This weekend, the hugely anticipated blockbuster “The Avengers” hits theaters, bringing together a motley crew of super heroes, including Robert Downey Jr.’s “Iron Man,” Mark Ruffalo’s “The Hulk,” and Chris Hemsworth’s “Thor.” The lone butt-kicking lady of the bunch? Scarlett Johansson, who plays the Black Widow — a role she first played in “Iron Man 2″ — in the flick. “There is no magic wand to wave over oneself to look good in a latex catsuit,” she famously said about the role. And yet, she makes it look so easy. In Scarlett/Black Widow’s honor, here are 10 other kick ass female film and TV characters and the women who played them.
1. Rooney Mara in “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.” Tough as nails, emotionally guarded, and utterly brilliant, with dozens of piercings and tattoos, Lisbeth is a victim turned warrior. Rooney Mara made the character her own in the American film adaptation of the Stieg Larsson book.
2. Uma Thurman in “Kill Bill.” Uma Thurman was downright blood-thirsty as The Bride in Quentin Tarantino’s “Kill Bill” volumes 1 and 2.
3. Angelina Jolie in “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.” Angelina Jolie, obviously, has to top our list. Yes, we loved her in “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” and are sure she’ll be amazing in “Salt.” But her top action role? The short shorts-wearing titular character of “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.”
4. Jennifer Garner in “Alias.” Jennifer Garner was great as Elektra in “Daredevil,” though the sequel was obviously a stinker. But her awesomest action role will always be as Sydney Bristow on one of my fave shows of all time, “Alias.”
5. Linda Hamilton in “Terminator 2: Judgment Day.” Back in 1991, Linda Hamilton showed us what badass meant in “Terminator 2: Judgment Day.” Her biceps in the flick are still a thing of legend.
6. Maggie Q in “Nikita.” The role has a history — first, as a French film called “La Femme Nikita” and then as an American adaptation called “Point of No Return,” starring Bridget Fonda — but Maggie Q brings her own bad ass vibe to the televised version of the assassin.
7. Sarah Michelle Gellar in “Buffy: The Vampire Slayer.” Sarah Michelle Gellar slew thousands of vampires, demons, and hell gods in her years as Buffy. No one else could make a stake look as intimidating.
8. Sigourney Weaker in “Alien.” When Ridley Scott began making 1979′s “Alien,” he had no idea that he would cast a woman as the lead character Ripley. But Sigourney Weaver rocked the auditions so hard that she became the flick’s action hero.
9. Charlize Theron in “Aeon Flux.” I always loved “Aeon Flux” on my TV. And only Charlize Theron could’ve done her justice on the big screen.
10. Demi Moore in “G.I. Jane.” Any woman who shaves her head on screen can only be called badass.