With the rise of the action movie and the string of Marvel Universe films, there has been an increase in the number of female actors portraying superheroes. In the past, there was often the view that superhero movies were over-dependent on CGI. Of course, there’s a lot of effects added to these types of movies, but it doesn’t mean that there’s no skill involved.
The actors who take roles in these movies are oftentimes taking a leap from their usual type of film. There is one female actor who has gone on to thrive in the action movie industry, and that is Scarlett Johansson. It’s no secret that she is the highest-earning actor in Hollywood, but it’s also remarkable to see how she has fully embraced the life of an action hero.
Johansson took acting classes and began her career in the early 2000s and quickly gained popularity and notoriety. In 2003 she was “The Girl with the Pearl Earring” and her beauty was not something people could ignore. Since then, she has played a variety of different roles that have proven her strength as an actor.
However, in 2010 she played Natasha Romanoff AKA Black Widow in “Iron Man 2” and her foray into action movies properly began. Since then, she has donned the Black Widow cap for “Avengers Assemble”, “Avengers: Age of Ultron” and “Avengers: Infinity War”. Similarly, Black Widow appears in “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and “Captain America: Civil War”. Even though the Marvel Universe takes up a lot of Johansson’s time, she’s also managed to squeeze in two other action movies, “Lucy” and the controversial “Ghost in the Shell”.
From starting her career as characters who are beautiful and mysterious, Johansson has emerged as a massive action star. While she has been criticized for ‘selling out’, the fact is that because of the decisions she has made, she is the highest paid actress in the industry. Her net worth is an estimated $80 million; not bad for playing one role.
Unfortunately, the costumes for such movies are always tight and figure-hugging. Given her status as one of the sexiest women in Hollywood, Johansson has been at the receiving end of incredibly sexist comments. In 2012, she was asked in an interview if she was able to wear underwear under the Black Widow unitard. In 2018 at a press conference, she was asked about the ‘fashion element’ of “Avengers: Infinity War”.
While these are roles that are accused of lacking artistic merit, there is a lot of work involved in playing a superhero. Essentially, each role is that of two different characters: the superhero and the civilian. The jobs are not for the faint-hearted and realistically, there are many reasons for an actor to avoid taking such roles. Especially for a woman in the industry who is trying to speak out against sexism.
Ultimately, Johansson is using her assets to get where she wants. She enjoys acting and she enjoys the variety of roles. Unfortunately, women come under more pressure when they opt for these superhero characters. It’s acceptable for male actors to shift industry completely (see Chris Pratt in “Parks and Recreation” versus Chris Pratt in “Guardians of the Galaxy”), but women are often told to be one or the other.
Johansson’s skills as an actress are present, and her physique is that most chosen for superhero roles, but they are not mutually exclusive. While it has been mostly Black Widow that Johansson has played, there is a lot to be said for her embracing her status and earning the big bucks.