By Sandie Angulo Chen,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Masterful Marvel film has depth, diversity -- and violence.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Promotes teamwork, communication, loyalty, integrity, courage, and friendship. Highlights the abilities of women and people of color in leading roles. Explores the necessity of global compassion and outreach and the idea that, as human beings, more unites us than separates us. Duty, ritual, justice, and tradition are very important to the Wakandans. An important theme of the movie is learning that those who may seem perfect usually aren't; we all have flaws and secrets. But we also aren't responsible for the choices of those who came before us.
Positive Role Models
T'Challa is a born leader who's thoughtful, patient, and compassionate. Okoye, Nakia, and Shuri are strong, smart, capable, and brave, and Shuri is an inventive tech genius. Even the main villain is complicated and thought-provoking. A highly respected character is revealed to have made some pretty big mistakes in the past.
Positive representation of Marvel's first Black superhero; ensemble cast is largely Black. Women have agency and are shown to be strong, smart, capable, and courageous.
Inclusion information: Black directors, Black actors, Latinx actors
Inclusion information powered by
Did we miss something on diversity? Suggest an update.
Violence & Scariness
More close-up fights than in previous Marvel films, with more explosive, widespread violence. One-on-one ritual battles are intense (with bloody wounds, stabbings, etc.), full of moments when it seems like a character is going to die. A couple of deaths (both real and presumed) are particularly emotional. Weapons used in full-scale battle scenes include spears, curved knives, armored war animals. Super-powered guns/cannons that have the power to obliterate vehicles in one shot. Bad guys shoot bystanders and enemies, sometimes in cold blood. A long, explosive car chase causing lots of destruction. Dead bodies shown. Flashback to T'Challa's father's death. Brief footage from 1992 LA riots on TV. Black Panther rescues women from armed Nigerian soldiers.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
A couple of kisses and some flirting. One couple calls each other "my love" in a flirtatious/charged manner. Klaue smuggles a sensitive package in the crotch area of his pants.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Infrequent use of "s--t," "ass," and "hell"; one character makes a middle-finger gesture. A couple of Wakandan characters use the historically accurate word "colonizer" as a derisive/dismissive way of referring to white people/those in power. On the flip side, characters use the word "savage" a couple of times as an insult to the Wakandans.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
On camera: Toyota Land Cruiser, a top-of-the-line Lexus (which has been heavily featured in commercials), BBC News. Off camera: Marvel-branded merchandise is everywhere, including video games, apparel, action figures, and other products associated with all the characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adult extras drink in the background of a casino scene; a more central character orders a whiskey. A fictional heart-shaped herb is used for medicinal, mystical purposes in a sacred ritual.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Black Panther is the first film in the Marvel cinematic universe to center on a superhero of color: African prince-turned-king T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman), aka the Black Panther. As in all superhero movies, there's plenty of violence -- in this case, mostly brutal hand-to-hand combat that gets quite intense, with bloody injuries and even deaths. Although there are a few shoot-outs with super-powered guns/cannons (as well as some cold-blooded killings), the majority of the action features spear and blade fighting. That said, some confrontations do include larger, explosive battles and very destructive car chases. Language and sexual content are pretty minimal: a few uses of "s--t" and "hell" and a couple of quick kisses. Set mostly in the fictional African nation of Wakanda, the movie features not only the first mostly Black ensemble cast in superhero-film history (Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, Danai Gurira, and Daniel Kaluuya co-star), but also an all-female royal guard and a brilliant female inventor/engineer. Families who see Black Panther will have plenty to talk about afterward, from its portrayal of race and gender to the overall importance of having Black superheroes as main characters, rather than sidekicks.
To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Where to Watch
Videos and Photos
Based on 155 parent reviews
Another movie with Black themes but lots of swearing to teach kids! Stop teaching our kids to swear and call women b*tches.
Report this review
black super hero
Report this review
What's the Story?
After a folktale-like prologue that recounts the history of the fictional African nation of Wakanda, BLACK PANTHER opens with a flashback to 1992, when a younger T'Chaka (Atandwa Kani) makes a surprise visit to Oakland, California, to confront a rogue Wakandan spy. Back in the present, T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) is preparing for his coronation day, which includes a potential challenge -- through ritual combat -- from any of Wakanda's five tribes, as well as a sacred ceremony in which he officially becomes the nation's Black Panther. After T'Challa takes the throne, intelligence surfaces that notorious arms dealer Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis) has stolen a vibranium artifact from the British Museum. T'Challa takes his top warrior -- head of the royal guard General Okoye (Danai Gurira) -- and his former love, Nakia (Lupita Nyong'o), a Wakandan spy, to attempt to capture Klaue (one of the few outsiders who knows the truth about how much vibranium -- the most valuable metal on Earth -- is available in Wakanda). But CIA operative Everett Ross (Martin Freeman) and Klaue's mysterious young ally (Michael B. Jordan) complicate the mission. It turns out that the mystery man is a former SEAL who has a very personal score to settle with T'Challa and the Wakandans.
Is It Any Good?
Ryan Coogler's masterful superhero drama is unlike any other, featuring outstanding acting, breathtaking art direction, fascinating royal intrigue, memorable action sequences, and surprising depth. It's that depth -- of character, of storyline, of relevancy -- that makes Black Panther shine, as Boseman's T'Challa takes the mantle of king with enormous uncertainty about whether to share Wakanda's resources with the world. With the exception of his second-in-command W'Kabi (Kaluuya), T'Challa surrounds himself with an inner circle of influential women: Okoye, Nakia, his mother (Bassett), and his genius younger sister, scientist/tech inventor Shuri (Letitia Wright). Each of them contributes much to the story, with Gurira's spear-wielding Okoye the movie's clear scene-stealer, Wright the clever comic relief, and Nyong'o offering a wee bit of romance. Even the central villain, as played by frequent Coogler collaborator Jordan, is well-rounded and humanized, with the actor doing great work opposite the equally nuanced Boseman.
There's so much to appreciate in Black Panther, from its pulsing score, which features a soundtrack overseen by award-winning rapper Kendrick Lamar, to the mesmerizing cinematography courtesy of DP Rachel Morrison, gorgeous tribal costumes, and vibrant production design. There's not as much laugh-aloud banter as viewers may have come to expect from Marvel movies, but the beats of humor that are here, usually thanks to plucky Shuri or mountain-tribe leader M'Baku (Winston Duke), are extra funny. Ultimately the film's success comes down to the thoughtful, compelling storytelling from director Coogler and writer Joe Robert Cole, as interpreted by a terrific cast of actors. This isn't just another highly entertaining but formulaic superhero story; it's also poignant and powerful and earns its place toward the top of Marvel's films. (Be sure to watch all the way through the credits for a couple of extra tidbits!)
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the role models in Black Panther. Who are they, and what character strengths do they exhibit? How does T'Challa demonstrate courage, integrity, and even teamwork?
Why is it important for superheroes to be diverse? How is Black Panther an example of both racial and gender diversity compared to other superhero films?
How does the movie explore issues related to race? Why is Erik's perspective on the world so different from T'Challa's? Is one right and the other wrong? Why or why not? Why does representation matter in movies, TV, and books?
How are the Dora Milaje (T'Challa's all-female combat fighting force) unique in the Marvel Universe? What did you think of the way the movie portrays women in usually "male" roles -- e.g., tech expert, warrior general, spy? What message does that convey to viewers?
What is the movie's message about global responsibility? Do you agree with the view that the Black Panther should keep Wakanda safe at all costs, or with the idea that Wakanda should help less-stable, less-advanced nations and communities by sharing resources?
- In theaters: February 16, 2018
- On DVD or streaming: May 15, 2018
- Cast: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o
- Director: Ryan Coogler
- Inclusion Information: Black directors, Black actors, Latinx actors
- Studio: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Superheroes, Brothers and Sisters
- Character Strengths: Courage, Integrity, Teamwork
- Run time: 134 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: prolonged sequences of action violence, and a brief rude gesture
- Awards: Academy Award, Common Sense Media Award, Common Sense Selection
- Last updated: February 18, 2023
Inclusion information powered by
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
Suggest an Update
Where to Watch
Our Editors Recommend
Best Superhero Movies for Kids
Great Movies with Black Characters
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate