The Woman King movie review & film summary (2022)

The Woman King movie review & film summary read till the end…

Introduction: The Woman King movie review

If you’re threatened by seeing strong and powerful women kick serious but then the woman king it’s just not going to be the movie for you but for everybody else who possesses mental maturity. This is an epic story to take in. This is the story of the Ogoji 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.

The Woman King movie review

So something I’m glad this film does right from the very beginning is that it addresses Dahomey’s involvement in the African slave trade. Now the story doesn’t dance around the fact. This kingdom among others was complicit in selling humans but this story then tells us and shows us how they went about correcting that how despite the potential financial blow that they could experience it was more important to protect the people and put an end to their involvement in the slave trade.

This film then gives us a snapshot of a small period in time where the leader of the Kingsguard a woman the general of the Egoji led the fight the film opens up with a nighttime battle that is frenzied, violent, and it’s exciting. Now some of the edits are a bit quick and some of the action gets jumbled. But most of the time we can clearly see all the hand-to-hand battles that are taking place and then the brutality that ensues from there. The story takes a big step back to introduce us to the Dahomey kingdom, the warriors, and the king.

The story gets a great deal of focus story building and character development on the Egoji and some new recruits and this is where we really get to meet our players see their strengths and their weaknesses and the film doesn’t rush this. I love that this portion though doesn’t drag i mean there’s an energy and even an urgency to the training and the storytelling.

We get some training montages that are executed well as they really don’t linger unnecessarily on every aspect of the training. I mean we see the important areas of growth at times when a character is going to be struggling and then we get to see the progress being made. Viola Davis is in the lead role here as general Naniska. Now right from the start, we see her power and ferocity and I love that she looks like a warrior.

I mean she wields her sword with agility and strength and we can see that just the battle scars that are all over her shoulders, and her face. She’s not a general that sits back but she’s right in the middle of the fray. Davis convincingly exudes strength and confidence but what I really love are the quieter moments that we see from her.

Despite her battle-worn exterior, she’s still human with hurts regrets, and fears and there are key moments where she’s alone or maybe with a trusted confidant that we get to see a softer emotion spill from her and I love how this makes her so relatable. She leads and fights because it’s her duty but she’s also not a robot. She’s not devoid of emotion or compassion and from these quieter moments, we get to see how her motivations are shaped now as awesome as Viola Davis is. She really is spectacular in this.

There are three standouts for me Lashonna, Lynch, Sheila, Atem, and Tuso Mubatu. I hope I spelled her name correctly so let’s start with Hashana Lynch. She was my favorite in the film. She’s witty a bit snarky and vicious when needed. But then has this very soft and compassionate side to her she takes Nawi – a new recruit the one played by boom Badu and takes her under her wing.

She’s not really showing favoritism but she sees potential there and she wants to foster it. She’s very much a big sister to Gnawi even giving her the nickname Titsy because she’s little and annoying but lynch captures so much emotion in her eyes. She quickly can transition through several different emotions that are very relatable and then appropriate for the scene.

She’ll go from battle hard to smiling at a victory to then a knowing terror or maybe a concern that she sees something in the distance. It instantly rooted for her and was constantly afraid of her well-being knowing that because she’s a top warrior. The peril is real sheila atom is another one of my favorites in this. She’s the close confidant to Davis Niska. They’ve known each other for a very long time and so she can share in conversations that nobody else can Atem as an actress. But she is taller and skinnier than many of the other actors that make up the Agoji. But I don’t think that, that means she can’t kick some serious booty.

She is skilled and her movements are fluid and deadly and just like lynch she can bring some low-key humor to the story not telling a joke or being comedic just saying something that feels very natural in a way that lightens the mood but also reflects exactly what we as the audience would be thinking her dynamic with both Davis and lynch. I thought it was so awesome to watch because they feed off of each other just providing dialogue deliveries that flow well but they also draw us into their triad.

Finally, we have Tua so Mubatu playing Nawi or Tsitsi. She’s a young woman from the kingdom who wants to be part of the Agoji which means then she has to train and test and we see a lot of the story from her point of view as just this – newcomer within the palace walls.

Mumbadu has a powerful presence on screen because she brings a sort of petulance or maybe feistiness to the character. She is strong-willed but she’s also determined and I love that things aren’t easy for her. This means the story doesn’t provide conveniences for her so that now we can just breeze through everything. She has to earn her spot and then the narrative puts us through all the challenges and pitfalls in her path.

Just to make her journey convincing John Boyega is also in this as the king and he is great to watch but really the others that I had just mentioned they’re the stars and really the reason for this story and for the story itself. This flows well and was very captivating balancing the dialogue-driven drama with the action.

There are some moments where story elements are predictable. And in one scene the story decides to really just spoon-feed the audience. Some information that had been previously just hinted at. At first, this annoyed me. I thought it was convincingly laid out prior but the more that I thought about it I appreciate that. The story chose to make this point just utterly obvious so that nobody could get hung up on trying to figure out that detail and then potentially miss a more important story amongst that who are following.

So was that part a little bit redundant? Yeah, I think so but it’s also a good story choice. When we get action pieces in this outside of the training these are brutal. There’s a scene in the latter half of the film that we’d be right at home in braveheart or Game Of Thrones. The fight was epic and violent but also showcases some hero shots that are going to make you want to cheer and in fact in the screening audience that I was at.

They did cheer. It’s an exciting but also harrowing scene and the camera gives us some excellent shots of the fighting where the cuts aren’t quickly edited together. We get to see the choreography that’s present within the melee. One thing that you may be surprised with because I was in is that this is pg-13 so despite the crazy violence there’s not a ton of blood or gore shown.

We will see swords slash people or a spear pierces somebody but there’s not this huge spurting of blood that would accompany something with a stronger rating but even still we do get to see a sword being buried in somebody’s shoulder in the neck area so there are kills that are captured on screen maintaining the exhilaration and the urgency.

The music in this is absolutely moving and inspiring many times. I’ll watch and hear the Egoji sing and chant like a choir building the emotional intensity to such a high level and then many times that will also be accompanied by a single singer speaking or singing the lyrical story. I was completely enthralled by the music as it complemented and it directed the sequences. This is a longer film at about 2 hours and 15 minutes but I was never bored and I didn’t feel any better at the length.

I was glued to my seat just captivated by the characters, their journey, and then the drama that was unfolding which was all pointing to this impending battle, and when we get those moments they are earned the story didn’t rush to get us there for the sake of just an action sequence. The events were building supported by the dialogue and the character development. This is a hero story with complex characters that are deserving of our cheers.

When the climax moments come, the emotion swells and it’s hard not to be completely enveloped in that emotion. There’s a mid-credit scene that you’re going to want to stay for and it’s not pointing to some sequel or anything like that but it contains a very powerful and beautiful moment that I think shouldn’t be missed.

So, overall The Woman King is a thrilling and emotional story about an indomitable people and their decision to change their trajectory in order to no longer harm their people. It’s powerful nuanced pointed and relevant. Viola Davis showcases why she is such a powerhouse actor displaying both fear strength and heartfelt softness.

Lashana Lynch, Sheila Atem, and Tuso Mubadu are the standouts bringing energy to the narrative that makes this a must-see movie. The soundtrack is incredible but the absolute best part of the entire movie is the representation that it creates powerful and strong black women at the front and center of this spectacular film. There’s no sex, maybe some very brief nudity a little bit of profanity, and a ton of violence including sexual violence. I give the woman king five out of five couches.

Seriously… do yourself a favor and see this as soon as you’re able. I’m also curious about how many awards and nods we’re gonna see for the lead cast because they totally deserve it so what’s a historical film that you really enjoy. Let me know in the comments below if you enjoyed this review.

P.S. This video is inspired by the following YouTube video.

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