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Opens in theaters Sept 15
Director Gina Prince-Bythewood (Love & Basketball, Beyond the Lights) made a splash early in the pandemic with Netflix’s The Old Guard, based on Greg Rucka’s comic book series and starring Charlize Theron as the leader of a team of globetrotting, immortal mercenaries. It became a hit—or as much as one can infer considering Netflix’s cageyness sharing their viewership data—and it was a surprise when Prince-Bythewood decided not to come back to the streamer for the sequel. (That job went to another Black woman, Victoria Mahoney, most notably the second unit director on The Rise of Skywalker.)
It initially seemed like Prince-Bythewood was turning down a cushy gig, but her new film, The Woman King, puts that notion to rest. Here we have a big-budget action/war epic made by and for Black women about a group of ferocious female warriors whose history is barely covered in any English-language books. They are the Agojie, often referred to as Amazons, who over three centuries defended the West African kingdom of Dahomey (present-day Benin). Oscar and Emmy winner Viola Davis stars as Nanisca, the 19th-century general who trained a new generation of fighters to protect their land against European colonizers.
The film costars Thuso Mbedu (the lead on Amazon’s The Underground Railroad), Lashana Lynch (Captain Marvel), Tony winner Adrienne Warren (Tina: The Tina Turner Musical), and John Boyega (the Disney Star Wars sequels), and the trailer set to Beyoncé’s “MY POWER” hypes me up each and every time I see it.
I can’t wait.
📸: Sony Pictures