Barbie vs Oppenheimer: Which Movie Got Better Reviews

Movies often create a buzz during the summer season, and this year is no exception. Two highly anticipated films, “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer,” have recently hit the screens, sparking a fierce debate among critics and audiences alike. In this article, we delve into the realm of movie reviews to analyze the reception of these films. Which half of “Barbenheimer” ended up on top? Let’s find out.

The summer movie season is known for its box office showdowns and critical discussions. This year, “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” have become the center of attention. With their unique premises and talented casts, both films have garnered significant interest. In this article, we explore the reviews of these movies to determine which one has resonated more with critics and audiences.

Average Review Scores

To gauge the overall reception of “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer,” we turn to the popular review aggregator, Rotten Tomatoes. According to Rotten Tomatoes, Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie,” featuring Margot Robbie as the iconic doll, has received a very fashionable positive score of 89 percent. On the other hand, Christopher Nolan’s historical drama “Oppenheimer,” starring Cillian Murphy, has proven to be slightly more explosive with a positive score of 92 percent.

While critical acclaim is important, box office performance is also a significant measure of a film’s success. In terms of anticipated earnings, “Barbie” is expected to bring in an impressive $90 to $110 million across its opening weekend. However, “Oppenheimer,” partly hindered by its three-hour running time, is projected to tally about $40 to $49 million. Despite the disparity, both films are expected to perform well at the box office.

Reviews for Barbie

Let’s take a closer look at the reviews that have surfaced for “Barbie.” The film, directed by Greta Gerwig, has garnered attention for its clever and witty approach to the iconic doll’s legacy.


Release: 2023-07-19Genre: ComedyDuration: 114 minsBudget: $ 145,000,000

Barbie and Ken are having the time of their lives in the colorful and seemingly perfect world of Barbie Land. However, when they get a chance to go to the real world, they soon discover the joys and perils of living among humans.

The Hollywood Reporter describes Gerwig’s “Barbie” as a delightful send-up of Barbie dolls and their complicated legacy. The reviewer praises Gerwig’s ability to infuse the film with richness and weirdness while maintaining her signature narrative precision. The film’s clever jokes, which poke fun at Mattel and explore the contradictions of our sexist society, elicit laughs and chuckles throughout. However, amidst the humor, an ominousness lingers, suggesting that the movie ultimately serves the Barbie brand rather than pushing boundaries.

The BBC hails “Barbie” not only as a genuinely funny and warm-hearted live-action comedy but also as an art-house passion project. The film is lauded for its boldness, inventiveness, and political charge, which could potentially lead to awards recognition. The reviewer even speculates about the possibility of “Barbie” being nominated for Best Picture at the 2024 Oscars, emphasizing its unique and boundary-pushing qualities.

NPR applauds “Barbie” for being a visually stunning and sensorially astounding film. The production design, helmed by Sarah Greenwood, is deemed exceptional, creating a feast for the eyes and ears. However, the reviewer notes that “Barbie” sits at an interesting inflection point in the film industry, where almost every idea is derived from pre-existing products. The movie exposes the tension between unabashed commercialism and heightened sensibilities, raising questions about the execution of its aims. Despite this tension, the film remains an interesting oddity that engages viewers and leaves a lasting impression.

L.A. Times praises Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie” as an exuberant and clever piece of filmmaking. The reviewer recognizes Gerwig’s ability to balance silliness and sophistication, creating a picture that simultaneously promotes and deconstructs its own brand. The film is described as a bubble-gum emulsion of humor and depth, engaging audiences in the endless debate surrounding Barbie’s cultural impact. Throughout its fast-paced runtime, “Barbie” vigorously argues both sides of the debate, captivating viewers with its witty dialogue and captivating visuals.

Vulture highlights the performances in “Barbie,” particularly Margot Robbie’s portrayal of the iconic doll. Robbie not only looks the part but also delivers heartfelt earnestness and humor effortlessly. The reviewer also commends Ryan Gosling’s portrayal of Ken, a floppy himbo whose physical comedy steals the show. However, Vulture notes that “Barbie” attempts to preemptively address potential critiques, resulting in an emotionally inert film despite its attempts at wackiness. The film’s compromised position within the boundaries of its brand hinders its ability to fully realize its subversive ideas.

Reviews for Oppenheimer

Now, let’s shift our focus to the reviews that have emerged for “Oppenheimer,” Christopher Nolan’s historical drama about the man behind the atomic bomb.


Release: 2023-07-19Genre: DramaDuration: 181 minsBudget: $ 100,000,000

The story of J. Robert Oppenheimer's role in the development of the atomic bomb during World War II.

The Hollywood Reporter considers “Oppenheimer” a brainy and brawny thriller that serves as both a character study and a sweeping account of history. The film delves into the life of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the brilliant scientist who led the Manhattan Project. While the film’s pace may be described as more slow-burn than explosive, it offers a scathing depiction of political gamesmanship, showcasing the vilification of Oppenheimer for his opinions that go against America’s arms-race thinking.

AV Club goes as far as proclaiming “Oppenheimer” a masterpiece and Christopher Nolan’s finest film to date. The reviewer describes it as a movie that burns itself into the viewer’s brain, leaving a lasting impact. The film’s narrative balance, combined with its mythic quality, elevates it to a new level of artistry. The story of a man commanding incomprehensibly destructive forces and subsequently collapsing under their weight is portrayed with remarkable skill and leaves an indelible impression.

Mashable recognizes the appeal of “Oppenheimer” to Nolan devotees, highlighting the ensemble cast’s chemistry, Ludwig Göransson’s immersive score, and the film’s challenge of moral questions. However, the reviewer acknowledges that anticipation for the film, coupled with the rivalry with “Barbie,” may have led to unrealistically high expectations. While the film is appreciated for its complex themes and dread-inducing atmosphere, the reviewer’s patience wears thin at times, particularly during the indulgent use of sound design.

The New York Times commends Nolan’s deft handling of the dense and eventful story of Oppenheimer. The reviewer notes the film’s complex structure, skillfully parceling out the narrative into revealing sections. Nolan avoids the pitfalls of self-aggrandizement, ensuring that the film places Oppenheimer’s story within a larger context. The black-and-white portions of the film serve to enhance this contextualization, further deepening the impact of the story.

The Daily Beast sees “Oppenheimer” as the fullest expression of Christopher Nolan’s artistry to date. The film is described as an epic of awe and horror, propelled by the march of progress and imagination. It explores the exhilaration of scientific discovery, the fear of inventing something beyond one’s control, and the consequences of paving a historic path that leads directly to Pandora’s Box. The reviewer highlights the richness of the saga, which offers an abundance of material to digest, savor, and contemplate.

Comparison and Analysis

After examining the reviews for both “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer,” it is evident that both films have garnered significant praise. “Barbie” stands out for its clever humor, exploration of societal contradictions, and unique approach to a cultural icon. Greta Gerwig’s direction and the film’s ability to simultaneously promote and deconstruct the Barbie brand receive high acclaim. On the other hand, “Oppenheimer” impresses with its character study, scathing political commentary, and mythic quality. Christopher Nolan’s direction and the film’s exploration of the consequences of scientific discovery leave a lasting impact on viewers.

While “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” differ greatly in their themes and approaches, both films have captivated audiences and critics in their own right. The diverse range of positive reviews for each movie showcases their individual strengths and appeals. Ultimately, the choice between the two films depends on personal preferences, whether one seeks a thought-provoking exploration of societal issues or a character-driven historical drama.


In conclusion, both “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” have received substantial critical acclaim. Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie” offers a clever and witty take on the iconic doll’s legacy, capturing the attention of reviewers with its humor, political charge, and exploration of societal contradictions. Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” delves into the character study of J. Robert Oppenheimer, presenting a thought-provoking historical drama that highlights political gamesmanship and the consequences of scientific advancements. Each film has its own strengths and appeals, leaving audiences with a choice that reflects their interests and preferences.