll be conspicuously absent from the forthcoming Ragnarok no doubt as that’s a darker affair, devoid of the ‘fish out of water’ Earthbound subplots from preceding films. Give her a spin-off?
Gamora and Nebula (GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY)
Inter-galactic assassins, these twin sisters are initially servants to Thanos (MCU’s ‘big bad’). Zoe Saldana is the green skinned, determined Gamora, romanced to the good guys’ side by Chris Pratt’s Peter Quill. Karen Gillan is Nebula, a straight up villainess who’ll stop at nothing to defeat opposition.
It’s testament to the actresses’ allure that they remain beautiful and human beneath layers of alien make-up. They are also great at the action: every kick and punch feels very real amidst a fantastical landscape. We await their roles in sequels with great interest.
Betty Ross (HULK)
Say what you want about the HULK movies (he smashed; they didn’t). But there was a heart and soul about them; paving a path to Mark Ruffalo’s Avengers incarnation. The anchor was romantic: Bruce Banner and Betty Ross.
Betty was played by Jennifer Connelly and then Liv Tyler. They both did an admirable job of playing a damsel in distress that nonetheless possessed wit, charm and motivation independent of the hero. The romantic scenes are genuinely touching and frequently funny.
Betty injects a gamma ray of reality to the fantastical exploits of everyone’s favourite ‘enormous green rage monster’ (quote c/o Tony Stark). They’re bringing back Betty’s Dad, General ‘Thunderbolt’ Ross for 2016’s Captain America: Civil War. Bring Back Betty!
Gwen Stacey (SPIDER-MAN)
Spidey is now bona fide MCU personnel so we can sneak in his great love here. Gwen is a glorified cameo in the execrable Spider-Man 3; though Bryce Dallas Howard lends her beautifully best efforts to proceedings. Her presence lifts the film slightly, alongside Kirsten Dunst’s Mary-Jane.
Emma Stone took the role for the ‘Amazing’ reboot series of 2012-14. It’s a lovely, charming, romantic and funny contribution to Marc Webb’s much misunderstood movies. You WILL love her. Emma’s Gwen personifies feminine allure.
MARVELOUS WOMEN RETURNS NEXT WEEK! (Sue Storm is expecting you!)
Words: James Murphy
Sue Storm Picture: Richard Stapleton