Had the great pleasure of seeing this movie on the big screen for the first time (first time I’ve seen any of the Connery Bonds on the big screen actually) and it was really, really fun. Goldfinger is an interesting transitional film; I love both Dr. No & From Russia With Love and their serious spy-movie tone. But it’s with this movie that many of the Bond movie standbys begin to come into play: the gadgets, the over-the-top villains, the . . . well, occasional silliness. But there’s still some serious stuff going on and Bond is still human, not a superhero. But this all comes down to really the wonderful moments that just still hold up: the girl in gold, the golf game, the laser escape (not with a gadget or any physical tricks, but with a clever bluff), the Oddjob fight at Fort Knox, etc. There’s some stuff here that hasn’t aged well; the entire Pussy Galore plot, in which a lesbian essentially gets turned straight by some nice hetero loving from our hero is tasteless and silly and the fact that Bond essentially rapes her and also shoves another woman down with a hand to her face earlier in the movie . . . well, that’s more than just tasteless and silly. It’s reprehensible. But, well, another time and all that jazz; use it for a teachable moment, I say, and also as a way to explore how art that is deeply flawed can still be great. Because this really is great art, pure entertainment. That climax at Fort Knox just remains a real masterwork of action staging. Particularly everything inside the vault once Bond is handcuffed to that cart and Goldfinger locks Bond, Oddjob and Kisch inside the vault . . . it’s just action staging on a near perfect level. It may not be the fastest paced thing you’ve ever seen, but the staging is brilliant as is the decision to use no music for that entire final sequence, leaving the action scene “scored” by rattling, echoing footsteps and metallic clangs as the characters race around the space and struggle with each other. Anyway, this is the last of the great Connery Bonds; the other three are all pretty bad. But as a capper to two other great spy films, this isn’t a bad way to end a run. When Goldfinger starts, Bond is a cool secret agent; when it ends, he’s an iconic cultural hero. But he’s still human enough to be compelling here, something that wouldn’t happen again until On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Anyway, great movie. Highly recommended. 4 stars.
tl;dr – witty, energetic, entertaining film bridges the gap between Bond, the flawed human character, and Bond the iconic action star to near perfection; a ton of fun, from start to finish. 4 stars.