hunger games

The 50 Best: Heroes of Women, #30-21

It’s not everyday that heroes comes along and changes the course of American history.  For the next five weeks, we count down the 50 best women heroes in fiction. Heroes were chosen from every platform of pop culture, including film, tv, literature, and stage.  They were also inspired by you, the fans, on the many polls that the Heroes Podcast Network can offer. Lastly, the women were chosen based on their iconic statuses, fandom following, and the admirable qualities the individual characters possess.

Looking for a bunch of dudes? Aren’t we all? Don’t worry; the 50 best men heroes in fiction is up next! But what about the great baddies of history too? Yep, that list is in the works as well! Now, enjoy the countdown. Here’s #30-21.

#50-41 can be found here. #40-31 is here.

30. Jessica Rabbit

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Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
While some only focus on Jessica’s looks (and she’s hot, like, the hottest cartoon ever), she is so much more than that. She’s often mistaken for this femme fatale. She even says, “I’m not bad, I’m just drawn that way.” Throughout the movie, it’s revealed she cares deeply for her husband, Roger, and does everything in her power to keep him safe (despite his constant buffoonery).  Jessica is a highly intelligent, multi-talented woman. She was everything I wanted to be when I grew up as a little kid.  She may exemplify what are now cliched movie tropes, but she never comes off as just a gimmick. Instead, she’s a woman you want to know.

29. Katniss Everdeen

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Hunger Games franchise
Is there anyone more inherently flawed than Katniss? Beginning the story as a girl determined only to survive, she transformed over the course of the three novels. Her skills and defiant attitude kept her alive throughout the Hunger Games, and eventually turned her into a martyr for Panem. She didn’t always embrace the role others put upon her, never being afraid to speak her mind. Her actions were often motivated by her simple wish to keep her family alive. Most of them, however, is what the country loved about her. It was through her sheer force of will, her determination just to live, that the tyrannical thumb which Panem was held was finally broken.

28. Morticia Addams

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The Addams Family
Can you think of a more perfect homemaker? I know I can’t. Created in 1938 as a satirical opposite to the American Dream, Morticia was paved as the head of the household from the beginning.  She has always been level-headed and fair, favoring no one member of her family more than the other.  She kept everyone in line and never seemed bothered by anyone’s antics, often embracing them with love and respect.  She and her husband Gomez are without a doubt the best depiction of an equal and loving partnership ever created (and I will fight you on that one).  The two compliment and balance each other, their passion and romance never wavering, never compromising.

27. Leslie Knope

PARKS AND RECREATION -- "Galentine's Day" Episode 617 -- Pictured: Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope -- (Photo by: Colleen Hayes/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

Parks and Recreation
I don’t think there are enough words to express my love for this character. Leslie Knope is resilient. Set in a town where the majority of the population is against her good intentions, she is rarely bogged down by the negativity that surrounds her. She loves her town and she will do everything she can to serve it, even if that means going temporarily insane with love for it. Leslie is the sum of her parts, and her parts include the innumerable cast of supporting characters who back her up daily.  No person is successful on their own and Leslie’s success only gets better because of her friends in the Parks Dept. She is the fiercest friend and a woman we’d all be lucky to be one day.

26. She-Ra

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She-Ra, Princess of Power
It must be an easy life when you’re born to the King and Queen of Eternia. But that all goes down the toilet when you’re kidnapped at birth by the evil demon Hordak and taken to Etheria to be a brainwashed soldier in his army. Princess Adora never had a chance. Until one day she escaped and embraced her role as She-Ra. Now, originally, she was created to tap into the girl toy market for the He-Man audience, but she became so much more than that (kinda like her journey in the show). She’s one of the ultimate feminist icons: a princess and a warrior, kind and brave, intelligent and humble. She’s a worthy role model for any young person, girl or boy.

25. Scout Finch

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To Kill a Mockingbird
It may be difficult to think of a little Southern six year old as a hero, but giving To Kill a Mockingbird a second glance proves just how heroic Scout really is. Over the three year course of the novel, Scout is faced with situations that would make adults uncomfortable. She breaks up an angry mob. She is the only one to see Boo Radley. Scout is in the difficult position throughout most of the novel to see good people punished for good deeds because they go against the current social norm. She spends a lot of the book unable to understand this and angry at those who hate/taunt her father in particular. It’s an almost impossible to identify with as a reader, but watching her grow to understand how cruel the world can be as well as the symbol of the mockingbird itself, is powerful enough to stick with a reader for years. Very few are lucky enough to be a Scout, but we all desire to be that good.

24. Korra

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Avatar: Legend of Korra
It was incredibly difficult to narrow down which woman from Avatar should be featured. Each and every one possess the traits to inspire, including Azula.  Ultimately, though, it’s hard to win over the main character of a series. Korra has been an innovative addition to the world of Avatar. She began the series with the perpetually defiant phrase, “I’m the Avatar; deal with it,” a line that has resonated in my head since I first heard her speak it. She’s feisty and proud, both often leading to some pretty epic failures and some incredible successes.  She doesn’t just fall once; she falls a hundred times. Each time, she picks herself up, threatens to quit, and then does it again. It was her determination that captivated us. As viewers, we all saw ourselves in Korra at one time or another. We, too, are afraid to admit our shortcomings, but determined enough to defeat them. If someone so flawed, yet kind and wonderful, can be the balance to a chaotic world, then maybe, we are the balance to our worlds.

23. Samus

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Metroid
You may be wondering why Samus is on this list. She’s not particularly interesting. Multiple writers over the years have kept her personality minimal so that players could more easily picture themselves as the title character. Was she the most influential character in video games? Absolutely not. This woman is on this list because she is in fact a woman. You had to beat the entire game in order to get to the beautiful finale of Samus being a woman.  At the time, it was shocking, and seemingly unimportant. For some magical reason, we were just a little less hung up on sex and gender back then, and it allowed for some special moments like this. This is more important now. A kick ass, long standing, battle star woman saving the universe is exactly the type of person that young people need to see themselves as while playing a video game.

22. Supergirl

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Supergirl comics, DC
Kara Zor-El could have easily been a rip off of her more famous cousin. However, the writers turned it around so fast. They made her independent and identifiable on her own.  She remains optimistic in times of catastrophe, which come almost at every turn.  As a teenage survivor of the destruction of Argo City and Krypton, her kindness and compassion was often mixed with a hot temper and aggression.  Hers has never been an easy life, but she perseveres.  And through her many transformations, both comic and film, more and more people have been influenced by her.  New audiences can be exposed to her heroism in more mediums than most other characters on our list.  She’s iconic and necessary to the feminine culture.

21. Sailor Moon – Usagi

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Sailor Moon
There are many things that make the sweet Usagi important.  She fought evil by moonlight! Seriously, though, she was a fearless and kind leader for many years over many teams. She wasn’t always perfect, but she was always fair.  Usagi treated everyone, including the her enemies, with compassion.  Her sweet demeanor was often mistaken for naivete and weakness, but she should never be underestimated. Usagi was a true friend first and foremost, proving that despite villainy in the world, she had her priorities straight.  She was a pal, a mother, a superhero, and at even one point, a goddess. Sailor Moon was a true hero for everyone.

So there you have it, our next 10 women heroes. What do you think of our list so far? Tune in for #11-20 soon!

The 50 Best: Heroes of Women, #30-21

Mockingjay, Part 2 Review

I have been waiting for this movie for 4 years now.  It’s been the equivalent of what Star Wars has been for many others.  This Friday, Mockingjay, Part 2  released in theaters and I was there in line (not really, because I buy reserved seats. I’m an adult; no need to savagely fight for chairs anymore.). Because I had read the books, I was prepared for what was to come: the emotion, the loss, the finale.  It was going to be a movie of relentless pain, with very little joy to behold.  While I was overall underwhelmed, I was not wrong.

Mockingjay Character Posters

Mockingjay: The Good

Hunger Games is without a doubt one of the best movie sagas to hit cinemas since the Harry Potter franchise.  This movie fits nicely in the legacy that had come before it.  It manages to take a cadre of characters and highlight Katniss, Peeta, and Gale in a way the other movies couldn’t.  You’re aware of the stakes all of them are facing, yet the romantic subplot doesn’t seem to overshadow the importance of the main story.  The revolution is finally upon us and it is not forgotten.

This film also may be the most beautiful film out of them all.  Maybe it’s because the majority of it is filmed in the Capitol of Panem, but the design of it all was absolutely gorgeous. The stark contrast between District 13 and the Capitol is so well done here, that the difficulties facing all parties is finally apparent.  I’ve personally have been waiting for the actual hunger part of the Hunger Games for quite some time.

Like all of the films, Jennifer Lawrence shines.  She is truly the best for the role of Katniss, capturing the enigmatic resolve of a character meant to be unlikable and inspiring at the same time (something other YA adaptations have sorely lacked). Her Mockingjay is every bit of what it’s supposed to be: a revolutionary leader that the world has never seen before.

One of my favorite parts of the film is Donald Sutherland.  Say what you will about the character of President Snow, but he is definitely one of the highlights.  He maintains his terrifying nature throughout the entire story.  The cold, calculating dictator that he has been from the beginning never falters. In fact, the acting in this film is probably the best it has been throughout the whole saga.

The way they handled the passing of actor Phillip Seymour-Hoffman was beautiful.  At the time of his death, it had been reported that he had only one scene left to film.  Fans everywhere were very curious how this was going to be handled.  There have been quite a few instances where actors have passed and it played out poorly.  A couple of tweaks here and there and you have Mockingjay, Part 2, a proud ode to the late actor.

Mockingjay Katniss

Mockingjay: The Bad

I have to say that, in my honest opinion, this movie was my least favorite of the series.  I felt that with the intense emotion this film needed to have, the pacing of the film was too fast to appreciate everything in the proper emotional state.  It seemed more important to have the beautiful explosions and floods of tar that we couldn’t take 5 seconds to reflect on yet another loss of a comrade.  I know the arguments for surviving the situation’s gravitas because they’ve already been made to me.  Yet, this is the part where I miss Gary Ross over Francis Lawrence.  Ross’s style of directing was a pleasant balance between the dangers of the games and the loss they caused.  In the case of Rue, she was given such a beautiful funeral and Katniss took the moments that we needed as an audience to reflect on her tragic loss.  That wasn’t given for these characters.  Now, I’m not saying that we needed to mourn the Leegs, Lieutenant Jackson, or even Castor (even though Pollux sure did, and it was fantastic).  But both Finnick and Primrose deserved better.

That being said, some of our favorite characters also deserved better.  Where was Effie and Haymitch?  Lawrence decided to keep Effie present in the Mockingjay films because of how high her fanbase was; however she was barely in this film.  And Haymitch? What’s the excuse for him not being present?  Johanna Mason was another character not given her due.  We didn’t get to see her bonding moments with Katniss that existed in the books, which I believed reduced this strong character into a junkie shell of what was.  Did you have to be a member of the rebellion invasion unit to get any valid screen time here? Because even Cressida was pushed into forgotten territory.

Mockingjay Overall

I’m going to give this movie a second chance.  Why? Because out of sheer love and respect for what the series has already given to me.  I love everything that Suzanne Collins was able to create and the world that has risen from it.  I believe that my own life has been enriched by this series.  I also believe that Mockingjay, Part 2 probably was not meant to be viewed separately from its predecessor.  Here soon, I’ll watch all four movies together and appreciate it all that much more.  Until then, I leave you with the rating of 3.5 out of 5.  Watch it for what it’s finishing, if nothing else.

Mockingjay, Part 2 Review