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14 Marvel Movies That Pass The Bechdel Test

The Bechdel Test was developed by Alison Bechdel in 1985 as a way to gauge female presence in movies. This test isn’t used to measure feminist content, just if women are in the movie or not.

There are three parts to the Bechdel Test.

  1. Two named female characters
  2. have to talk about something
  3. that has nothing to do with a man.

Sounds simple, right? You would be surprised at how many movies fail. Marvel is ahead of the curve and there are many films in the franchise that pass. Not all of them pass with a clean 3 out of 3, but it is worth noting the rating gets progressively stronger with more recent films.

Here’s a list of the 14 MCU movies that pass the Bechdel Test, with a few honorable mentions.

Iron Man 2 (2010) & Iron Man 3 (2013)

Iron Man 2 passes the Bechdel Test thanks to Pepper Potts and Natasha Romanoff (known as Natalie Rushman for the majority of the movie). The first Iron Man movie does not pass the test because Pepper is the only female character. However, with the introduction of Black Widow, the female cast is up to two members. Of course, this isn’t much at all, and the conversations Pepper and Natasha have are brief and only about work, it is an improvement.

In Iron Man 3 we lose Natalie but the addition of Maya to the cast as another career professional fills the gap. Pepper and Maya have a lengthy conversation that does involve Tony and the Mandarin along with several other plot points.

Thor (2011) & Thor The Dark World (2013)

It’s the personal friendship and working relationship of Jane Foster and her assistant Darcy Lewis that give both these movies a pass. Thor opens with Jane and Darcy “storm-chasing” and discussing Jane’s research. Thor: The Dark World includes even better dialogue when Darcy takes Jane the anomaly in the parking garage. This dialogue only includes the two women (and some children), while the dialogue from the first film includes interjections from Eric Selvig.

Queen Frigga and Lady Sif also appear in both films, but it is rare to find them talking to another woman, let alone discussing anything but Thor or Loki. These movies do pass the test, but, as with most male-lead movies, there isn’t a lot to go off of when everything is centered around that man.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) & Captain America: Civil War (2016)

In Captain America: The Winter Soldier Natasha Romanoff and Maria Hill have a very brief conversation about ballistics following the attack of Fury. The conversation is fleeting, but they aren’t talking about Fury or Steve so it does count. Natasha and Wanda have a similarly brief conversation in Captain America: Civil War. They a bulletproof car and its possible effect on their mission. Once again this conversation is brief, but it does not revolve around men. There is also a moment when a member of the Dora Milaje threatens Natasha, but Natasha does not reply and the soldier is not named, so this doesn’t exactly count. Technically these movies both pass, but they just barely scrape by.

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) & Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

These movies were some of the first MCU films to have multiple women in the main cast. Gamora and sister Nebula push these film into Bechdel-test-pass territory. In the first film, they discuss their mission and trade some rather vicious barbs. It’s not exactly cordial but it does count as a conversation.

Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 gives Nebula and Gamora deeper conversations about their relationship and upbringing, and they even become allies. Gamora also has a few conversations with Mantis about Ego’s planet, although this may not count to some due to the fact that Ego is the planet itself. In the end, the Guardians movies do pass the Bechdel Test.

Avengers: Age Of Ultron (2015)

Avengers: Age of Ultron features many female characters including Natasha Romanoff, Wanda Maximoff, Maria Hill, Laura Barton, and Dr. Helen Cho. Natasha and Laura discuss Laura’s pregnancy and the name of the baby. Natasha also speaks to her old teacher from the Red Room in a dream sequence, but this may not count for some because the teacher is not named and technically does not exist in real-time. This cast has many more female characters than The Avengers, but unfortunately only barely passes as they do not speak to each other much.

Black Panther (2018)

Black Panther has one of the largest casts of women, mostly thanks to the team of Dora Milaje. The key female characters are Queen Ramonda, Shuri, Okoye, and Nakia. The four hold many conversations among themselves that do not revolve around T’Challa (although a lot do). There’s another scene where Kania teases Okoye about her wig, Sophia chides Nakia on her tendency to make trouble and Shuri tells Nakia to put on some armor.

The conversation that’s usually debated is the one that Nakia and Okoye have about how to deal with Killmonger. Is this a conversation about nationalism and loyalty or are the women concerned with T’Challa and his usurper, both men? Okoye often speaks to the other Dora Milaje soldiers although this may not count for some because the other soldiers are not named.

Ant-Man And The Wasp (2018)

This film not only passes with flying colors but does so in some really non-conventional ways. Ant-man and The Wasp features both Hope and Janet Van Dyne, and Ava as the villain Ghost. Hope and Janet re-unite at the end of the film when Hank Pym pulls Janet from the Quantum Realm. Hope and Janet talk about how much they’ve missed each other without mentioning any of the men. Janet then uses the Quantum energy within her to heal the movie’s villain, Ghost, and they talk about the pain she is feeling. Hope was the only female character in the first Ant-Man movie, so it’s good to see her interact with women.

Captain Marvel (2019)

Captain Marvel is, of course, the first Marvel movie with a female lead. The cast also includes Maria Rambeau and her daughter Monica, as well as Talos’ wife Soren and Carol’s ex-teammate Minerva. Carol, known as Vers at the time, gets into many squabbles with Minerva. These moments aren’t exactly filled with comradery, but the women aren’t talking about men. Carol and Maria have many conversations about their past friendship and current alien events. Their bond is strong, and it is made clear that it does not revolve around men. This is Marvel’s first female-directed film as well, so it makes sense that it would have better female representation.

Black Widow (2021)

Black Widow passes the Bechdel Test fairly easily. Of the four main characters, three are women: Natasha Romanoff, her “sister” Yelena Belova, and mother-figure Melina Vostokoff. The secondary villain of the film is also a woman. This makes it much easier for the movie to pass the test. Natasha and Yelena spend a lot of time discussing their pasts and making plans. They rarely talk about men unless referring to to Alexei or Dreykov, and even then they are usually speaking negatively of them. They also interact with Melina throughout the majority of the film. This film passes the test much easier than the rest.

Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings (2021)

This film is one of the MCU films where the central female characters out-number the central male characters. Xialing and Katy hold a conversation upon meeting in which Katy gushes about how cool she thinks Xialing is. Xialing also speaks to Ying Nan in Ta Lo. Ying Nan encourages Xialing to study the arts her father would not allow. Shang-Chi and Xialing’s mother, Ying Li, is also a prominent character, but audiences do not get to see her speak to any other women. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is the latest Marvel film to pass the Bechdel Test.

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