Black Panther Parent Guide
The complex ethical issues presented propel the script far above other superhero films.
Parent Movie Review
The Black Panther follows the typical Marvel Comic’s origin story template, which means even if you aren’t familiar with the character, you’ll have an opportunity to catch up on your comic book homework. And, if you aren’t a typical fan of this genre, you couldn’t ask for a better movie to “break into” Marvel’s universe.
After the death of his father (John Kani), which was depicted in Captain America: Civil War , T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) succeeds to the throne of a small, mysterious (and fictitious) African state called Wakanda. After defending his right to rule in a gladiator-style, ceremonial ritual, T’Challa also inherits the role as protector of the realm, along with some big moral decisions and deep rooted family baggage.
But T’Challa has some help with these responsibilities. Thanks to a the powers of an indigenous herb, he is endowed with superhuman strengths as the Black Panther. And he will need these abilities to maintain the secrecy of Wakanda’s greatest treasure, a shiny metal called vibranium.
The mineral comes from a meteorite that long ago crashed within the country’s borders, and the millennia of locals since that time have discovered the substance can do everything from power their cities to curing their bodies. It makes some very deadly weapons too. From the outside, Wakanda looks like an impoverished state that keeps to itself, but hidden within its thick, jungle walls is a technologically superior society that ranks far above anywhere else on Earth.
T’Challa hopes to honor his father’s legacy by keeping Wakanda safely isolated from the unrest of the world surrounding it. Yet, a bad guy named Ulyssess Klaue (Andy Serkis) is already aware of the secret resource. Getting his fingers on one of the few specimens of the precious material that has found its way outside of Wakanda, Klaue has built a gun and permanently attached to his amputated left arm. With this fire power, and the help of his right hand man Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan), Klaue is determined to grasp more of the mighty metal and sell it to the highest bidder.
From a parent’s perspective, Black Panther comes with ample violent portrayals. In the opening minutes of the film, Kalue robs a museum and his minions delight in needlessly shooting security guards. Other gunplay is depicted on screen with limited blood effects, as well as confrontations using fantastical weapons that kill and throw people against a myriad of obstacles. And, of course, there’s the good old fist fight that often becomes the crux of the final act.
Still, these altercations come with many good reasons to consider this movie for older teens. It offers positive examples, starting with the racial makeup of this cast. Only two major players are not Black: Andy Serkis and Martin Freeman (playing a supportive CIA agent). Certainly, the excellent actors here represents some of the best African-American talent in Hollywood.
Along with messages about the importance of Black lives, the script has great female roles, featuring strong, smart and caring personalities. Okoye (Danai Gurira), the country’s military leader, holds an important position, and her spear throwing capabilities make for some of the movies most visually captive moments. Shuri (Letitia Wright) has intellectual prowess that makes her the equivalent of James Bond’s “Q”. Finally, Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), a former love interest of T’Challa’s, is a determined proponent for sharing Wakanda’s wealth and knowledge to better the rest of mankind.
The complex ethical issues presented propel the script far above other superhero films too. T’Challa is challenged, both mentally and physically, with choices that come with many pros and cons. Should he focus on what’s best for his country or the world at large? If he takes risks himself, will he put others in harm’s way? Are there some lies that are less damaging than truth. Can he maintain fairness and unity amongst competing factions?
When it comes to considering the needs of others first, the Black Panther sets a high bar. One that I hope continues in the many Marvel adventures sure to include this character in the future.Directed by Ryan Coogler. Starring Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o . Running time: 134 minutes. Theatrical release February 16, 2018. Updated February 16, 2018
Rating & Content Info
Why is Black Panther rated PG-13? Black Panther is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for prolonged sequences of action violence, and a brief rude gesture.
Pervasive depictions of violence include property damage, deaths and injuries by guns, spears, poison, explosions, fist-fights, animal attacks and fantastical/high-tech weapons. On-screen shootings, gory injuries and blood effects are detailed and frequent. Corpses are shown, including one dragged in a body bag. Mercenary characters kill with no regard to life: one brags about all the lives he has taken. Characters fight to the death in a gladiator-like competition. Women are kidnapped and held captive. Characters are thrown or fall from heights. Tribal traditions include burying live people and administering powerful potions. Adult and child characters mourn the loss of loved ones.
Women are seen in some revealing costumes. Occasional embracing and kissing. A woman complains about the discomfort of a corset.
One use of sexual finger gesture. Infrequent use of scatological slang, terms of deity and profanity. Limited use of slurs.
Alcohol / Drug Use:
Characters drink alcohol and gamble in a casino setting. Potions made from plants are administered in a tribal rituals.
Page last updated February 16, 2018
More parents' guide for Black Panther after the break...
Black Panther Parents' Guide
Many of the characters depicted here have deep convictions to different causes. What are T'Challa's priorities? What were his father's? What drives Okoye, Shuri and Nakia? How about Ulyssess Klaue and Erik Killmonger? Although they have different goals, are there times when they can work together? Are there situations where they have no common ground? What do the characters learn about their loyalties and/or selfish desires? Are there times when they should change their beliefs or traditions? Are their times when they should cling to their objectives?
When T'Challa struggles to live up to his father's legacy, Nakia reminds him, "You get to decide who you are going to be." What does she mean? What could you learn from her advice?
One of the characters claims, "Death is better than bondage." Why does he feel that way? What historical events is he referring to?
In a speech, a ruler says, "Wise men build bridges, the foolish build barriers". What point is he trying to make?
If you had access to something that could change the world, either for the better or the worse, what would you do with it?
News About "Black Panther"
From the Studio:
Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther” follows T’Challa who, after the death of his father, the King of Wakanda, returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation to succeed to the throne and take his rightful place as king. But when a powerful old enemy reappears, T’Challa’s mettle as king—and Black Panther—is tested when he is drawn into a formidable conflict that puts the fate of Wakanda and the entire world at risk. Faced with treachery and danger, the young king must rally his allies and release the full power of Black Panther to defeat his foes and secure the safety of his people and their way of life. “Black Panther” stars Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, with Angela Bassett, with Forest Whitaker, and Andy Serkis. The film is directed by Ryan Coogler and produced by Kevin Feige with Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Nate Moore, Jeffrey Chernov and Stan Lee serving as executive producers. Ryan Coogler & Joe Robert Cole wrote the screenplay.
By: Marvel Studios