The third (and for the time-being final) film in the Austin Powers franchise tries hard to give the characters depth for the first time but ultimately fails.
The ‘film-within-a-film’ opening of Goldmember provides a bright, original and comedic start to the movie, unfortunately it soon falls into a mire of poorly performed physical jokes and reusing tired lines from the previous two films.
It is however the sub-plot and ‘emotional core’ of the film that makes it suffer the most though. Whereas the first two films focused on outlandish events and ridiculous characters this film adds more meaningful element to with the introduction of Nigel Powers (Michael Caine) and a ‘father-son’ relationship.
Whilst Nigel Powers isn’t necessarily a bad character and is well performed by Caine as a token old-school British spy, he just feels increasingly out of place when surrounded by the other zany characters of the series. He is too much of a ‘Bond’ to be laughed at and not enough of a presence to allow the audience to relate to him.
Insistent use of flashbacks also hinder this film as we are shown Austin’s ‘Daddy’ issues through several unfunny moments from the past including a scene where Austin and Dr. Evil both attend some sort of Spy Academy together. The entire thing is forced and forgets to include jokes.
The flashbacks and sub-plot are all set up for a dramatic ‘twist’ ending which fails to make an impact in either a comedic or emotional way.
Whilst Goldmember is still a funny film it just goes too far in its attempt to be serious that it forgets where it came from.