Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Skyfall (2012) | Villains

Raoul Silva has some henchmen, but they're not memorable or important. He's all the villain Skyfall needs. Other movies have given us anti-Bonds before, but one cool thing about Bond's changing with the times is that his evil opposites change too. As Bond grows more complicated, so do they. Roger Moore's cartoonish Bond got Scaramanga, who was nothing more than another womanizing assassin. Since Brosnan's Bond was commenting on and questioning his role in the world, Alec Trevelyan provided a voice for that, challenging Bond with tough, thoughtful questions. The major focus of Daniel Craig's Bond has been his relationship with M and his trust issues in general, so Silva shows us what happens if that gets out of control. Silva is the proto-Bond, at least of Craig's version. He got too close to M and it drove him mad.

M tells Bond that Silva's sin was "operating beyond his brief." That doesn't sound too serious, especially considering all the times that Bond's done that himself. Silva's only crime was hacking the Chinese government without orders, and for that M gave him up to them in order to retrieve some other agents and ease the transition of power from Britain back to China. It seems totally harsh for his crime, but that's the point. Silva's obviously unhinged, but that's the result of his being betrayed by M, not the cause of it.

Javier Bardem does great things with Silva. He's crazy, but Bardem isn't just playing him as a generic madman. There's a reason for Silva's insanity and Bardem lets that shape the choices he makes playing the character. He's unpredictable, interesting, entertaining, and constantly goes right to the top without ever going over it.

The only thing I don't like about him is his escape plan. It's just not believable, because Silva's accounted for too many random variables that he could neither control nor predict. There's no way he could know the exact time that Q would plug in Silva's laptop, for example, which starts the perfectly timed chain reaction.

Not that any of it matters anyway. The whole point of the elaborate escape is to put Silva in the courtroom with M, which he could've orchestrated in countless other and much simpler ways. The escape is just a way for the movie to show off a big, but sadly unnecessary set piece.

Top Ten Villains

1. Auric Goldfinger (Goldfinger)
2. Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Never Say Never Again)
3. Ernst Stavro Blofeld (From Russia With Love and Thunderball)
4. Ernst Stavro Blofeld (On Her Majesty's Secret Service)
5. Maximilian Largo (Never Say Never Again)
6. Francisco Scaramanga (The Man with the Golden Gun)
7. Dr. Kananga (Live and Let Die)
8. Le Chiffre (Casino Royale)
9. Raoul Silva (Skyfall)
10. Doctor No (Dr. No)

Top Ten Henchmen

1. Baron Samedi (Live and Let Die)
2. Fiona Volpe (Thunderball)
3. Grant (From Russia with Love)
4. Nick Nack (The Man with the Golden Gun)
5. Zao (Die Another Day)
6. Gobinda (Octopussy)
7. May Day (A View to a Kill)
8. Jaws (The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker)
9. Naomi (The Spy Who Loved Me)
10. Oddjob (Goldfinger)

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