I know it’s kind of reductive to pit “black” Disney movies against each other, but as I walked out of my Black Panther screening, couldn’t help but think about the differences between the two films, particularly in the way they handled their villains. Both are films with a mostly black cast that use black villains, who are motivated by issues of particular resonance to black audiences. One of these films expresses its themes through the villain in a way that elevated the entire story, and the other botched it so terribly in a tone deaf and borderline offensive way. The main difference that really changed the outcome in how the films conveyed their messages was how they contextualized their villain.
*SPOILERS FOR BOTH FILMS