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A slow revolution is beginning to creep into popular films. After nearly a century of relying on a classic formula, Hollywood is beginning to shift its focus onto a new kind of hero. Classically, that formula goes something like this: a good-natured, but inexperienced (or outright dim) hero is pitted against a villain who uses his or her vast intelligence for nefarious ends. Think James Bond v. Blofeld, Superman v. Lex Luthor, and Forrest Gump v. the World. Slowly but surely, that rule seems to be changing as more and more films showcase characters who find it possible to be smart and virtuous at the same time. It’s no longer a sin to be a smart person in Hollywood, and that fundamental shift is creating a whole new generation of characters who have been created, redesigned, or rebooted to emphasize their minds more than their muscles. Here are some of the best in recent years.

1. Diana, ‘Wonder Woman’

Let’s start with Summer 2017’s most buzzed about hit, the adaptation of Wonder Woman starring Gal Gadot. Admittedly a lot of the conversation about the film focused on Diana’s unmatched fighting skills, but it’s important to remember that this adaptation also took the time to point out that Wonder Woman (and all of her fellow Amazonians) were extremely well-educated. Diana herself proved able to speak pretty much any modern language with ease. And sure, ultimately she picks up her sword and slays bad guys the old-fashioned way, but Diana is still unabashedly fond of thinking before she acts.

Wonder Woman

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