Some films just never get old enough to go viral all over again. And Tropic Thunder from 2008 is one of them. It’s a highly rated comedy, with an 82% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. But, it seems like some people who just watched it are having a problem with Robert Downey Jr doing blackface in the film. However, they’re in the wrong here and the Avengers star doesn’t deserve stick on this character. So, that’s why we have to debunk that film again.
Teenagers discover Robert Downey Jr’s Blackface in Tropic Thunder
If you simply google Robert Downey Jr and blackface, then it’s this kind of images you’ll find. And at first, it’s understandable that you would have an outrage. More so if you belong to the teenage group, that’s just growing up in a more socially aware world with higher moral standards. Here’s a compilation of tweets of some of those teenagers that just discovered this classic film:
Now, this isn’t the first time something like this has come up on the internet. In fact, it keeps on happening time and time again. And Robert Downey Jr himself has addressed this as well. So, let’s see why this criticism is wrong!
Tropic Thunder’s Blackface is not racist
Now, Tropic Thunder is in no way a politically correct film. But, the use of Blackface by Robert Downey Jr was not with the intension of portraying a black character, but to criticize method acting and blackface itself.
Downey Jr’s Kirk Lazarus was a method actor and received several Academy Awards in his life over it. But, he went to extreme lengths to achieve these feats. For instance, he didn’t just paint his face black but instead had a skin pigmentation surgery done. That’s too extreme for any actor, but unfortunately, sometimes actors do cross such limits.
And then we come to blackface. Blackface wasn’t a mockery of the black community or other people of color but in fact of the white people who make fun of them. And the film is self-aware in that department. The actor, Alpa Cino continuously showed offense to Kirk Lazarus over his stereotypical behavior. Moreover, he clearly mentioned how it was wrong for the role of a black war hero to go to a white actor. Therefore, the movie was a critique of white filmmakers and their stereotypes of the people of color.
And many Twitter users came in defense of Robert Downey Jr with just these points:
Even the original Tweeter who wrote against Robert Downey Jr ended up apologizing:
Therefore, these arguments pretty much settle this argument. Yes, some people of color might still find offense in Robert Downey Jr’s Kirk Lazarus, but it was far from his or the film’s intension to do so. In fact, it was a critique of the people who have racially stereotyped against people of color for decades. So, I think the kids can give Tony Stark a pass on this.