The Woman King is more than an action movie. It’s a film that depicts a side of African history that is rarely told and an opportunity for Black people to assert their humanity and regality.
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The Woman King is a sturdy, rousing piece of studio entertainment, that makes both the new feel old and the old feel new.
The Woman King leans toward fantasy in its heroic moments, but is rooted in truth about war, brutality and freedom. It is a splashy popcorn movie with a social conscience.
The Woman King is a film that has the confidence to be completely sincere in both the sharp moments of humor and the stunning battle sequences. The way it all grapples with history is subsequently clear-eyed, making some closing statements feel especially resonant. It is a film that ensures there is no denying Prince-Bythewood's dedication as a director and visual artist who can take on any cinematic challenge with ease.
There are more than a few moments in The Woman King that will have you fist-pumping and grinning like a goofball, amazed at energy of it all. And all that action is often aided by raw, real emotion which is handled deftly.
What a refreshing break from what usually constitutes an epic nowadays — mixing Ant-Man and the Hulk.
If this is what a Hollywood-ized and -sized blockbuster looks like in 2022, bring it on. Bring them all on. They’re worth the fight.
The fighting, when it comes — from competing tribes, and from white colonizers steadily advancing an international slave trade — is viscerally satisfying too, even as the screenplay, by Dana Stevens (Fatherhood) and actress Maria Bello, works mostly in the broad strokes of genre storytelling.
When The Woman King works, it’s majestic.
The Woman King reminds us that the real history we don’t know makes for a great story, and a grand action yarn. You want to learn where all the good parts and “realistic” elements of that comic book movie “Black Panther” and its sequel came from? Gaze upon “The Woman King,” and be thrilled.