Critic reviews for the upcoming Barbie movie are rolling in and the majority of the critics are lauding the film as a feminist masterpiece.

Ken (Ryan Gosling) has a question for Barbie (Margot Robbie) in Barbie (2023), Warner Bros. Pictures

Ken (Ryan Gosling) has a question for Barbie (Margot Robbie) in Barbie (2023), Warner Bros. Pictures

Chandler Levack at The Globe And Mail declares, “Barbie is both a master’s thesis on feminism and an Austin Powers-esque romp.”

Later in her review, she says, “What makes it one of the most captivating and unwaveringly feminist summer blockbusters ever to exist is an absolute, uncompromising commitment to the bit in terms of cinematic craftsmanship, direction and performance.”

Of note, she highlights that at the end of the film the Kens have taken over a “once feminist utopia” of Barbieland and the “Barbies must band together to get their world back.”

Margot Robbie as Barbie in Barbie (2023), Warner Bros. Pictures

RELATED: Margot Robbie Confirms ‘Barbie’ Film Is For Children, Film Includes Male Actor Playing Doctor Barbie

Tomris Laffly at TheWrap declares the film “delivers a fierce feminist statement dressed in pink.”

In her review, Laffly adds, “Once an equal parts fascinating and controversial Mattel toy, both loved and hated—a tiny-waisted, vacuously smiling, slender doll designed like a straight-male fantasy—is now the complicated feminist symbol of empowerment in Gerwig’s hands. But we aren’t talking about an empty you-go-girl kind of empowerment here. That would be too simple-minded for Gerwig, whose articulate and accessible feminism has always been fiercely multifaceted and complex.”

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Margot Robbie as Barbie in Barbie Trailer (2023), Warner Bros via Twitter

Marshall Shaffer at The Playlist states the film declares the patriarchy the Forbidden Fruit in the Garden of Adam and Eve that tempts Ken. He writes, “Gerwig’s Barbie inverts and gender-flips the Garden of Eden myth. A female deity (Rhea Perlman’s Ruth Handler) conjures a woman related to her own image and gives her a companion of the opposite gender (Ryan Gosling’s Ken) defined by their relationship to the first creation. Just as the term ‘woman’ derived from its relationship to ‘man,’ Barbie’s male counterpart was only ‘& Ken’ – never on his own. It’s thus Ken, tempted by the forbidden fruit rendered as patriarchal ideology, who strays and spoils Barbie Land.”

Shaffer goes on to detail, “The cartoonish misogyny Ken adopts provides Gosling with a long runway on which to camp it up. His ability to convincingly sell the transformation of Barbie Land into the ‘Kendom’ speaks to the persuasive power of his charisma, especially when he’s willing to undermine his smoldering with silliness.”

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Margot Robbie as Barbie in Barbie Trailer (2023), Warner Bros. Pictures

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Kate Erbland at IndieWire asserts, “Greta Gerwig goes way outside the box with her funny, feminist fantasia.”

She would also reveal that Ken becomes the villain by destroying the feminist utopia of Barbieland, “It’s been hugely altered by the full force of a returning (and, dare we say it, red-pilled) Ken, who uses all his newfound male rage and patriarchal power to upend what was once a lady-powered idyll.”

Ken (Ryan Gosling) takes his mugshot in Barbie (2023), Warner Bros. Pictures

Ken (Ryan Gosling) takes his mugshot in Barbie (2023), Warner Bros. Pictures

Maddy Myers at Polygon reveals how the film depicts the so-called Real World, “Reality as depicted in Barbie is as much of a caricature as Barbieland, stuffed with recognizable tropes: sexist, catcalling construction workers; fist-pumping gym bros; and well-heeled white-collar executives who helpfully explain how the patriarchy works.”

Myers later adds that the film, “unravels so many of America’s masculine anxieties of the moment, and that it does its job backward and in high heels.”

Barbie (Margot Robbie) reveals her feet have gone flat in Barbie (2023), Warner Bros. Pictures

Barbie (Margot Robbie) reveals her feet have gone flat in Barbie (2023), Warner Bros. Pictures

Coleman Spilde at The Daily Beast states, “The film firmly asserts Barbie as a feminist; at the same, it skewers Mattel’s own commodification of feminism to sell dolls.”

Speaking to a speech that America Ferrera’s character gives in the film, Spilde states, “America Ferrera, who steals scenes as a human that Barbie meets during her time in the Real World, gets a monologue so compelling that it makes you laugh as much as it makes you want to throw up under the weight of the world’s immense imbalance. Ferrera might be talking about all of the things that women have to make themselves comfortable with just to survive in the world, yet it’s never preachy.”

Margot Robbie as Stereotypical Barbie in Barbie (2023), Warner Bros. Pictures

RELATED: Supreme Court Justice Barbie Actress Ana Cruz Kayne Uses Film Role To Promote Child Murder

Mike Ryan at Uproxx notes the film is filled with social commentary, “I can’t believe Gerwig got away with this. And that’s not to say there’s no love for this character – there obviously is – but it’s not often we get this amount of social commentary squeezed directly from the company that licensed the movie

He adds, “And I don’t want to make it sound heavy-handed. I saw this movie somewhat early in the morning after a night of little sleep and I legitimately laughed out loud at least ten times.”


Margot Robbie as Barbie in Barbie Trailer (2023), Warner Bros via Twitter

Aside from feminism, it appears one of the other social commentaries is on capitalism. Clarisse Loughrey at Independent explains, “ery late in the movie, a conversation is had that neatly sums up one of the great illusions of capitalism – that creations exist independently from those that created them. It’s why films and television shows get turned into “content”, and why writers and actors end up exploited and demeaned.”

She concludes, “Barbie, in its own sly, silly way, gets to the very heart of why these current strikes are so necessary.”

Ana Cruz Kayne as Supreme Court Justice Barbie in Barbie (2023), Warner Bros. Pictures

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While all of the above reviewers were lavishing praise on the film, other critics panned the film for its preachiness. Christian Toto at Hollywood in Toto notes the film “drowns in feminism, lectures.”

He adds the film “loathes men to a degree that would make a Women’s Studies major blush. It hates the Barbie toy itself, dubbing it ‘fascist’ and worse throughout the film.”

Toto further asserts, “Gerwig, along with collaborator Noah Baumbach, have an agenda to push that drains the joy from their creation time after time. And it starts from the opening minutes with a cringe-worthy close-up of the all-female Supreme Court (where’s Amy Coney Barrett?). Feminism! Empowerment! Down with the Patriarchy!”

“Every time the film gains momentum it pauses to make a mini-speech The characters can’t move beyond these moments because there’s always another minutes away,” Toto elaborates. “It’s the perfect encapsulation of woke storytelling. The AgendaTM matters more than the narrative and mustn’t be denied.”

Margot Robbie as Barbie and Ryan Gosling as Ken in Barbie (2023), Warner Bros. Pictures

Johnny Oleksinski at New York Post sarcastically comments on Ken taking over Barbieland, “Drama, sort of, comes when Ken becomes obsessed with the real world’s patriarchy and masculinity and brings them back to upend Barbie Land. What fun.”

“Gosling’s dumb hunk shtick starts out silly but wears thin as we realize that’s all it’s gonna be,” he adds.

Margot Robbie as Barbie and Ryan Gosling as Ken in Barbie (2023), Warner Bros. Pictures

RELATED: Greta Gerwig And Margot Robbie Attempt To Explain How The ‘Barbie’ Film Is Feminist

None of this should be a surprise to anyone who has paid attention to the film’s promotion outside of the trailers. The film’s director Greta Gerwig alongside producer and actor Margot Robbie confirmed the film was a big feminist movie in an interview with Australia’s ABC News.

Gerwig declared, “Well it most certainly is a feminist film.” Robbie would interject saying, “To me that’s like one slice of the pie.” Gerwig then added, “Super big slice.”

Robbie then admitted, “It’s a big slice, but I also wouldn’t call it a funny film because that discredits the fact that it’s got a lot of heart, and it’s got a lot of emotion, and it’s got a lot of movie references, you know, all this kind of stuff.”

Issa Rae as President Barbie in Barbie (2023), Warner Bros. Pictures

Later in the interview, Gerwig explained why the film is feminist, “I think it belongs to the film because when we were making it the whole– Barbie is like an icon that as Margot was speaking to, she exists in the both and, not the either or. She’s not either good or bad or, you know. Diving into the complexity of it and not running away from it, but looking at all the thorniness and stepping into it, and also looking all the thorniness and stepping into what is the negotiation of what women need to be and how to give them something other than a tightrope to walk on is how it feels feminist to me.”

Robbie also shared, “I actually, when I got asked the other day like if Barbie is a feminist, well she’s actually the level up from that. If you look at Barbieland at the beginning, the Barbies are on top and the Kens are kind of disregarded. So I was like well that’s not equal. So whatever the opposite of misogynist is actually, Barbie’s like– So towards the end when they balance things out then it might be feminist, but actually it’s beyond feminist because the power dynamic is in the favor of the Barbies to begin with.”

Ken (Ryan Gosling) and Ken 2 (Simu Liu) finish a chest-bump in Barbie (2023), Warner Bros. Pictures

Ken (Ryan Gosling) and Ken 2 (Simu Liu) finish a chest-bump in Barbie (2023), Warner Bros. Pictures

RELATED: ‘Barbie’ Actor Issa Rae Describes A Ken As “A Great Accessory” And Someone Who Does Not “Have Their Own Story”

Aside from Gerwig and Robbie confirming it, Issa Rae, who plays President Barbie responded to a question about what a Ken is. She said, “I think a Ken for me is just kind of there. I think a Ken is just a great accessory. That’s what I loved about Greta’s imagining of Barbie is that the Ken’s are just supplemental characters to these Barbies while Barbies can do everything Kens are there to kind of support and don’t necessarily have their own story.”

She added, “And I think that’s not necessarily a negative thing. It’s incredibly strong for men to be in supportive roles and to support the greatness that is women/Barbie.”

Kate McKinnon, who plays Weird Barbie, noted the film’s script is “about how like gender roles deny people half their humanity and how like we need to just like be ourselves. And it’s like a very powerful message.”

Kate McKinnon as Weird Barbie in Barbie (2023), Warner Bros. Pictures

RELATED: ‘Barbie’ Star Simu Liu Says Film “Puts The Final Nail In The Coffin Of That Very Heteronormative Idea Of What Gender Is”

Actor Simu Liu, who plays one of the Kens, shared, “I’m so glad that this movie exists because I think it puts the final nail in the coffin of that very heteronormative idea of what gender is, and what is or is not gendered.”

Liu later added, “And it’s so great to be free to express yourself in all of the ways you feel like you want to, and not to feel like because something is attributed to a certain gender or a certain idea that you can’t also do that. That’s I think what’s really struck me about being in this movie, what’s evolved in my understanding of Barbie and what it is, and what I hope that an audience will get from it when they watch the movie.”

Ken 2 (Simu Liu) challenges Ken (Ryan Gosling) in Barbie (2023), Warner Bros. Pictures

Ken 2 (Simu Liu) challenges Ken (Ryan Gosling) in Barbie (2023), Warner Bros. Pictures

What do you make of critics’ description of this film as feminist?

NEXT: Kate McKinnon Reveals ‘Barbie’ Movie Is “About How Gender Roles Deny People Half Their Humanity”


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    John F. Trent
    Founder and Editor-in-Chief

    John is the Editor-in-Chief here at Bounding Into Comics. He is a massive Washington Capitals fan, lover of history, and likes to dabble in economics and philosophy.