The Great Wall — starring Matt Damon as a European mercenary looking for gunpowder in medieval China who becomes embroiled in a fight against CGI monsters (totally based on a true story, right?) — is in theaters today. The film rose hackles months ago when people suspected whitewashing, like when Exodus was filled with white Egyptians, Emma Stone played an Asian character in Aloha, Tilda Swinton played The Ancient One, or Scarlett Johansson played the Major.
But, as director Zhang Yimou clarified, Damon is playing one of five heroes, four of whom are Chinese and one of whom (Damon) was always written as a white European. That said, it would still be easy to accuse the film of being yet another story where people of color somehow need a white guy to save them. To be fair, The Great Wall is a movie about fighting CGI monsters, but it’s easy pickings to make fun of a film which appears at first glance to be yet another self-serious “white savior” movie.
With that in mind, Twitter got extra salty about the white savior trope on Thursday with #ThankYouMattDamon, a hashtag dedicated to thanking Matt Damon for his many contributions to China and to the entire East Asian population. We’ve collected some of our favorite tweets below.