Sunday, June 3, 2007

Take 10: The Most Genius Villains, part B

Here is the second part of our Genius Villains take 10. Here are the top ten genius villains! Who will be first...

Don Rafael Montero (The Mask of Zorro)
Straight up – this guy steals gold from Mexico, to buy California from Mexico. That’s ridiculous. It’s almost like Indian giving. Wait, maybe not. And, his revenge on Zorro is so intense – he steals his child and raises her as his own, literally stealing the guy’s life.

Auric Goldfinger (Goldfinger)
His Fort Knox plan is pretty smart and whenever he wants to make some small change he has a pretty good racket going with the cheating at rummy. And he has a big oriental dude with a deadly bowler hat do his bidding. Plus, those who betray him end up painted in gold. “Do you expect me to talk?: “No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die.” That Is pretty genius. Granted, the guy didn’t speak English and his lines were dubbed, but he’s still bad-ass.

Agent Smith (The Matrix: Reloaded)
Now this computer program becomes much more – coming back from the dead with much much more power. While he doesn’t exactly have much of a plan, his execution of it all – changing everyone to Agent Smith Clones. His dialogue – with Neo and Morpheus is pretty clever too.

Verbal Kint (The Usual Suspects)
The guy seamlessly passes between identities, embellishing a story that he builds on the fly, inspired by objects in the guy’s office. His very obvious personality traits, the limp and the voice are entirely acts that he sheds as soon as he’s out of sigh. Then you can throw in his expert puppeteering of Gabriel Byrne and the rest of the gang which is just to cover his ass. The only strike against him is that he chooses to go by the name of Kaiser Soze.

John Doe (Se7en)
Yes, Kevin Spacey has two characters in the top ten. This guy is a little bit smarter than the Kaiser because he is working with less resources and has to rely a lot more on the reactions of others. His brilliant flourish at the end requires the exact phrasing in a tricky situation to complete what he wants to complete.

Lex Luther (Superman: The Movie)
No, this does not count as a Kevin Spacey character. Granted, Kevin Spacey played a pretty good Lex (“WRONG!” – that’s his best line, not me mocking myself), this is about Gene Hackman. He created a character and Spacey didn’t really try to go in a different direction, he just tried to be Hackman. Anyways, Luther gets props because he’s supposed to be one of the smartest villains in the world.

Ernest Stavro Blofeld (Thunderball)
The concept of Blofeld alone is genius – an all powerful terrorist leader who’s face we don’t see who just sits in his chair petting his cat. And when we finally see his face, you know he’s a genius – and a killer. Anyway, the guy engineers the razor thin margin theft of nuclear weapons, and almost gets away with it. This guy would be unstoppable if we didn’t have James Bond.

Hannibal Lecter (Silence of the Lambs)
This was tough because Dr. Lecter was almost more genius in “Manhunter,” but here Anthony Hopkins runs away with this role (Best Actor Oscar with shortest screen time). Lecter says exactly what he wants to Clarise and begins to get more out of her then she gets out of him. No here’s a villain who’d like to sink his teeth into you.

Hal 9000 (2001: A Spacy Odyssey)
Yes, in terms of a genius, Hal has a distinct advantage because he is a computer from the future. But how Hal dispatches the rest of the crew and knows exactly what to watch for when he thinks they’re going to destroy him. And he is scary as hell. They should have bought a Mac.

The Emperor (Star Wars Episodes I-III)
Finally, the character who inspired this ‘Take 10’ series. The most genius of them all. And no whinning about how he was better in IV-VI (you would be wrong). In the first three, he gets Amidala to get rid of the current Chancellor and nominate him with a sympathetic cause (his home planet was invaded), but he was the one instigated that invasion! Then he gets Anakin assigned to Amidala, knowing that she would weaken him to his greatest fears (losing her) so that the emperor could prey on Anakin. Then, in the last movie it is just ridiculous, the emperor turns the Jedi who is supposed to be spying on him, against the Jedi and nurses Anakin’s fear of losing Amidala. Simply wow.

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