TRIGGER WARNING: This review discusses a scene which contains sexual assault.
Goldfinger is the ur-Bond movie. It is the Platonic ideal of Bond movies. Watching it with only a cursory knowledge of James Bond is to experience a series of “Oh, so that’s where that came from” moments. Sure, a lot of Bond’s lines, music, and tropes were first established in the previous two movies, but it’s in Goldfinger that it feels like it’s all finally come together to create the quintessential form of James Bond. This is the entry that feels like the creators are fully aware of who James Bond is and are comfortable enough with him as a character to start poking fun at him. There’s a classic villain with a classic henchman. For the first time, the movie’s theme song plays over the opening credits. Bond finally gets his classic car, an array of gadgets, and he gets to say both “Bond, James Bond,” and “Martini, shaken not stirred.” This is James Bond.
That said, being the ultimate Bond movie doesn’t mean it’s a perfect movie. Its narrative loses all momentum in the second half, Bond essentially becomes a supporting character in his own movie as he’s led from scene to scene by other characters who are actually influencing the plot, and Bond does something near the end that is so heinous and offensive that, in a film series notorious for its disgusting sexism, stands out as a particular black mark on the franchise.