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Top 5 Best & Worst James Bond Villains

It's James Bond month here at emagill.com. Last week we covered the Top 10 James Bond Theme Songs. Next week, we'll discuss the Top 5 Bond Girls and Henchmen, and then, with the release of Spectre on DVD and Blu-ray, we'll review every Bond movie, in order. This week, though, we're going to discuss bad guys.

A hero can only be great if he has an equally great villain to conquer. Bond has faced a wide array of villains, but only a handful of them are truly notable for their greatness. Still others are notable for being truly awful, so awful they drag Bond down with them. Here are the clearest examples of each:


THE WORST
5. Gustav Graves/Colonel Tan-Sun Moon
Die Another Day
Gustav Graves

I'll discuss the insanity of Die Another Day another day, but sufficed to say, Colonel Tan-Sun Moon, a.k.a. Gustav Graves, is actually not the worst thing about it. This is not to say he's a good character. After all, he's a spoiled North Korean colonel who nearly dies, somehow manages to escape North Korea and get an extreme makeover (evil villain edition) despite not having any money or political power. He then transforms himself into an uber-rich British extreme sports enthusiast and record-breaking fencing fanatic with a giant space laser and mech suit, earning worldwide fame and fortune in less than a year just so he can help North Korea invade South Korea in order to please his father, who believes him to be dead. If none of that makes any sense to you, that's because it doesn't make any sense to anyone.


Dr. No
THE BEST
5. Doctor Julius No
Dr. No

The first James Bond villain is the prototype against which all others are judged. He's a highly intelligent sociopath with an extreme body modification (in his case, robotic hands) who seeks world domination. Joseph Wiseman plays him as a cold and calculating baddie who is genuinely interested in convincing James Bond of the correctness of his plan, and that ultimately makes him one of the most memorable and interesting of Bond's foes.


THE WORST
4. Dominic Greene
Quantum of Solace
Dominic Greene

More a victim of the writer's strike and subsequently unfinished script that plagued Quantum of Solace than of any failure of the actor, Mathieu Amalric, Dominic Greene is easily the silliest villain of the Daniel Craig era. Written as a rich kid with a Napoleon complex who never properly grew up, Greene just never manages to be threatening or menacing in any meaningful way. Worse than that, though, is the fact that his evil plan involves controlling water, making him the evil Bond version of Aquafina.


Raoul Silva
THE BEST
4. Raoul Silva
Skyfall

Tiago Rodriguez was a brilliant MI6 agent who was allowed to be captured by the Chinese government, at which point he tried to kill himself with a cyanide capsule but wound up horrifically scarred and mentally deranged instead. Reborn as Raoul Silva, this is one of Bond's most genuinely terrifying villains, simply because he is so off-kilter, violent, and unpredictable. Granted, his plot to seek revenge on M doesn't make any sense when you try to understand it, but Javier Bardem's portrayal--basically an over-the-top and super-intelligent version of Anton Chigurh mixed with Heath Ledger's Joker--makes it easy to overlook that.


THE WORST
3. Elliot Carver
Tomorrow Never Dies
Elliot Carver

While some villains are gross charicatures played by actors who relish chewing the scenery and hamming up the most insane dialogue, Elliot Carver is just a straight-up cartoon. His motives are illogically inane; his plan is ludicrous and contingent on way too much; he kills his wife for stupid reasons; and Jonathan Pryce plays him as though he were deliberately trying to get fired from the role for overacting too much. Tomorrow Never Dies has its problems, but they could all have been overcome were it not for this dumb character.


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-e. magill 1/29/2016

MORE JAMES BOND MONTH COVERAGE:

Top 10 James Bond Theme Songs
Top 5 Bond Girls & Henchmen
The James Bond Reviews




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