Barbenheimer: A Review – InkedMag


By Mina Eren Ozgu

This past weekend the summer’s most anticipated films, “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” officially opened in theaters. 

There is no doubt you’ve seen the explosive marketing campaign helmed by not only the studios responsible for the film, Warner Brothers and Universal, but also by pop-culture crazed fans. There has been a surplus of homemade marketing for the event with countless fan-made posters, merchandise and trailer mashups littering the internet. 

It’s commonplace for studios to bring opposing demographics together for dual blockbuster opening weekends, like when Christopher Nolan’s brooding Batman film “The Dark Knight” opened on the same weekend as the Abba-inspired musical comedy “Mama Mia.”  The studios may have been intending to draw separate audiences to each film, but the masses reacted by coining the term “Barbenheimer” and making it an event to see the two very different films back-to-back.  The release of “Barbenheimer” has become a communal breeding ground for cinephiles world-wide.

Photo courtesy of Warner Bros.

“Barbie” (Directed by Greta Gerwig) 

Oscar-nominated writer and director Greta Gerwig, known for the A24 hit “Ladybird” is now responsible for one of the most impactful films surrounding the complimenting themes of capitalism and feminism.

“Barbie” is Gerwig’s official foray into blockbuster cinema, as the recurring indie-darling delivers a star-studded commentary on the aches and pains of navigating womanhood within the confines of a patriarchal society. Starring Margo Robbie (“Suicide Squad”), “Barbie” is an over-the-top, highly produced, heartfelt romp that viewers can’t help but fall in love with.

Robbie shines in the titular role as she grapples with ideologies surrounding ego death. She ventures to the real world of sunny Los Angeles only to discover that her very existence is nothing more than a creation of male gaze-y capitalistic pursuits. After connecting with the woman responsible for dampening her generally sunny disposition, Barbie struggles with being the most “stereotypical” version of herself. 

Even though “Barbie” features elaborate sets and is primarily set in a plastic world, do not be swayed by the inundation of fake beaches and the return of lycra. There are certain moments in “Barbie” that are nothing short of gut-wrenching. Viewers will surely exit the theater in tears, asking themselves what it really means to be human and whether or not we are better off attempting to fix the broken system we live in or just accepting it.

Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures

“Oppenheimer” (Directed by Christopher Nolan) 

In his latest film, writer and director Christopher Nolan (“Inception”) recounts the efforts scientists took to develop the atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, essentially ending the Second World War. 

Starring Cillian Murphy (“Peaky Blinders”), “Oppenheimer” is a gratuitously star laden historical feature on the world-wide arms race to successfully develop nuclear technology. Murphy delivers a career-defining performance in the titular role of brilliant theoretical physicist Robert J. Oppenheimer, or “Oppy,”, as he is so lovingly called by others throughout the movie. 

Physics heavy and fast-paced, Nolan’s film denies its audience a second to breathe throughout the duration of its three-hour runtime. “Oppenheimer ” dives headfirst into the eventual moral despair that engulfs Oppenheimer while drowning its audience in scientific jargon and basic metaphors explaining the bomb-making process along the way. 

 Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” is a visceral, anxiety-inducing film that will cripple its audience and plunge them deep into complete and utter despair. By directly questioning the need for nuclear weaponry, Nolan hits each angle of the nuclear arms race, often teetering on the line of “we had to” rather than “we shouldn’t have,” all while hiding behind a scientific political drama. 

It’s been a while since audiences have treated going to the movies as a game of dress-up, so it’s rewarding to be a part of such a cheerful experience. Combined, the films have had a nearly 300 million dollar opening weekend domestic gross alone. So, after three-plus years of wondering if movie theaters would ever recover post-pandemic, let me answer the question for you—yes. Theaters are on their way to a speedy recovery thanks in part to the cultish ideology surrounding “Barbenheimer.”

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