Rene Russo’s Frigga might not have had much to do in the first Thor movie (you try being married to someone who falls into a cosmic sleep!), but the queen — SPOILER! –got a heroic send-off in the sequel after she was slain making a valiant stand against Malekith during his attack on Asgard. Her death was enough to unite warring brothers Thor and Loki. Frigga returned for a memorable sequence in Avengers: Endgame where Thor got to see her one last time, she gave him a pep talk, and encouraged him to eat a salad once in a while.
Kal-El’s Kryptonian (and quite doomed) mother Lara first appeared on film in a 1948 serial played by Luana Walters, but it was Susannah York who got the most screen time as Lara appearing in three Christopher Reeve films. Ayelet Zorer played a fiercer version of Lara in Man of Steel. She may have only had a handful of time with her son, but her and Jor-El’s mission to spare Kal-El from the destruction of his home world gave Earth a hero.
Martha Kent (Superman)
Superman’s adoptive mom Martha Kent first appeared on the big screen in the 1948 serial played by Virginia Carrol, but it was Phyllis Thaxter’s portrayal in the 1978 epic that defined Martha on the big screen for a generation.
Diane Lane played a much younger Martha Kent in Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Justice League. Each screen incarnation of Martha helps show how the rural, all-American Kents formed Clark’s moral character. We also got to see how Lane’s Martha helped a scared young Clark adapt to his emerging super powers.
Martha Wayne (Batman)
Martha Wayne remains a woefully under-explored character on both page and screen being most remembered for getting shot for her pearl necklace, but Batman Begins showed how the altruism of Martha (played by Sara Stewart) and her husband Thomas was a force for good in Gotham City and how their murders sent the city spiraling into decay. Martha was also mentioned in The Dark Knight Rises when Selina Kyle stole her jewelry from Wayne Manor.
Lauren Cohan as Martha Wayne in Batman v Superman.Martha Wayne (played by The Walking Dead’s Lauren Cohan) had her most pivotal appearance onscreen yet in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice as “Martha” came to be a key factor in the warring heroes’ resolution. Martha Wayne also appeared briefly in 2019’s Joker, played by Carrie Louise Putrello. While Martha Wayne may not be as developed as some of the other moms on this list, she’s obviously cast a long shadow over the life of her son.
Elastigirl (The Incredibles)
Helen Parr (a.k.a. Elastigirl or Mrs. Incredible) had to juggle motherhood and superheroics when The Incredibles suited back up. Her grit, bravery, devotion and wit make her a super-mom in every sense. She was voiced by Holly Hunter.
Aunt May Parker (Spider-Man)
She may not be his biological mother, but Aunt May has raised Peter Parker as if he were her own son and he loves her as if she were his mom. Perpetually cash-strapped, May frets more about Peter than she will allow him to worry about her. Rosemary Harris played May in the Sam Raimi trilogy, while Sally Field took over the role for the Amazing Spider-Man films.
Marisa Tomei made her first appearance as “hot aunt” May in Captain America: Civil War, and reprised her role as Peter Parker’s guardian in Spider-Man: Homecoming, Avengers: Endgame, and Spider-Man: Far From Home, where she had a brief relationship with Happy Hogan and enlisted Spidey to help with her charity work.
Rio Morales (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse)
The loving Rio Morales (voiced by Luna Lauren Velez) is a hard-working nurse in New York City who dotes on her son Miles. While Rio isn’t as central to the plot of Into the Spider-Verse as Miles’ dad Jefferson Davis, her view of superheroes, especially Peter Parker’s Spider-Man, is far more positive than Jeff’s.
Nicole Kidman, already a veteran of DC movies thanks to Batman Forever, played the Atlantean queen Atlanna in Aquaman. Her relationship with surface dweller Tom Curry beget their child Arthur Curry, who came to rule the seven seas as the superhero Aquaman. Atlanna was not only a just ruler and a canny survivor — indeed, she was thought dead for decades — but also a fierce fighter and a person of great compassion as she showed to her not-so-nice son Orm.
Meredith Quill (Guardians of the Galaxy)
You might be seeing a pattern here of moms who were only in their superhero son’s life for a brief while before tragedy struck. That pattern continues with Meredith Quill, whose son Peter was there when she died from brain cancer. Young Peter was subsequently snatched away by aliens and, long story short, is now the Guardian of the Galaxy dubbed Star-Lord (a name his mom gave him). Meredith (played by Laura Haddock) was in love with the cosmic being Ego, who fathered Peter and also gave Meredith the cancer that killed her. In addition to giving her son his superhero name, she also bequeathed onto him some rad mix tapes that he still plays during his interstellar adventures. Meredith may have had bad taste in boyfriends but she had great taste in music. Too bad her son’s still an idiot, though.
Ramonda (Black Panther)
The queen of Wakanda, Ramonda is the mother of Black Panther himself, T’Challa, and the brilliant Shuri. With her poise and gravitas, Ramonda helped set the example of regal grace under pressure and indomitable spirit that her son carries on as the ruler-protector of their African kingdom. Angela Bassett played Ramonda in 2018’s Black Panther and also appeared in Avengers: Endgame.
Hippolyta (Wonder Woman)
Queen Hippolyta of the Amazons (played by Gladiator’s Connie Nielsen) is the mother of Diana (Gal Gadot) in Wonder Woman, Justice League, and the forthcoming Wonder Woman 1984. Hippolyta raised her daughter Diana, conceived by Zeus, alongside her fellow Amazons, trying to shield her from the outside world and humanity. Long before Diana was born, she joined the battle to defend Earth from Steppenwolf and his invading Parademons, and she still takes up the sword to ride into battle when Themyscira is threatened.
Janet van Dyne (Ant-Man and the Wasp)
Chronologically, Janet van Dyne was one of the MCU’s first female superheroes. The original Wasp, Janet (played by Michelle Pfeiffer) sacrificed herself on a SHIELD mission in the 1980s with her husband Hank Pym. Hank spent the rest of life trying to figure out how to locate and save Janet from the Quantum Realm where she disappeared. Janet spent decades in the Quantum Realm surviving through her strength and ingenuity. She’s eventually reunited with her now adult-daughter Hope and Hank. Of course, their happiness proved short-lived thanks to Thanos but, hey, everyone’s fine now.
The 25 Best Superhero Movies
Who’s your favorite superhero movie mom? Let us know in the comments!