13 2015 Sequels Ranked By Their Badass Female Leads

It's not news that sequels are taking over Hollywood. It's come to the point where it feels like studios don't think a movie is worth making unless it's part of a potential franchise. That said, not all sequels are bad. In fact, some are excellent, and never was that fact more evident than in the year of 2015, during which sequels dominated the box office. There was the end of The Hunger Games , the reboot of Mad Max, and Jurassic World to name a few. Not only was 2015 full of good sequels, it was also full of sequels starring women. Given the fact that most sequels are action films, the abundance of female characters should not be taken lightly. Historically, it's rare that women get to save the day on screen, so the fact that so many women have taken up residency in major Hollywood franchises is to be celebrated. And, what better way than to do a ranking of 2015 sequels by their level of badass female leads?

On screen, female characters played a huge role in the success of sequels in 2015. Some were celebrated as feminist heroes, like Mad Max: Fury Road 's Imperator Furiosa, while others were mocked for running in high heels (Jurassic World's Claire), but they were all badass in their own ways. Here's how they rank:

1. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2

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Katniss Everdeen is, by far, the most badass female protagonist of all the 2015 sequels. She inspired the revolution of Panem on screen, and has allowed an entire generation of girls see themselves as a champion. That said, Katniss is also badass because of how vulnerable she truly is in Mockingjay, Part 2.

2. Mad Max: Fury Road

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Mad Max: Fury Road revived the Mad Max series 30 years after the release of George Miller's last Mad Max film, making it a sequel despite the fact that a good chunk of its audience had never heard of Mad Max before. The sequel was hailed as one of the most feminist action movies ever — with Furiosa emerging as the key hero despite the film being titled Mad Max. It was also beautiful and entertaining.

3. Star Wars: The Force Awakens

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Full disclosure: I have not yet seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens. However, based on early rumors and trailers, I'm confident that The Force Awakens will have more girl power than the Force has ever had before. All the buzz surrounding the film and its passing of the Bechdel test have been positive, setting up The Force Awakens to be one of the most feminist films of the year.

4. Pitch Perfect 2

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As a musical comedy, Pitch Perfect 2 is different from the other sequels on the list, but that doesn't mean its female characters are any less awesome. Beca and the Barden Bellas proved once again that female friendship can conquer all — even if the "all" here is a world a capella championship.

5. The Avengers: Age of Ultron

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Yes, Black Widow and Scarlet Witch have yet to have their own films (and Marvel has yet to green light any movie solely focused on a female hero), but they were still awesome in The Avengers: Age of Ultron. Both Black Widow and Scarlet Witch played crucial roles in the film, and got to hold their own against the bad guys while also experience personal development. Joss Whedon, we'll miss you on the next one.

6. Terminator Genisys

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Terminator Genisys may have underwhelmed at the box office, but it also had Emilia Clarke (the freakin' mother of dragons) as Sarah Connor, so...

7. Insurgent

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Tris (Shailene Woodley) continued to kick ass in Insurgent, a dependable follow-up to Divergent.

8. Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation

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There is no logic as to how Mission: Impossible movies keep being good, and yet, Rogue Nation continued the franchise's upward swing, largely thanks to the addition of Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson). Ilsa was a worthy teammate and opponent to Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise), something made even more obvious by the fact that she never slept with him.

9. Spectre

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Spectre broke the mold of a traditional James Bond film by featuring two strong women — one of whom was over the age of 30 (gasp!).

10. Magic Mike XXL

Magic Mike XXL was all about male strippers embracing their roles as men who can help show women the appreciation they deserve, but might not always get. While most women in the film remained on the sidelines, Rome (Jada Pinkett Smith) owned every scene she was in and made sure to get women — aka "Goddesses" — the love they were owed.

11. Furious 7

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Furious 7 will remain one of the top movie sequels of the Fast & Furious franchise forever, as it's the last one featuring star Paul Walker. But Fast & Furious movies will also be remembered for never failing to include strong female characters, even if it's just for one fight, like the epic hand-to-hand showdown between Ronda Rousey (Kara) and Michelle Rodriguez (Letty).

12. Jurassic World

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Jurassic World reinvigorated the Jurassic Park franchise and secured star Chris Pratt a place in Hollywood royalty. That said, it was also the subject of controversy after viewers noticed that the female protagonist, Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), began the film as a stereotypical type-A woman and was forced to spend the entire two hours running around in impractical heels. In spite of her uncomfortable shoes, Claire was never the damsel in distress, managing to save the day a few times, once even saving Chris Pratt's character, Owen, from certain death by dinosaur.

13. Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials

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Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials was a crazy sequel, featuring desert lands, terrifying zombies and oppressive government organizations. And, despite the fact that The Scorch Trials only featured two main female characters (who were, coincidentally, in the middle of a love triangle with the film's hero), the sequel allowed each woman to have their own fully-formed identities and refused to have them fight over their affections for the same man.

Let's hope that, even with the end of The Hunger Games, 2016 sequels bring even more lovely, badass females to root for.

Images: Walt Disney Studios; Giphy (12); magicmikemovie/tumblr