- Kamala Khan (Ms Marvel) is a teenage superhero with a complicated relationship with her family and culture.
- Kate Bishop (Hawkeye) is an optimistic and highly talented archer who forms a mentor-mentee relationship with Clint Barton.
- Yelena Belova is the adoptive sister of Natasha Romanoff and becomes a Black Widow assassin.
From Black Widow to Captain Marvel, an in-depth look at the ten greatest female superheroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU)!
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has provided fans with some of the best characters in media, many of whom are women. From soldiers that defeat people using sheer force to assassins that exchange sarcastic quips with their allies to cynical alcoholics with a heart of gold, there’s a little bit of something for everyone. Let’s look at some of the best female superheroes in the MCU.
10. Ms Marvel
Kamala Khan is one of the best of the latest additions to the MCU and a fantastic female superhero. She is a huge fan of superheroes and devotes much of her time to thinking about them. However, she can be somewhat absent-minded, thanks to her overactive imagination. Like any teenage girl obsessed with superheroes, Kamala dreams of having superpowers of her own and saving the world alongside her idols.
She loves her family and culture but has a complicated relationship with both. Her mother’s traditional ways make her feel like she can’t be a normal teenager, so she tends not to tell her about what she’s doing, which gets her into trouble.
While initially excited to have powers, Kamala soon learned that being a superhero is more complicated than she thought. Learning the truth about her past and revealing who she was to her family helped her be a better superhero. Her mom even designed her costume, which earned her the superhero identity Ms Marvel.
Kamala is a lot of fun and seeing her interact with Carol Danvers and Monica Rambeau in The Marvels is going to be very entertaining. Many fans hope that the reveal that she’s a mutant hybrid means we’ll see more mutants in the MCU. Iman Vellani did an excellent job with the character.
9. Kate Bishop
The second Hawkeye is another fantastic addition to the MCU and a brilliant female hero. She is incredibly optimistic, greatly contrasting against her male counterpart and mentor, and is a highly talented archer. During the Battle of New York in 2012, she was deeply inspired by Hawkeye, who she saw combatting the Chitauri with his bow and arrows.
In the short time fans have known her, she’s proved how brave she is several times. She fought against Maya Lopez, Yelena Belova and the Tracksuit Mafia, managing to hold her own against each despite not being in the superhero game for very long. She even fought Kingpin and survived.
She loves her family and is extremely loyal to those she cares about, doing all she can to keep Yelena from taking down Clint and trying to keep her mother safe from her fiancé when she thinks he’s a criminal. Even when arresting her mother, Kate told her she still loved her.
Kate is a sympathetic character. She gives dating advice to a criminal that tries to harm her and encourages Barton when he feels guilty for his ruthless actions during the snap. She manages to see the good in others, gets really excited about trick arrows (as I’m sure anyone would) and isn’t afraid to make a hard decision in the name of justice.
Hailee Steinfeld did an excellent job with the character, and moving forward; it would be great to see Kate found or become a member of the Young Avengers, similar to her character in Marvel Comics.
It would be awesome to see her and Clint Barton continue their sassy mentor-mentee relationship in a future MCU film.
8. Yelena Belova
The adoptive sister of Natasha Romanoff has become one of the best female heroes in the MCU. Like Natasha, she grew up in the Red Room, where she was brainwashed and trained to be a deadly Black Widow assassin. She had a strained relationship with her adoptive family, feeling betrayed that none of them had come for her but still loving them despite everything.
Yelena grew to be very cynical and sarcastic, though she still gets excited over the small things (like the fact that the first article of clothing had so many cool pockets) and has a rather bent moral compass.
Though she has become more laid back, Yelena was ruthless in her pursuit of revenge against Clint Barton, which she would have had if he hadn’t managed to get through to her. She and Kate Bishop have the best dynamic in the MCU, complimenting each other’s skills as they each battle for their own cause. It feels reminiscent of Romanoff and Barton’s friendship.
Florence Pugh did a brilliant job with the character, and it’ll be a lot of fun seeing her as the Black Widow to Hailee Steinfeld’s Hawkeye.
7. Jessica Jones
Jones is the most cynical female superhero in the MCU. After an ill-fated experience with a vicious man, Jones suffered from intense PTSD and chose to operate as a detective rather than a superhero and keep as low a profile as possible.
Because of her trauma, Jessica often comes off as snarky, sarcastic and rude, which pushes people away from her. When annoyed, she can be very intimidating and puts up a sharp exterior to hide the softer, more vulnerable side of her personality that is drowning in her insecurity and self-loathing.
Jessica is a good person at heart, but because of her past, she often doesn’t believe she is capable of being a superhero and suffers from hallucinations of her past. As a result, she struggles to form bonds with people and usually responds violently to remembering her past. She turned to alcohol to deal with her problems and has never shown any interest in developing a serious relationship.
Jones never allowed herself to get close to anyone, even those she cares about, to avoid having them become collateral damage, but she will protect them fiercely. However, after the death of her tormentor, she seemed to settle and began to get marginally closer to those she loved.
Krysten Ritter does an excellent job with her portrayal of the character.
6. Monica Rambeau
The daughter of Maria Rambeau quickly worked her way into people’s hearts with ease upon first meeting her in Captain Marvel. As a young woman, Monica joined S.W.O.R.D. working under her mother as she moved up the ranks. When Monica returned from being blipped, she was quickly dragged into the supernatural chaos of the Marvel universe.
Even as a child, Monica’s sass was evident, and she was pretty calm upon learning that aliens existed, even making friends with Talos’ daughter. Her pain allowed her to empathise with Wanda Maximoff (despite the Avenger remorselessly throwing her out of town for trespassing on her fantasy world) and work with her to protect her sons and defy her boss.
Monica is one of the most fearless female superheroes in the MCU and is more than willing to put herself in danger to protect her allies and those she cares for. She threw herself in front of the bullets meant for Wanda’s children and pushed through a hex that altered her DNA to help a hero she barely knew work through her grief. Monica has quickly become one of the best characters in the MCU, and fans are excited to see more of her in the Captain Marvel sequel. It turns out it did take learning how to glow like her auntie Carol for her to finally see Carol Danvers again.
Teyonah Parris and Akira Akbar both did an incredible job bringing Monica to life.
The daughter of Thanos is an assassin and a former Guardians of the Galaxy member. She was moulded into a weapon from a young age and grew up among her enemies. As a result, she was merciless and earned a reputation as the most deadly woman in the galaxy. However, while a criminal, she still had a sense of honour and didn’t particularly enjoy working with the rest of her team when they first got together.
Despite her ruthlessness, she often tries to avoid harming people, flirting with Quill to get the orb on Xandar and refraining from harming Drax while in the Kyln. Whenever she and Nebula got into an altercation, Gamora would always try to reason with her sister rather than defeat her. She revealed her love for her when she announced the location of the Soul Stone to halt Nebula’s interrogation at Thanos’s hands.
She cares deeply for her team, even if she does think they are idiots. Her personality began to soften as she spent time with the Guardians, taking on a motherly role with Groot, dancing with Quill, and consoling him after Yondu’s death. However, this didn’t diminish her aggression, as she still regularly threatened people.
She was utterly selfless, as shown by her willingness to sacrifice herself to prevent Thanos from getting his hands on all six Stones and her lack of hesitation in grabbing Peter Quill’s hand to help him take on the power of the Power Stone.
Zoe Saldana did an excellent job portraying Gamora and created one of the best female superheroes in the MCU.
4. Scarlet Witch
Since being properly introduced to Marvel fans in Avengers: Age of Ultron alongside her twin brother, Wanda Maximoff quickly became a fan favourite. The Mind Stone awakened the full potential of her powers. When fans first met her, she was aggressive and bent on getting revenge on the man she believed had destroyed her family. This aggression resulted in the creation of Ultron, the death of many civilians, and her brother’s eventual demise.
After realising the damage her actions had caused, she joined the Avengers to make amends. Unfortunately, because of her past, whatever progress she does manage to make is quickly destroyed when she makes a mistake. She developed a strong bond with Hawkeye, who served as one of her anchors after the loss of her brother and was the one who encouraged her when she became overwhelmed with her guilt.
Wanda’s rage is not something to be trifled with. After the death of Vision, she came back stronger and more forceful than ever, working her way through the enemy lines until she found Thanos, who was visibly terrified of her and more than willing to sacrifice his own forces to get away from her.
WandaVision and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness have proven how far Wanda’s powers have come. Not only could she manipulate and control an entire town (with only some difficulty), she defeated Agatha Harkness with minimal understanding of magic, took on an entire legion of sorcerers and dealt with every member of the Illuminati.
Wanda’s grief and guilt seem to be her undoing in many situations, and while she cares for her friends and teammates, it is clear that nothing can stop her from getting what she wants except herself.
Elizabeth Olsen has done a brilliant job portraying the most powerful female superhero in the MCU.
Dealing with Tony Stark’s self-destructive behaviour for years definitely deserves an award of its own. After years of watching her future-husband deal with super-powered threats and battle against aliens, Pepper Potts was finally given her chance to shine in her own suit of armour in Endgame.
She was a dedicated woman who started as Tony’s assistant and was soon promoted to the position of CEO of Stark Industries (seeing as she was already running everything for him). Her sarcasm is enough to rival Natasha Romanoff’s, and she will not hesitate to put people in their place in a very civil manner.
While she had a general dislike of violence, she has proven to be formidable when protecting those she loves and bravely fought in the Battle for Earth despite having no experience of the battlefield (that we’ve seen). She even assisted Peter Parker and flew back-to-back with her husband.
Pepper proved just how strong she was while dealing with Tony’s death, holding herself with dignity and comforting her husband in his last moments even though she was grieving. Gwyneth Paltrow did a fantastic job portraying Pepper for so many years, and while Tony might not be in the picture anymore, we hope that we’ll see her donning her Rescue armour sometime in the future.
2. Black Widow
Natasha Romanoff was the best female superhero and one of the best overall superheroes in the MCU. Introduced in Iron Man 2, we saw her go from a spy for Nick Fury, operating the in the background to gain intel on Tony Stark, to one of the main members of the Avengers team.
Romanoff was highly intelligent and extremely talented, mastering anything she put her mind to. Her years of training turned her into one of the most skilled assassins the world has ever known, and she used those abilities to help the people around her. While it might have once been difficult to see what sort of person she was, especially when she was hiding behind a persona to work her way into something, fans and characters have gotten to know Natasha better.
She was sassy and sarcastic, caring deeply for those she considered her friends and willingly risking her life to protect innocents (such as when the Winter Soldier was chasing her). Yet, she held her own, even when working alongside superpowered beings and dealing with aliens.
She was also a deeply caring person and remained loyal to her friends, even when they felt betrayed by her. She brought Clint back to the light more than once and remained compassionate despite everything she went through.
Her care and love for the people who had become her family were seen until her last moments. Then, when the time called for it, Natasha recognised what had to be done and fought as hard as she could to ensure that her family would succeed and that Barton could return to his family.
Scarlett Johansson did an excellent job portraying a beloved character who, despite not having any powers, still manages to be one of the most powerful women in the MCU.
1. Peggy Carter
While not technically a superhero, Peggy Carter is every bit a hero in her own right and by far the best female character the MCU has ever introduced us to. Fans met her in Captain America: The First Avenger and watched as she took a romantic interest in Steve Rogers and proved herself a formidable soldier.
In Agent Carter, she got a chance to stand in the spotlight again and regularly saved the world while undermined or overlooked. She was a tough woman who knew her worth and never let anyone treat her as anything less.
Carter was incredibly intelligent and unafraid to do what needed to be done, even if it hurt her. She was great at finding her way out of a dangerous situation and, though she didn’t enjoy it, could lie if it was called for. Peggy didn’t take kindly to people who messed around while on a mission or working, and she worked hard to get where she needed to.
Peggy has no advanced abilities but is fearless in the face of danger. She took on a Red Room assassin, used the fact that she was often overlooked to her advantage and was more than willing to go into enemy territory. Her no-nonsense personality and method of getting things done earned the trust and fear of several people.
She was one of the founding members and the director of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Hayley Atwell portrayed the character so brilliantly that she was brought back every time Marvel featured her in a film or TV series.
In an alternate timeline, Peggy is the one who takes the super soldier serum and becomes Agent Carter in place of Steve’s Captain America.
Who’s your favourite female superhero in the MCU?
For a broader look at powerful characters, check out our comprehensive list of the 15 Most Powerful Characters in the Marvel Universe.