Greta Gerwig's "Barbie" has been the it-girl of the internet since it was announced, and it's not hard to understand why.
With the movie's all-star cast, ubiquitous marketing campaign and its status as the first live-action film adaptation of a beloved icon, it's no surprise that upon its premiere, the entire world seemed ready to take a trip to Barbieland.
And let's not forget the internet phenomenon known as "Barbenheimer": a meme-fueled movement that riffed on the film's shared July 21 premiere date with Christopher Nolan's darker "Oppenheimer."
Currently, "Barbie" has made $578.7 million worldwide and achieved Gerwig the milestone of highest-grossing opening weekend of all time for a female director.
"Barbie," which is just short of a 2-hour runtime, begins with a look into the perfectly pink Barbieland where "every night is girl's night" and every day is "the best day ever ... forever." Since Barbie can do anything, women can do anything. Therefore, everything is amazing, all of women's issues are solved and there seemingly are no problems.
Multiple Barbies with different occupations and achievements run Barbieland. There's a president Barbie, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist Barbie and a doctor Barbie, just to name a few. Each Barbie also has her respective Ken, who simply is just Ken.
The adventure begins when our main character Barbie (Margot Robbie), often referred to as "Stereotypical Barbie," begins experiencing some problems: flat feet as opposed to her doll-shaped arched heel, cellulite and irrepressible thoughts of death.
Barbieland outcast "Weird Barbie" (Kate McKinnon) explains that these issues can only be solved if Barbie travels to the real world and finds the person who has been playing with her corresponding doll.
Reluctantly joined by her clingy Ken (Ryan Gosling), Barbie sets foot into this new reality, which, sadly for Barbie but exciting for Ken, is patriarchal and not quite like their homeland.
Barbie soon meets the mother-daughter duo of Gloria (America Ferrera) and Sasha (Ariana Greenblatt), who become two key characters and join Barbie for the remainder of the movie.
What then ensues is a journey of reclaiming Barbieland, each female character trying to grapple with the realities of womanhood and the discovery of oneself, including their purpose and desires.
"Barbie" is surprisingly deeper and more existential than what was initially expected by many, all the while still being fun, candy-colored and campy in nature.
Its performances certainly didn't disappoint. Robbie shines as the main character and gives both a heartfelt and comedic performance, showing she is the Barbie we all know and love.
Robbie, yet again, is present in another consistent and iconic acting role, making her pathway to movie star status as clear as the skies in Barbieland.
Gosling is absolutely hilarious as Ken, nailing every one-liner and delivering fitting facial and physical expressions in the smallest of moments, showcasing all of his pure "Kenergy." There are a multitude of moments where he shines, but a favorite amongst myself and others is his iconic 80s power ballad, "I'm Just Ken."
Ferrera gave an enjoyable performance as Gloria, whose defining moment in this film is her monologue about the tough realities and double standards women face. In fact, my movie theater even started clapping as soon as she finished, clearly moved by her passion.
The story wouldn't have worked without Ferrera and Greenblatt's characters, even if they didn't receive as much screen time as Barbie and Ken. They commanded the screen despite rather valid critiques of their characters being slightly underdeveloped.
Michael Cera, who plays Allan, proves how much he is born to embody the awkward but lovable guy. Allan is truly a delight, both funny and sweet, which is especially nice to see when compared to the antics of the other Kens and male characters.
Other standouts include McKinnon as Weird Barbie as well as Issa Rae as President Barbie.
Rhea Perlman makes a notable appearance as the spirit of Ruth Handler, the creator of Barbie. She's the catalyst for one of the most beautiful and emotional moments in the film, which features the song "What Was I Made For?" by Billie Eilish.
The sequence is incredibly touching, including a montage of home footage featuring real women who either worked on or knew someone from the film.
But "Barbie" is at its best when our eyes are met with its top-notch production design and cinematography, which is saying a lot since many aspects of the film are so strong.
From the moment we see Barbieland, we're met with even the smallest details that make for its otherworldly setting — especially the Barbie dreamhouses and the beach settings, which included plastic-like elements to perfect the "fake" doll look.
And this look can't be complete without the stunning and elaborate costumes by well-known designer Jacqueline Durran, bringing Barbie's fashion-icon status to the big screen.
"Barbie" is an unapologetically upbeat, girly and feminine piece. Even its soundtrack features notable women popstars in songs like "Dance the Night" by Dua Lipa, "Pink" by Lizzo and "Speed Drive" by Charli XCX.
Most of the movie's humor is derived from how meta it is, which certainly wouldn't have been possible without the excellent voiceover work of Helen Mirren.
Throughout the movie, there are pop culture references and homages to all types of Barbies that many fans will recognize, including jokes about the failed "Growing Up Skipper" and "Pregnant Midge" dolls. There is even a nod to "Video Girl Barbie," a doll I owned myself!
Despite the movie's generally positive reception, there have been many critiques claiming "Barbie" to be anti-men because of its satire of patriarchy and gender expectations.
I'd argue that "Barbie" is not anti-men but rather anti-patriarchy. A male-dominated society harms both the Barbies and Kens in Barbieland, and it affects their sense of identity and how they see others.
The movie has many feminist elements that I'm happy to see, but at times it plays them safe. The flick has been critiqued for being a bit basic with its feminism and I'd agree up to a point.
A strong aspect of "Barbie" is its critique of the notion that we live in a post-feminist world. All of the Barbies believe that the real world is perfect just because Barbies can do anything.
This is similar to how many think just because some women are successful and have some basic rights, that means progress is over — both in the story and in reality, is untrue.
The film's feminist message is by no means perfect, but it's a step in the right direction. To see a hugely mainstream movie even discuss the concept of patriarchy is something we need more of, whether the message is an introduction or a reminder to many.
"Barbie" is an enjoyable film that had me entertained from the moment it started until its humorous last line.
What I love is seeing all of the excitement surrounding the film that the whole world seemed to share. Movie theaters continue to be packed with "Barbiegoers" dressed in pink.
As someone who has been waiting to see this film for almost two years, I joined in on the fun and dawned on my pink Barbie shirt. I also admittedly have seen "Barbie" twice already.
The film, along with "Oppenheimer," its "evil twin sister," has become the ultimate blockbuster phenomenon of 2023 and has ignited a huge cultural impact.
What Gerwig's third directorial piece has done, similar to the toy itself, has brought people, specifically women, together to embrace their childhood selves and to remind them that they can choose their own destiny despite expectations as long as they have a "Ken-do" attitude.