The Best Bond Villains From Otherwise Bad Bond Movies - VRGyani News and Media

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Sunday, October 3, 2021

The Best Bond Villains From Otherwise Bad Bond Movies

The 007 franchise is renowned for its rouge’s gallery, and each new entry is meticulously judged by fans on the merit of its “Bond villain.” The James Bond series has had its fair share of memorable villains, and many of the best appear within the stronger installments. Skyfall’s Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem), Goldfinger’s Auric Goldfinger (Gert Fröbe), Goldeneye’s Agent 006 (Sean Bean), and Casino Royale’s Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen) imbue classic films with fearsome antagonists.

However, Bond films vary drastically in quality, and it's impressive when a standout bad guy is able to save a film that's otherwise generic. Even if the clichés feel tired and the story is unengaging, a memorable Bond villain can provide engagement in a film that is otherwise lacking. These five great Bond nemeses managed to be the best aspects of low points within the series.

RELATED: Daniel Craig and Bond Producers Reflect on What Went Wrong With 'Quantum of Solace'

Emilio Largo - Thunderball

Sean Connery’s fourth adventure dips dramatically in quality after the excellent Dr. No, From Russia With Love, and Goldfinger. Despite a fantastic opening scene in which 007 escapes via jetpack, the film grinds to a halt when he’s assigned to undercover the location of two stolen NATO nuclear devices that are hidden underwater. Unfortunately, the deep sea action simply doesn’t hold up, but sea captain Emilio Largo (Adolfo Celi) adds an eccentric quality that compliments the aquatic nature of the story.

The number two SPECTRE agent was a natural progression for the series that wouldn’t introduce Donald Pleasance’s Ernst Stavro Blofeld until You Only Live Twice. Largo has actual authority, but his shifty personality is unique and doesn’t feel like less of a threat. Celi has a blast chewing the scenery as he proudly parades across his submarine deck and challenges Bond to card games (that he of course embarrassingly loses). He’s unabashedly silly, and even though the film’s neverending final battle strains the attention, Largo gets a fun over-the-top death when his flagship is obliterated.

Francisco Scaramanga - The Man With the Golden Gun

Roger Moore has some real clunkers, but at least Moonraker and Octopussy are enjoyably campy in their cartoonish nature. The Man With the Golden Gun was a rare case of Moore taking himself seriously, but his second film’s mystery isn't compelling at all, and Moore does basically no detective work. However, Christopher Lee saves the film with his performance as the lethal assassin Francisco Scaramanga. Lee always crushes it in villain roles, and despite the film’s sluggish quality, he’s one of the best bad guys in the whole series.

Scaramanga resides on his own island and meticulously crafts a funhouse lair to prepare for his showdown with Bond. While his goal is to collect the bounty on Bond’s head, he grows obsessed with the rival spy and spends the entire film preparing the ultimate challenge. Amidst the film’s slow momentum, Lee conveys an urgency that improves the pacing. The pistol gun duel is excellently handled by director Guy Hamilton and raises the film several notches over where it would have ranked otherwise.

Max Zorin - A View to a Kill

A View to a Kill is a live-action cartoon. While the self-aware lampooning should be fun, Moore was beyond too old for the part and not engaged at all. The tonal shift of seeing significant civilian casualties is uncomfortable, and the emphasis on violent action set pieces is awkward throughout. However, Christopher Walken completely understands how silly the film should be and commits the wildest possible performance. The eccentric Nazi inventor Max Zorin develops a ludicrous plot of destroying Silicon Valley with his massive laser blimp.

Zorin’s plan to disrupt the economy makes no sense, and throughout the film, Walken ejects employees from his blimp while spewing out one-liners like “Does anyone want to drop out?” His chief henchwoman May Day (Grace Jones) is the rare female antagonist who transcends the “Bond girl” label, and her strained relationship with Walken is actually interesting. Their romance develops naturally as May Day questions her boss before allying herself with Bond, and her redemption is the rare aspect of A View to a Kill that doesn’t feel cheap.

Elektra King - The World Is Not Enough

The World Is Not Enough is one of the weirdest Bond movies. Pierce Brosnan was clearly interested in exploring the darker aspects of Ian Fleming’s novels, but the film incorporates so much cringe-inducing comedy, including the infamously named nuclear physicist Dr. Christmas Jones (Denise Richards). Sophie Marceau’s Elektra King fits the more serious attributes and pushed Bond to embrace his remorseless tactics. An oil baron Bond is initially tasked with protecting, King has a secret romance with the world’s most wanted terrorist Victor "Renard" Zokas (Robert Carlyle).

The twist is genuinely shocking and the relationship between King and Zokas is fascinating; Vokas is cut off from feeling physical pain due to experimental high-tech mechanics, and King struggles to care for him. The World Is Not Enough was the first film to properly incorporate M (Judi Dench) within the action; King harbors vengeance against M for her family’s demise, and disguises the revenge mission within her public front.

Blofeld - Spectre

Spectre is a challenging film to reconsider. It made sense for the Daniel Craig Bond series to reintroduce the iconic villainous organization through the groundwork laid by QUANTUM, but the film suffers from the Star Trek Into Darkness syndrome of treating an obvious appearance by an iconic villain as a plot twist. Christoph Waltz’s casting as the SPECTRE’s syndicate leader Blofeld should have been a slam dunk, but he’s caught within an unnecessary backstory as Bond’s vengeful younger brother.

Despite the mismanaged reintroduction of the franchise’s most iconic villain, Waltz is pitch-perfect in the role. His shadowy first scene is downright chilling. Blofeld had grown increasingly over-the-top in his ‘80s depiction, and Waltz restored his menace. Even the misguided name reveal is compelling thanks to Waltz’s conviction.

KEEP READING: ‘No Time to Die’ Takes Its Time Giving Daniel Craig His Bond Sendoff | Review



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