The story of the Ogoji, an all-female unit of warriors who protected the African kingdom of Dahomey in the 1800s with skills and fierceness unlike anything the world had ever seen, is something I’m glad this movie gets right from the start.
She was my favourite character in the movie. She’s witty, a little bit snarky, and vicious when she needs to be, but she also has a soft and caring side. She takes Nawi, a new recruit played by Boom Badu, under her wing She is skilled, and her movements are fluid and deadly. Like Lynch, she can add some low-key humour to the story, not by telling jokes or being funny, but by saying something that feels very natural and reflects exactly what we as the audience would be thinking.
I thought it was so cool to see how she, Davis, and Lynch feed off of each other by just giving lines that flow well. Umbadu 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.
I mean, the story doesn’t provide conveniences for her so that now we can just breeze through everything she has to do 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’s a lot of fun to watch, but the people I just mentioned are the real stars and the reason why this story is worth telling. As for the story itself, it flows well and is very interesting, with a good mix of dialogue-driven drama and action.
Some parts of the story are predictable, and in one scene, the story decides to just tell the audience something that had already been said. The music in this is very moving and inspiring. Sometimes I’ll see and hear the emoji sing and chant like a choir, building up the emotional intensity to a high level. Other times, that will be accompanied by a single singer speaking or singing the lyrical story.
Viola Davis shows why she is such a great actor by acting with both fearlessness and heartfelt softness. Ashana Lynch, Sheila Atem, and Tuso Mubadu are the standouts bringing energy to the narrative that makes this a must-see movie. The soundtrack is great, but the best thing about the movie is how it shows strong, powerful black women as the main characters. There’s a little bit of swearing and a lot of violence, including sexual violence. I give The Woman King five out of five couches.