Set in the African kingdom of Dahomey in the 1820s, this film follows the Agojie, an all-female group of warriors who must protect their land from both foreign and close threats.
Perhaps this is going to be one of the first reviews that aren't overwhelmingly positive but as a critic who must speak my mind, I don't hesitate to say The Woman King doesn't live up to the hype.
I looked forward to this film while being careful not to expect too much. I also avoided early reviews and got to see it at an advanced screening. Coming out of the cinema, I was left thinking, 'Is that what they could come up with?'
The above is not say that film is bad. It's not just that it is not good as the trailer makes it out to be.
The plot is quite engaging and the actors don't do badly (I will single out Thuso Mbedu, Lashana Lynch, and John Boyega as the obvious standouts).
Viola Davis is a great actress no doubt but her role here doesn't leave any lasting impression on me.
We are led to believe from the film's title that she is the protagonist (maybe I'm wrong in that assumption) but the movie actually belongs to Mbedu's character Nawi.
As Nawi, the young actress flourishes and astounds, leaving little else to be desired. She showed range and I couldn't get enough of her.
Lashana Lynch is equally amazing as the fierce but loving warrior Izogie, whose bond with Nawi helps make the plot more interesting.
As the proud monarch of the Dahomey kingdom, John Boyega is one heck of a scene stealer. I never knew he had such charisma, bringing humour to a rather serious role with such professionalism.
Apart from the aforementioned positives, almost every other thing in The Woman King is mediocre.
First off, the cinematography is a major letdown. I mean, I have seen better camera work in some Nollywood films. Brutal and harsh, but that's my honest take.
The dialogue is nothing out of the ordinary and the pacing is also a bit inconsistent.
Perhaps the most disappointing thing about this film is the action. The action sequences were plain dull and it was easy to see that most of the blows and kicks didn't land despite the impressive choreography.
The film would have us believe that the Agojie are an army but I never saw anything beyond a handful of soldiers numbering about 40 at most.
Before I forget, the antagonist (played by Jimmy Odukoya) is a major presence and came off as one fit for the film but sadly doesn't get adequate screen time and his backstory isn't even explored.
In all, The Woman King is far less than it should be, never rising beyond a mediocre interpretation despite committed performances from its talented cast.