A movie trilogy about a temporally displaced British Ministry of Defence agent, Austin Powers, and his archnemesis, Dr. Evil, who is obsessed with taking over the world and whose plans Austin consistently foils.When Dr. Evil cryogenically freezes himself and launches into space, Austin (believing himself the only one capable of battling this menace) follows suit and awaits the day that Dr. Evil returns to Earth. As it turns out, both characters are woefully out of date: Austin is a walking punchline from the swinging sixties, while Dr. Evil finds his evil syndicate is completely overshadowed by Starbucks.The three films are parodies of the Spy Drama genre, particularly Harry Palmer and James Bond, to the point that two of the three movie titles are direct spoofs of James Bond movie titles. (Word Of God has also acknowledged Jason King as an influence, but they don't make such a big deal of it because modern audiences are more likely to have heard of James Bond.) Lampshade Hanging is everywhere, and forget Leaning on the Fourth Wall, Austin dances on top of it. The series consists of:
Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997)
Dr. Evil's vertically challenged clone Mini-Me, played by Verne Troyer.
Dr. Evil's henchmen: Number Two, Frau Farbissina, Random Task, Mustafa, and numerous Mooks (who are nonetheless mourned by their friends and relatives after being killed). Number Two was played by Robert Wagner, with Rob Lowe and Evan Farmer playing younger versions. Farbissina was played by Mindy Sterling. Random Task was played by Joe Son. Mustafa was played by Will Ferrell.
Lesser known henchwomen included Alotta Fagina, Ivana Humpalot, Robin Swallows (née Spitz). Played respectively by Fabiana Udenio, Kristen Johnston, and Gia Carides.
These movies provide examples of:
Above the Influence: In the first film, Austin, for all his womanising, turns down a kiss from Vanessa because she's drunk.
Clint Howard plays a flight controller in all movies, like he did in Apollo 13.
Affectionate Parody: The first is mostly, as mentioned below, a parody of James Bond knockoffs and sixties culture in general. This is mostly continued in the second one, with various bits of sci-fi thrown in with all the time travel abuse. The third movie parodies Blaxploitation movies and, well, the Austin Powers franchise itself.
An Aesop: The original film concluded with Dr. Evil taunting Austin over what he represents: vice, promiscuity, and disease. ("Face it: Freedom failed.") Austin counters that, granted, the hipsters were a bit naive, but the sixties weren't about drugs and sex; they were about rebelling against "uptight squares" like Dr. Evil himself. It's the only thing even bordering seriousness in the Austin Powers series:
Anachronism Stew: Elvis Costello performed in The Spy Who Shagged Me, but the scene in question took place in 1969, which meant he would've only been fifteen years old (and looked much older than that). This is played for laughs like everything else.
Same with Woody Harrelson showing up as well in 1969.
Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: When Number Two shows a map of the United States with miniature models of businesses he acquired in the first movie during Dr. Evil's time frozen, he concludes the list with a small factory that makes miniature models... of factories.
While snooping around Alotta Fagina's penthouse in the first movie, Austin discovers a folder with some of Virtucon's Evil Plans listed inside. In between "Human Organ Trafficking" and "Project Vulcan" is... "Carrot Top Movie".
Artistic License - Geology: A pretty minor example; Dr. Evil refers to the Earth's core as the "liquid hot magma core." The Earth's innermost core is a mass of iron and nickel, solidified by the intense pressure around it. Though Dr. Evil might be referring to the outer core, which is liquid.
Beleaguered Assistant: Number 2, who, to add to the indignity, was happily running Virtucom as a legitimate multi-billion dollar company before Dr. Evil was unfrozen.
Berserk Button: Apparently, despite having little care for Scott Evil for "not being evil enough", his father does not take it well whenever someone goes so far as to imply that Scott is some sort of freak, as evidenced by his behavior on the Jerry Springer show, where his reaction was apparently not faked.
Big Bad Duumvirate: Dr. Evil teams up with Goldmember in the third movie against Austin Powers.
Big "NO!": Two in International Man of Mystery. A guard while Austin is driving toward him with a steamroller (actually a "STOOOOOOOOOP"), and Austin himself before leaping to push the underground drill's abort button.
The steamroller bit goes into Overly Long Gag territory because the Mook stands there for a full 15 seconds shouting "STOOOOOP!" before the steamroller slowly crushes him.
And again in The Spy Who Shagged Me. When Dr. Evil hits the self-destruct button, then throws the bottle containing Austin's "mojo" into the air, Both Austins do this while they try to catch the jar.
British English: In Goldmember there's a scene where Nigel Powers is talking about his sexual exploits and Austin requests that they speak in "English" English in front of the Americans. The proceeding conversation has subtitles.
Goldmember has several, with his most prominent (for which he's also the Phrase Catcher) being "[lost his genitalia in] an unfortunate smelting accident".
Cartwright Curse: Played for laughs throughout the series in parody of James Bond's habit of hooking up with a new beautiful woman in each movie who disappears either no with little fanfare in the next. Vanessa is revealed to be a fembot to re-bachelor Austin at the beginning of the second movie with little recognition from the characters, and Felicity just disapppears.
Casting Gag: Harry Palmer himself, Michael Caine, appears in Goldmember as Nigel Powers.
Censored Title: The second movie was often advertised in Britain as "The Spy Who...", leaving out the last two words. In Britain, "shag" is a much dirtier word than it is in North America. Averted or inverted (depending on whether the new title is considered more offensive than the original) in Norway, however, where the title translated as The Spy Who Spermed Me.
Chekhov's Gun: The Swedish penis pump which belongs to no one in particular and certainly not Austin.
The Dragon: In the second movie, Mini-Me hilariously fills this role, giving Austin a hell of a beating before the climactic showdown with Dr. Evil. Keep in mind that Mini-Me, played by Vern Troyer, is less than three feet tall.
Even Evil Has Standards: The main reason why Number 2 attempted to betray Dr. Evil was because he was nearly ruining his business after he returned.
Similarly, and quite ironically, even Dr. Evil fitted into this trope. He has no qualms with taking over the world or just outright destroying it (at least until the ending of Austin Powers in Goldmember), but when he meets Goldmember, the eponymous villain of the third movie, even he was disturbed by him and his actions. "How about no, you freaky dutch bastard..." He'se also disturbed when Scott Evil lets his evil laugh gets away with him.
Evil Laugh: Spoofed massively. Often causes those trying to emulate Doctor Evil to fail hard.
Evil Plan: Each movie has one naturally, but of note is an earl scene in the first movie. There Dr.Evil lists in detail two possible evil plans only to have Number Two tell him they already happened. So he shrugs and says 'Let's do what we always do: hijack nuclear weapons and hold the world hostage'
The phallic-looking rocket in the second movie, inspiring an Overly Long Gag of bystanders reacting to it.
Genre Savvy: Scott Evil, who loves mocking his father's unoriginal plans in the first two movies. In the third, he just gives up altogether and pretends to support his father's plan (even though he's still making fun of it).
And later, Austin's father.
"Look at you. You haven't even got a name tag! You've got no chance. Why don't you just fall down?"
Girl of the Week: Every trope that applies to a Bond Girl applies to Austin's women.
Hand Signals: In The Spy Who Shagged Me, Felicity Shagwell uses them to tell her agents to interfere with Robin Spitz Swallows.
Hazmat Suit: The radiation suit Dr. Evil wears in International Man of Mystery as a parody of the one worn by the title character in Dr. No.
Hear Me the Money: During Austin Powers's final confrontation with Dr. Evil in the first film, in a deleted scene, Number 2 attempts to bribe Austin with $1 billion in a Fendi briefcase. When Austin grabs just one stack of $100 bills, he notes that the money is short of a billion, to which Number 2 mentions the Fendi briefcase being part of it. They continue to argue until Dr. Evil presses the button to eliminate Number 2. Austin could have told that the money is short of a billion by the simple fact that you can't fit ten million $100 bills in a single briefcase.
Heel Face Turn: In Goldmember—Mini-Me and Dr. Evil. Fat Bastard, as well. And maybe Frau and Number 2.
Help Mistaken For Attack: Austin returns to his hotel room to find Mini-Me grinning at him while holding up a letter opener. The audience knows that Mini-Me is here because he defected from Dr. Evil (the "help") and that he was just using the letter opener to open some mail, but Austin immediately reads it as an ambush (the "attack").
High Heel Face Turn: The second film's sexy evil foreigner with a highly suggestive name, Ivana Humpalot, was sent to kill Austin Powers but instead finds him so attractive that she ends up confessing to her agenda and just asks him to make love to her. Apparently she was so attracted to him that she made no move to kill him even after he lost his mojo in the middle of sex.
Implausible Deniability: Austin's increasingly desperate insistence that "Swedish-Made Penis Enlarger Pump" weren't his bag, baby, as the evidence continued to mount against him.
Impossible Shadow Puppets: Subverted. A mook believes he is seeing an impossible silhouette of a man with a small arm for a penis, who shakes hands with it and bites it before giving birth. It turns out to be Austin, Mini-Me, some tubing and an apple.
Improbable Aiming Skills: Towards the end of Shagged, Austin fires fewer shots from his handgun than the number of henchmen he hits.
Juggling Loaded Guns: Austin can be seen shaking his arms and blinking uncontrollably whenever he fires his gun. Mike Myers notes in the commentary that it was done only half-intentionally, as Mike himself had never fired a gun before.
Just in Time: Played for laughs in the first film. Austin has well over ten seconds to stop Dr. Evil's drill from reaching the Earth's core, but deliberately waits until there's just a second to spare, so that his Big "NO!" will look more dramatic.
Laugh with Me: Dr. Evil doesn't like to make an Evil Laugh by himself. Parodied in the last scene of the third movie where Scott laughs alone and desperately turns in every direction for someone to join in.
Gender-swapped in the second film, when Frau Farbissina admits she is Scott's mother.
Spoofed in the second with Dr. Evil and Austin.
Played straight in the third film, when it's revealed Austin and Dr. Evil are brothers.
Made of Iron: Robin Swallows, who survives a barrage of bullets, a rocket, and falling out of a tall building, all while mocking Austin while he uses her as a human shield.
Male Gaze: In IMoM, our first view of Vanessa Kensington via a slow pan up her entire body. Felicity Shagwell is introduced in a similar way.
Mama Bear: Don't try to harm Scott in front of Frau, both Mini Me and Doctor Evil found that out the hard way. Later it turns out she really is Scott's mom.
Marshmallow Hell: While scoping out Dr. Evil's headquarters, Austin is accidentally pulled down into Felicity's breasts.
Austin: Hello, mummy. Mummy, can I have some chocolates? I want some Mars bars! Don't smack my bottom, mummy...
Medium Awareness: Austin uses the subtitles to understand Japanese in the third movie. What makes it funny is that the white subtitles are sometimes placed in front of white items, resulting in the subtitles looking entirely lewd.
"Why don't I just-a speak in English?"
"Yes, that would be helpful! Then we wouldn't continue to misread your subtitles, making it seem that you're saying things that are dirty!" *cracks smile just before camera cuts away*
Ms. Fanservice: Alotta Fagina from the first movie is a pretty straight example. Her only real role (besides acting as a plot device to drive a temporary wedge between Austin and Vanessa) was to look hot.
MST3K Mantra: invoked Invoke and lampshaded, when Austin has some issues with temporal causality in The Spy Who Shagged Me, Basil Exposition tells him to just relax and try to enjoy it, then looks directly at the camera and tells the audience to do the same.
Naked People Are Funny: The opening credits of The Spy who Shagged Me play over a scene wherein Austin decides to celebrate his newfound singleness by taking a stroll through the hotel in the buff, his naughty parts concealed by various objects.
Never The Selves Shall Meet: Averted in The Spy Who Shagged Me, when Austin not only interacts with a ten-minute-younger version of himself, but the two of them apparently wind up engaging in a three-way with Felicity Shagwell.
"Technically it's not cheating, baby!"
Never Trust a Trailer: An early trailer for The Spy Who Shagged Me made it seem like Robin Swallows had a larger role then she actually did.
Japanese Man 2: "It looks like Godzilla, but due to international copyright laws, it's not."
Japanese Man 1: "STILL! WE SHOULD RUN LIKE IT IS GODZILLA!"
Japanese Man 2: "Though it isn't." *winks at camera*
No Fourth Wall: The third film. An obvious example is when Austin and Fat Bastard are fighting and Fat Bastard does "the ultimate wire-fighting maneuver", only for one of his wires to break.
Not to mention the numerous times when Austin looks directly at the camera when saying something. One example is during the Mr. Roboto scene. Austin, after misreading several subtitles for Mr. Roboto's dialogue, is pretty weirded out. Mr. Roboto says "Why don't I just speak English?" This leads to:
Austin: Yeah, why don't you? That way I wouldn't misread the subtitles making it seem like you are saying things which are dirty. [looks at camera]
Another camera look occurs when Austin is shot at on the ladder near the end and falls, pulling down Dr. Evil's pants to stop his fall. He says:
Austin: You know, Dr. Evil, I used to think you were crazy.
Let's just say that Dr. Evil did not react well at all to a Klansman calling Scott Evil a freak on Jerry Springer.
Nigel Powers is also this when he stops Austin from shooting his other son, Dr. Evil.
Perspective Reversal: In the first movie, Austin upsets Vanessa by sleeping with Alotta as part of the job; in the second movie, Felicity upsets Austin by sleeping with Fat Bastard as part of the job.
Pixellation: Used on a woman's bare breasts in the "Hard Knock Life" music video in Goldmember.
Playing with a Trope: Arguably one of the entire purposes of the series, as it parodies, spins, exaggerates, lampshades, and puts an odd twist on everything from random dance scenes to celebrity cameos to under-the-credits scenes.
Pretty Fly For A White Guy: Dr. Evil and Mini-Me performing a music video to the tune of It's A Hard Knock Life in Goldmember is all this.
Pretty in Mink: The models in the second movie, and Austin wearing a pimp coat in the third.
Prove I Am Not Bluffing: In The Spy Who Shagged Me, Dr Evil blows up the White House to demonstrate his giant moon based laser... except it was just footage from Independence Day. Dr Evil defends the actual laser effect would be very similar.
Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: "DO! YOU! WORK! FOR! NUMBER! TWO!??" (original release version, while the current releases use the clip of Austin shouting "Who... does... Number Two... work for?!")
Screens Are Cameras: Dr. Evil tends to do this a lot. He has typical villain ultimatums with various world leaders through closed circuit televisions, yet there are no cameras that would allow him to see anything.
According to the Word Of God, Austin Powers is a parody to all of the British James Bond-knockoffs in the United Kingdom in the late '60s and early '70s that Mike Myers used to enjoy, though there are plenty of James Bond references as well.
Star Wars is frequently referenced in the second film as well.
The trailer for The Spy Who Shagged Me deliberately misled moviegoers into thinking that it was a preview for the then-upcoming The Phantom Menace. Instead of Palpatine manning the Death Star, though, it's just a chair reveal of Dr. Evil. The following tagline echoes that of The Naked Gun:
"If you see only one movie this summer, see—! ...Star Wars.
The opening of the first movie, with Austin running in the street, followed by hundreds of screaming fans, is a direct reference to The Beatles.
Goldmember has an homage to Silver AgeSuperman and Lex Luthor going on, with Young Austin attending a spy "academy" with Number Two and an adolescent (and already-bald) Dr. Evil. When Austin wins the coveted International Man of Mystery award, Dr. Evil vows revenge.
Show Within a Show: Austinpussy, originally the intended title of the third film (a parody of Octopussy)), which they couldn't get past the censors. It was directed by Steven Spielberg and starred Tom Cruise as Austin, Gwyneth Paltrow as the Bond Girl, Kevin Spacey as Dr. Evil, Danny DeVito as Mini-me, and John Travolta as Goldmember.
Dr. Evil: Why must I be constantly surrounded by frickin' idiots?
Talking Is a Free Action: Generally used, but the second movie is the most blatant about it. Austin time-travels ten minutes back in time to just when Felicity's chamber was being flooded with poison gas... and pauses to have a chat with himself that lasts longer than it originally took the chamber to flood with gas. Time apparently just halts for this, and doesn't start up again until past-Austin shoots some mooks.
Talk to the Hand: Dr. Evil does this, much to the pop culture lacking president's confusion.
Not so much lacking in pop culture as Dr. Evil's using 90's-era pop culture lines... in 1969.
Unstoppable Rage: Dr. Evil, after a Klansmen called Scott Evil a "freak", ends up going ballistic: He ends up fighting even when being restrained by Steve Wilkos and the other members of security, and after seemingly calming down, he then rushes to attack him again (something that never happens on the Jerry Springer show). And then instigates a full-out brawl on the set. Eventually, he seems calmed down... until Jerry Springer tells security to get Dr. Evil out of the premises ("get this jerk out of here"), upon which his rage was reawakened, and starts fighting with the host, eventually managing to smash a globe in the ensuing stage riot.
Vocal Dissonance: Subverted in the Studio 69 scene, when Foxxy uses a man like a ventriloquist's dummy to speak to Austin covertly. At first glance, it seems like the guy is speaking with a sexy black woman's voice.
What Measure Is a Mook?: Mocked in deleted scenes from IMoM. We see the family of the dead guard that Austin smashes with the steamroller learning of his death; later, "John Smith", the guard who gets decapitated by the "ill-tempered mutated sea bass", is shown to have been a day away from marriage and was late for his bachelor party because he was working late. In both cases, the family / friends are fully aware that the mook is a henchman of Dr Evil and act like its just a normal job. The British and Australian cuts included these scenes.
Wire Fu: Parodied. Fat Bastard tries to use a Wire Fu attack on Austin in the third movie (to the point of visibly held up by wires and calling attention to the people in the background holding him up.) One of the wires breaks halfway through, though, and he's just left dangling in the air.
You Have Failed Me: Dr. Evil punishes his minions by dumping them through a trapdoor to be burned alive. When he tries it again in the '90s, the unfortunate Mook is left alive but "very badly burned" and is finally dispatched by another Mook with poor aim. His botched execution is Played for Laughs.
You Just Told Me: Subverted. Austin tricks Alotta Fagina into admitting her boss is into "big underground drills", but he knew already and did this to look suave.