Is there a female character with significant screen time who grows, changes, and/or learns something over the course of the story? (for an ensemble cast, or a film with a male protagonist) [why this matters]
FEMALE AGENCY/POWER/AUTHORITY SCORE:+17
Is there a female character (either a protagonist or a supporting character with significant screen time) in a position of authority (politics, law, medicine, etc.)? [why this matters]
Is there a female character with insignificant screen time in a position of authority? [why this matters]
Is there anything either positive or negative in the film’s representation of women not already accounted for here? (points will vary)
It’s just a throwaway joke, but in one scene, Tony Stark and Thor engage in a bragging contest over whose girlfriend — Pepper or Jane (neither of whom appear in the film) — is more brilliant. I cannot recall ever seeing men onscreen clamoring to be seen as the partner of a more clever woman than another man, or boasting about their girlfriends’ professional accomplishments.
In the same scene, Stark makes an even briefer joke about “Prima Nocta,” the possibly apocryphal medieval law that allowed a nobleman sexual access to his female subjects, regardless of whether they were willing. Apocryphal or not, Stark is making a joke about rape. Playboy and rapist are not synonymous, and there has never been any hint before that all of Stark’s many partners were anything other than wholly enthusiastic.
IS THE FILM’S DIRECTOR FEMALE? No (does not impact scoring)
IS THE FILM’S SCREENWRITER FEMALE? No (does not impact scoring)
BOTTOM LINE: With multiple women in positions of authority and power, and one depiction of a relationship between a man and a woman (Hawkeye and Black Widow) that is strong and emotional but not in the least romantic, this film, like many of the others in the Marvel franchise, depicts women as well-rounded, fully human people with lives, stories, and problems independent of men.
NOTE: This is not a “review” of Avengers: Age of Ultron! It is simply an examination of how well or how poorly it represents women. (A movie that represents women well can still be a terrible film; a movie that represents women poorly can still be a great film.) Read my review of Avengers: Age of Ultron.