In the '90s, Gillian Anderson's iconic role as Dana Scully on The X-Files made her the undisputed queen of sci-fi, not to mention the subject of a million wet dreams every week. If the internet had been a big deal back then, she would've broken it - without even having to try.
Fast forward twenty years, and it looks like Hollywood might finally have found a new head to bear that crown.
Her name is Scarlett Johansson, aka Scar Jo, aka the girl who was a BAFTA winner and Golden Globe nominee at the age of 18 and whose films since 2011 alone have earned over $4.2 billion at the box office. ScarJo might just be the hottest property in Hollywood - so how did she get there?
Lost in Translation (Sofia Coppola, 2003)
Director Sofia Coppola decided to shoot a film set solely in Tokyo as a "valentine" to the city, having been dazzled by the neon lights, the loneliness of such a vast metropolis, and the way her favourite hotel had an American-themed bar and a French restaurant. This smorgasbord of cultures is reflected in the film's plot - a past-his-prime Hollywood actor, Bob Harris (Bill Murray), goes to Tokyo to shoot an advert for an easy paycheque, and winds up feeling isolated. In the bar of his hotel one night, Harris meets Charlotte (Johansson), and the two begin to bond.
Despite the considerable age difference, this is not the 'attractive young woman falls head-first for older man' narrative Hollywood makes such frequent use of. It's a more subtle exploration of cultural and generational differences, of the clash between east and west - it's not a stretch to say that Lost in Translation is a modern classic. It'll make you laugh, too. Coppola became only the third woman to be Oscar-nominated for Best Director shortly after release.
Should I watch it? Yes.
Box office? $120m
Geek points? 5/10. Bill Murray is the OG (Original Ghostbuster, duh), so his geek cred is locked down.
Match Point (Woody Allen, 2005)
Woody Allen was coming off a string of flops in 2005, before Match Point turned things around. Jonathan Rhys Meyers plays Chris, a retired tennis pro who gets himself into a sticky mess after meeting, and falling for Nola (Scar Jo) - the only problem being that Nola happens to be engaged to his best friend. And the best friend in question has a sister, whom Chris is dating. He and Nola begin a passionate affair; there are twists and turns, and blood is shed.
It's far from classic Woody Allen - he's aiming for a sexy thriller, but this movie is as beige as the outfits worn on court at Wimbledon. That said, Johansson is in good form as the American actress who craves more excitement than the stiff upper-class world of tennis has to offer. Long before the credits roll, you'll know exactly how she feels.
Should I watch it? Probably not.
Box office? $85m
Geek points? 2/10
Vicky Cristina Barcelona (Woody Allen, 2008)
AKA the one in which she makes out with Penelope Cruz.
Not that that's the (only) reason you should watch this film. Scarlett's third collaboration with Woody Allen is by far the most satisfying, a frequently laugh-out-loud comedy which sees friends two American friends vacation in Spain for a summer, where they each fall for an artist named Juan-Antonio (Javier Bardem). The first time he meets them, Juan-Antonio tells Vicky and Cristina he'd like to fly them to an island on his private plane and make love to them. Both. It doesn't go down too well with Vicky, but Cristina (Johansson) is charmed. From here the film takes various unexpected turns in its exploration of romance and sex. It's sweet, it's smart, and it makes excellent use of Spanish guitar.
Should I watch it? There'll be trouble if you don't.
Box office? $96m
Geek points? 3/10. Features one geek, Vicky's stunningly boring fiance Doug.
Under the Skin (Jonathan Glazer, 2013)
The very definition of a marmite movie, Under the Skin is a weird melting pot of mystery, horror, sci-fi and surrealism. It's not exactly possible to describe the plot, because there's not much of one, except that ScarJo is an unnamed woman who drives around Scotland, picking up men in her van. The men can't believe their luck, until they get back to her apartment, where they drown in a bizarre abyss of black liquid. At times this film is a little too self-consciously weird, but it's enjoyable to see Johansson in a role which is so far removed from the lighter movies further up this list, and as serial killers go this one is definitely the one you'd want to meet on a dark, wet night in Scotland.
Should I watch it? If you enjoy being weirded out, this is for you.
Box office? $6m
Geek points? 7/10, but veers more into horror than sci-fi.
Her (Spike Jonze, 2013)
In Spike Jonze's 2013 movie Her, a man falls in love with a woman who just happens to be the voice of a talking operating system. She is never seen, only heard. They strike up a sort-of relationship, and the film asks questions about human interaction with artificial intelligence. Can it really be meaningful? Can a living, breathing human being really fall for a computer without a physical presence?
When the computer in question sounds like Scarlett Johansson, the answer is a resounding yes. Her is a sweet and often thoughtful exploration of the near-future of the human race, which never feels as ridiculous as its premise. That Scarlett embodies the character of Samantha so fully without appearing on screen is a credit to her versatility as an actor.
Should I see it? Definitely.
Box office? $47m
Geek points? 8.5/10. We're dealing with AI here - prime geek territory.
Lucy (Luc Besson, 2014)
Should I see it? How dumb do you like your cinema?
Box office? $459m
Geek points? 9.8/10. She literally melts down into nothing and becomes an all-seeing computer-God.
Captain America: Civil War (Anthony/Joe Russo, 2016)
Historically, the most successful superheroes have been male. Audiences love superheroes, and because more of that audience is male, so are the heroes on-screen. Female superheroes like Wonder Woman have rarely been given the chance to do their thing on the big screen, instead developing cult status in comic book series, where movie studios don't have to gamble millions of dollars on a potentially Catwoman-shaped bomb... all of which seems ridiculous in the 21st century. Minds have opened. Feminism and diversity are no longer underground concepts. And the people with the money are finally realising that audiences want female superheroes.
Enter the Black Widow.
Natalia Romanova is a gymnast, a martial arts expert, a master marksman, a ballerina, a highly skilled manipulator, a sometime-femme fatale, Soviet spy-turned-defector and government agent, and general, all-round bad-ass.
All of which makes Clark Kent seem like a kid with a cape, and Bruce Wayne a brooding emo who needs to get out more.
She's the perfect hero for a 21st century audience, and ScarJo encapsulates completely the confidence of the character. She's not intimidated by men; her sizeable role in Captain America: The Winter Soldier demonstrates that she's the equal of Cap in every respect, not just a female sidekick who exists to be rescued.
Natalia (or Natasha as she prefers to be known post-defection) has appeared so far in four Marvel movies, beginning with Iron Man 2 through to [The Avengers: Age Of Ultron](tag:293035), but the part she plays in [Captain America: Civil War](tag:994409) might be her biggest yet. Which side will she fight for? Hard to say. Black Widow is typically an ally of Captain America, but let's face it - she's got serious form in switching allegiance.
Still. Whatever arse she's kicking, the big screen's resident bad-ass ex-Soviet ball-crusher is here to stay.
Which is why Scarlett Johansson is the reigning queen of geek.
Should I see it? Is the ocean blue?
Box office? We'll see in 2016. Certainly more than Catwoman.
Geek points? Superhero kicks arse, looks crazy hot doing it? 12+/10.