The Woman King
review by Bobby Blakey
When Black Panther made his Marvel Cinematic Universe debut fans went crazy for the female warriors known as the Dora Milaje. What most may not know is they are based off a real life group of woman, the Dahomey Amazons. These fierce warriors are finally getting their story told in the new film The Woman King starring Viola Davis, Thuso Mbedu, Lashana Lynch, Sheila Atim, Hero Fiennes Tiffin and John Boyega. Could this flick to the legendary warriors justice or will it be a kingdom not worth ruling?
The Woman King follows the remarkable story of the Agojie, the all-female unit of warriors who protected the African Kingdom of Dahomey in the 1800s with skills and a fierceness unlike anything the world has ever seen. Inspired by true events, The Woman King follows the emotionally epic journey of General Nanisca as she trains the next generation of recruits and readies them for battle against an enemy determined to destroy their way of life. Some things are worth fighting for…
From the first trailer I was all in. Seeing Viola Davis kick ass alongside other strong woman of color in this setting just looked all kinds of awesome and it was just that. I will say that there is a ton of action, but not as much as I guess I was expecting, but that is not a bad thing. The action that is here and it’s plenty is all kinds of awesome. We also have a strong story that allows us on a journey to become one of these fierce warriors. On the other side of her strength is the king played perfectly by John Boyega. His is a smaller role in the sense of the bigger story, but he has a presence and delivery that brings honor to the thrown and shines throughout.
The entire cast is outstanding here with Viola Davis bringing her usual brilliance to the role filled with power, emotion and depth. She is a strong warrior woman, but still shows cracks in that exterior that humanizes her and brings story to the woman she is that leads these other warriors. Alongside her is a strong supporting cast with Lashana Lynch and Sheila Atim bringing a deeper strength to her army. They are confidants and right hands that serve important roles to the army and the story while still being as powerful as her and never feeling like second to her strength.
The story is really told through young Thuso Mbedu and her journey to become Agojie. She goes through trials and struggles thrust directly into war and does a great job evolving from a lost soul to powerful warrior. Her story allows us to understand how and why these warriors are so feared and in turn sets the tone for things to come. Right out the gate you get to see them showcase their battlefield prowess and you can’t help but feel their strength for the rest of the film.
The action sequences are strong, fast and fierce. There are three major battles and they all bring the pain with excellent choreography and execution from these fierce woman. You believe there power. They put in that damn work to deliver and they knocked it out of the park on every level. If you didn’t buy into their power and strength just from the way they carried themselves alone, you damn sure will after seeing them kick some major ass.
This is an excellent movie that shines a light on a nation of strong powerful woman of color that should have been showcased long ago. There are some uncomfortable moments that will have normal people pissed dealing with slavery and entitlement, but it is so important to the true history of this tale and why their fight is so important still to this day.
In addition to the film this release offers up bonus content including commentary, auditions, featurettes and more. Grab your copy of The Woman King available now on digital then on 4K, Blu-ray and DVD on December 13th from Sony Home Entertainment.