Black Panther Gets Common Sense Media Parental Seal Of Approval
Black Panther is continuing a stellar awards season by celebrating a parental seal of approval from Common Sense Media. Common Sense declared the Ryan Coogler-directed theatrical release to be the most notable and culturally significant of family entertainment of all the films reviewed by the entity this last year. The cast and production staff of Black Panther were awarded Thursday along with two other organizations: the mathematically-inclined Khan Academy and the teens behind the March For Our Lives anti-gun violence movement that started in Florida. Each winner represents a core value of Common Sense Media: education, entertainment and advocacy.
“Black Panther was an obvious natural choice [for our Common Sense Awards],” says Colby Zintl, vice president of external affairs at Common Sense Media, which specializes in evaluating popular media and grading it according to youth-centered criteria including storylines, content and developmental appropriateness per age group. “We gave it five stars and the Seal and we just really thought that it was it was unlike any other as it features outstanding acting and beautiful art direction and memorable action sequences. The criteria also mean a title has to make a significant or lasting impact on families or culture. We’ll be celebrating that tonight.”
The awards were given at San Francisco City Hall before a crowd of around 500 people. It also marked an especially poignant moment because Coogler, an Oakland native, came to pick up the award for himself. The movie also picked up several MTV Movie Awards and Teen Choice Awards as well as a BET Award for Best Film in the last few months. There is also plenty of chatter about a Best Picture Oscar nomination, which if given, would be the first for a superhero movie.
Given the massive cultural and financial success of the film, what is most interesting about Common Sense Media’s ratings is that they aren’t on the proverbial bandwagon for all publically popular movies. Black Panther, as noted in the review, is recommended for ages 12 plus. The movie has a number of themes parents can and should discuss with their children, the group says, but it’s still not Sesame Street. As such it’s not necessarily appropriate for toddlers and younger children that might still have sensitivities to loud noises, violent imagery and character deaths. (I also explored the idea that the film isn’t necessarily appropriate for your youngest children in an earlier column.) But for the right age group and above, the ideas of race relations, family disagreements, the power of the African continent, the ability for a man to shed his super hero abilities and still be a winner — all those are excellent dinner time discussion topics.
The group uses a small number of highly trained reviewers to look at some 35,000 titles. Not all of them score as highly as Black Panther. And the recent rise in content doesn’t make the job any easier, they say. All the more reason for Black Panther to stand out, says Common Sense, adding that additional Panther movies and most likely G and PG fare for the youngest set could be coming soon to a cable station or streaming provider near you.