Simu Liu Seemingly Shades Superhero Movie Critics While Hyping Up Barbie Trailer

Simu Liu in Barbie
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

The discussion revolving around the merits of superhero movies and their place within cinema has persisted for some time now. Certain directors like Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino as well as some pundits have shared less-than-favorable thoughts on comic book-related fare. A number of others, however, have come to their defense, including Marvel star Simu Liu. The up-and-coming actor, who made his feature film debut in 2021’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, is now a member of Greta Gerwig’s Barbie cast. And while hyping up the movie’s first trailer, he seemingly threw some shade at critics of superhero flicks. 

The Barbie trailer was simply a sight to behold, and that’s partially because it gave fans a quick glimpse at Simu Liu’s dance moves. After the release, the actor shared the footage in a Twitter post, which included a cheeky caption:

it's all just formulaic superhero movies nowadays🙃

Though the 33-year-old actor didn’t name any specific people, his message appears to be clear. Those faux sentiments line up with some comments that have been made by veterans within the industry. Many argue that Hollywood mostly cranks out movies and TV shows that feature costumed do-gooders in explosive situations. Yet the Kim’s Convenience alum apparently wants to make it clear that there’s still room for different types of cinematic works. 

Martin Scorsese has been very honest when it comes to his critiques of Marvel movies and other blockbuster productions. The celebrated filmmaker doesn’t see them as “cinema” and believes they’re more comparable with “theme parks.” Quentin Tarantino also made headlines recently when he opined that the actors of the Marvel Cinematic Universe are not “movie stars.” Tarantino also got honest about why he wouldn’t direct a film for either Marvel or DC.

Since then, Simu Liu has spoken out, as have others like Robert Downey Jr., who shouted out Top Gun: Maverick while sharing thoughts on IPs. Black Panther star Danai Gurira also acknowledged Martin Scorsese’s critiques. She stated that by working with director Ryan Coogler on the films, she and their colleagues have been “bringing our understanding of our culture, understanding of our humanity, of our gender, of the complexities therein of this world.” However, resurfaced comments from Anthony Mackie, who plays Sam Wilson, show that he understands Quentin Tarantino’s assertion. One would think that Liu would agree with his colleagues and likely also feels just as passionate about Greta Gerwig’s latest.

Barbie, which places Margot Robbie in the role of the icon doll, is already shaping up to be one of the most intriguing 2023 new movie releases. Plot details have mostly been kept under wraps, though the teaser trailer alone indicates that audiences are in for quite a ride. Greta Gerwig admitted to thinking the film could be a “career-ender” for her, but she was ultimately up for the challenge. 

If the Oscar-nominated filmmaker’s resume is any indication, the movie could become an instant classic. I also have no doubt that Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling, Simu Liu and the rest of the cast will nail their roles. We’ll see how the film performs and whether it helps to back up Simu Liu’s comments about the state of cinema. 

Barbie is set to open in theaters on July 21, 2023.

Erik Swann
Senior Content Producer

Erik Swann is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He began working with the publication in 2020 when he was hired as Weekend Editor. Today, he continues to write, edit and handle social media responsibilities over the weekend. On weekdays, he also writes TV and movie-related news and helps out with editing and social media as needed. He graduated from the University of Maryland, where he received a degree in Broadcast Journalism. After shifting into multi-platform journalism, he started working as a freelance writer and editor before joining CB. Covers superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. He eats more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.