My longer term memories of Austin Powers: Goldmember tell me that this was my least favourite of the Austin Powers trilogy for several reasons: I didn’t think the jokes were as original, I wasn’t all that fussed by Beyonce and I felt as if the films had started to become spoofs of themselves as well as parodies of James Bond and other spy films.
Watching it again recently though and I learnt it wasn’t actually as bad as I remember it being. I’m still not keen on the character of Johan van der Smut, but overall the film isn’t actually bad. Michael Caine has a great cameo as Nigel Powers and the development of the back story behind why Dr. Evil and Austin Powers are arch-enemies adds a bit of depth to their quarrels.
I was also really wrong about Beyonce; at the time it came out I was a bit tired of singers also being actors. I get it for musical films, but the likes of Madonna and J-Lo being used just to sell movies to audiences irritated me. Beyonce though is actually really good and owns the screen in a way only Beyonce could. She’s great, and I’m glad that I’ve proved myself wrong on that long standing opinion of her involvement in the film.
I’m not however wrong when it comes to the film being a spoof of itself. The opening scene, while really funny, shows that the films had begun to take themselves seriously by the time Goldmember came around. One of the best things about the films, especially International Man of Mystery is that it was at no point a serious film. Tom Cruise doing a Mission Impossible-esque stunt as Austin Powers in the serious film production happening within an Austin Powers film was just a tiny step too far.
I can understand why the likes of Michael Caine and Tom Cruise could be drawn to the production, both of them having histories in action films and neither being reluctant to poke fun at themselves (I mean Knight and Day was an entire film about Cruise poking fun at himself and his typecasting). But their involvement takes a little bit away from the genius of Mike Myer’s comedy, because their involvement shows that Myer’s work creating the spoof films was taken seriously by the industry and they wanted a part of it all.
The Austin Powers films aren’t meant to be taken seriously though, but I know I’m crossing the line in this review by looking at things too closely, so I’ll wrap it up. Goldmember is a great conclusion to the Austin Powers trilogy; while some of the old jokes are revisited it is a funny film.