The sequel was also pretty awesome.
WHAT?!? A woman who actually goes out and dates other dudes instead of becoming completely useless for want of her lost love? But who’s still allowed to be legitimately upset by him walking out on her? And then reprimanding him for that?
A woman who sees advanced technology and can comprehend its equivalent in her own field?
Women who are friends and stand up to defend each other? Stepping it up in the climax to actually get things done instead of just standing there and waiting to be rescued?
Yes, Thor was the fist and the meat-shield, but he was most definitely not the only one involved in the action— and while Jane spent a good deal of the movie ill and immobile, she was actually a major player in the climax, rather than being shoved off to cheer from a back corner for the big finish.
And another big thing: they never tried to ‘dudeify’ Jane, Frigga or Darcy to make them awesome, the way we often see with “strong female characters” (by which I mean, downplaying their emotions and any actual femininity and making them “one of the guys”, or actively having them rejecting all things girly— which when it’s overdone gives the impression that the only time a woman is “worthy” of being a main character is when you turn her into a man). We do get a much more masculine figure in Syf, but at that point she’s just portraying another valid variety of womanhood alongside other equally valid archetypes, rather than being the only female character of interest.
The Marvel movies might not quite be the “feminist ideal”, but I think they’re the closest we’ve ever actually gotten to it in a superhero flick, and that’s pretty awesome.