One thing I found most impressive about Zootopia was how it actually addressed an often overlooked aspect of racism: that people who have experienced racism or prejudice can themselves be racist or prejudiced (something I haven’t seen in a film dealing with this sort of topic since Die Hard with a Vengeance). Considering how we live in an age where the idea only white people are capable of racism is common, this was an impressive bit of nuance that these sort of films rarely have (I’m looking at you Crash).
There is also the balanced look at police; they are not depicted as perfect, nor are they depicted as terrible. They are shown to be normal people with complexity rather than straw men created for political lampooning. Again, in the current anti-cop climate of recent years, this was a very bold thing to show.
And of course, there is the end where, while things are better and the major conflict is resolved, Judy admits Zootopia is not a perfect place and she and everyone needs to always work towards making it better. In a medium where all the world’s problems seem to be over in the end, this was a refreshing change of pace.
Seriously, this movie is so deep, nuanced, and well made; this may be one of Disney’s most important films.