Is it time for a new female 'main villain' in a Bond film ?

13

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  • DragonpolDragonpol https://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    Posts: 17,779
    I don't care what they say, Elektra is the main villain of TWINE. Renard is her lackey.

    Agreed @Thunderball.
  • edited August 2013 Posts: 3,494
    Well, Elektra was rather memorable but she was not as heavyweight a villain as what I am proposing. I think we are due for one. If not Bond 24 maybe Bond 25. Just a thought.

    I agree. People can argue all they want for Elektra being the lead villain but if she was that strong compared to Renard, it wouldn't be a point of discussion. Another reason I feel the TWINE script is poor and isn't all some crack it up to be. I also want to see a heavier female villain that leaves no doubt that she is the boss, one immune to Bond's charms (meaning she recognizes he is dangerous and thus not interested in having sex with him, but she doesn't have to be a lesbian either), ready to grind her minions into the dirt with her stiletto heel if they displease her. Pussy Galore was a great example of a strong female lead until she fell for Bond and then her character lost it's edge. This is what I'd like.
  • chrisisallchrisisall Brosnan Defender Of The Realm
    Posts: 17,687
    I don't care what they say, Elektra is the main villain of TWINE. Renard is her lackey.
    I agree. Renard started (before the movie) as the main villain when he captured Elektra, but in doing so he created a monster more twisted than himself. That's the uncomfortable part of the film- the victim becomes the villain, and not only can't Bond save her, he kills the monster. A lot edgier than we were prepared for back then (& now, apparently). Not nearly as clean as killing Carver.
  • DragonpolDragonpol https://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    Posts: 17,779
    Well, Elektra was rather memorable but she was not as heavyweight a villain as what I am proposing. I think we are due for one. If not Bond 24 maybe Bond 25. Just a thought.

    I agree. People can argue all they want for Elektra being the lead villain but if she was that strong compared to Renard, it wouldn't be a point of discussion. Another reason I feel the TWINE script is poor and isn't all some crack it up to be. I also want to see a heavier female villain that leaves no doubt that she is the boss, one immune to Bond's charms (meaning she recognizes he is dangerous and thus not interested in having sex with him, but she doesn't have to be a lesbian either), ready to grind her minions into the dirt with her stiletto heel if they displease her. Pussy Galore was a great example of a strong female lead until she fell for Bond and then her character lost it's edge. This is what I'd like.

    Be that as it may, Sir Henry, but I think part of the problem in TWINE was that Elektra was written as a damsel in distress that wanted to be independent of Bond and resented his protection of her to put both him and us (the audience) off the scent that she was the real villain of the piece and not the pawn in her plan, the dying Renard. It's all a bit like that Columbo episode that's really a whodunnit 'Last Salute to the Commodore' where we think that Charles Clay (Robert Vaughan) is the killer until he himself turns up dead past the midpoint of the episode. Here in TWINE it's a similar reversal of the Bondian film formula where Kristatos-like the girl is revealed to be the villain of the piece pulling the strings of both Bond and Renard who is overpowered by her so much that she taunts him as a dominatrix and he is willing to commit suicide for her to realise her dream of an oil pipeline monopoly in the Caucasus region. This is what really sets TWINE apart for me as a James Bond film - not only the fact that the girl Bond is sent to protect is really the villain of the piece, but also the fact that the man we thought filled the predetermined role of "the (male) James Bond villain" in TWINE was only her lackey and he was a much a victim of her feminine wiles and powers of persuasion as was Bond himself. So, TWINE is complex, to say the least. Maybe a bit before it's time too as it kind of shades into the Craig era. I know that there are many on here who would disagree with this view but I see connections between TWINE and the later CR. So that, rather longwindedly is what makes Elektra King different - she was not an MR-style "I'm the villain, Bond! Hello there!" that Hugo Drax was with his speech to Chang ("Look after Mr Bond, see that some harm comes to him") and so much screen-time was taken up with her being the innocent put-upon former-kidnapee and Big Bad Wolf Renard target that she is only very slowly revealed to be the villain and by that stage she has little screen-time left to make a truly villainous impact. It comes back to my Columbo point again - TWINE looks like a normal Bond film with Renard as the Big Bad until Elektra King herself is revealed as the villain of the piece, but sadly she does not have very much time to really shine as a villain. A new Bond film may have a female Bond villain and she would probably be allowed more screen-time as the actual villain. As it is, TWINE was something of a cop-out on the female lead villain front it could be said with Elektra King being little more than a female Kristatos or Koskov-type.
  • Posts: 14,816
    In TWINE Elektra was a bit of a let down because there was such build up about Renard: he was meant to be the Mozart of,terrorism, borderline invincible, completely fearless, he ends up just a gimmicky henchman. Neither him nor Elektra shine, both neutralizing each other. That's why I feel so insulted when I read Michael Apted saying Elektra is the first credible Bond villain. What ignorance and what arrogance! I'm all for a return of a villainess, but make her tough and ugly like Rosa Klebb.
  • Creasy47Creasy47 In Cuba with Natalya.Moderator
    Posts: 40,447
    @Ludovico, while I like the little twist that came with Elektra - and her inevitable fate - I usually don't enjoy when a film doesn't have a clear answer on who the main villain is. It keeps me back and forth, pondering who Bond should hate more or who he is really after. With Elektra, there was the "love" there, if you will, and he got revenge for betraying MI-6, her father, M, and everyone else while assisting Renard, while with Renard, he was the head of the operation of sorts, so Bond wanted to bring him down to stop his plan. I guess they both play a rather large part.
  • edited August 2013 Posts: 12,837
    Dragonpol wrote:
    I don't care what they say, Elektra is the main villain of TWINE. Renard is her lackey.

    Agreed @Thunderball.

    I agree too. Lots of people say Renard was a let down but I think that was sort of the point. This notorious invincible terrorist was ultimately just someone that the real villain had manipulated.

    Elektra is one of my favourite villains because she's someone you feel sorry for. An innocent woman who lost her mum and was let down by her dad, which leads to her becoming even more evil than the man who kidnapped her. And then you feel sorry for Bond too because he was forced to kill her when he wanted to help her.

    I think it's a really good idea because it means that unlike most Bond villains, we know why she's evil, because of the tragic backstory she had. Although giving Robert Carlyle a part like Renard is a bit of a waste of his talents.
  • DragonpolDragonpol https://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    edited August 2013 Posts: 17,779
    Dragonpol wrote:
    I don't care what they say, Elektra is the main villain of TWINE. Renard is her lackey.

    Agreed @Thunderball.

    I agree too. Lots of people say Renard was a let down but I think that was sort of the point. This notorious invincible terrorist was ultimately just someone that the real villain had manipulated.

    Elektra is one of my favourite villains because she's someone you feel sorry for. An innocent woman who lost her mum and was let down by her dad, which leads to her becoming even more evil than the man who kidnapped her. And then you feel sorry for Bond too because he was forced to kill her when he wanted to help her.

    I think it's a really good idea because it means that unlike most Bond villains, we know why she's evil, because of the tragic backstory she had. Although giving Robert Carlyle a part like Renard is a bit of a waste of his talents.

    Indeed. Again Columbo-like we see from the villain's own perspective what made them that way ultimately and we can see that it was Renard who "radicalised" Elektra King (in much the same way as a radical cleric might radicalise a student) as M left her alone with him.
  • DragonpolDragonpol https://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    edited August 2013 Posts: 17,779
    Creasy47 wrote:
    @Ludovico, while I like the little twist that came with Elektra - and her inevitable fate - I usually don't enjoy when a film doesn't have a clear answer on who the main villain is. It keeps me back and forth, pondering who Bond should hate more or who he is really after. With Elektra, there was the "love" there, if you will, and he got revenge for betraying MI-6, her father, M, and everyone else while assisting Renard, while with Renard, he was the head of the operation of sorts, so Bond wanted to bring him down to stop his plan. I guess they both play a rather large part.

    The same could surely be said of some of the Bond films of the 1980s, namely Enrico Columbo and Aris Kristatos in For Your Eyes Only (1981), Prince Kamal Khan and General Orlov in Octopussy (1983) and Brad Whitaker and General Georgi Koskov in The Living Daylights (1987). So Renard and Elektra King are just a n extension of this Bond villain double-act theme and in a way I suppose it's also more realistic than a sole supervillain like Goldfinger or Stromberg. That may even have been the intention.
  • Creasy47Creasy47 In Cuba with Natalya.Moderator
    Posts: 40,447
    @Dragonpol, I think I would've preferred it if we had a set main villain and either Renard/Elektra as the second baddie/main henchman. That's what I would like to see more of, bigger henchmen that you know are going to give Bond some trouble. No information or details have to be disclosed on them, aside from a name, just someone that's set up for us to hate and for Bond to enjoy destroying.
  • DragonpolDragonpol https://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    Posts: 17,779
    Creasy47 wrote:
    @Dragonpol, I think I would've preferred it if we had a set main villain and either Renard/Elektra as the second baddie/main henchman. That's what I would like to see more of, bigger henchmen that you know are going to give Bond some trouble. No information or details have to be disclosed on them, aside from a name, just someone that's set up for us to hate and for Bond to enjoy destroying.

    Yes, I'd like the Bond films in this current era to get back to that too. There has been something of a decline in the Bond henchman with every film of the Craig era I feel. Perhaps Bond 24 will deliver a redress to this imbalance now the Bondian personal issues have settled down somewhat.
  • Creasy47Creasy47 In Cuba with Natalya.Moderator
    Posts: 40,447
    @Dragonpol, that's how I feel, too. Three films in, Bond is back to something classic: flirt with MP, meet with M for the mission, Q for the gadgets, and then attack the classic mission with a memorable villain and henchmen, and some beautiful women.
  • Posts: 14,816
    Dragonpol wrote:
    I don't care what they say, Elektra is the main villain of TWINE. Renard is her lackey.

    Agreed @Thunderball.

    I agree too. Lots of people say Renard was a let down but I think that was sort of the point. This notorious invincible terrorist was ultimately just someone that the real villain had manipulated.

    Elektra is one of my favourite villains because she's someone you feel sorry for. An innocent woman who lost her mum and was let down by her dad, which leads to her becoming even more evil than the man who kidnapped her. And then you feel sorry for Bond too because he was forced to kill her when he wanted to help her.

    I think it's a really good idea because it means that unlike most Bond villains, we know why she's evil, because of the tragic backstory she had. Although giving Robert Carlyle a part like Renard is a bit of a waste of his talents.

    I didn't feel sorry for her. Elektra is a poor rich girl turned psycho. I don't mind, but I never felt the psycho part was done properly I think the Batman franchise did much better with basically the same character and plot twist. As for female villains, FRWL, both novel and movie versions, gave us a much stronger and threatening female villain.
  • Posts: 1,548
    Having a female villain takes away the physical threat to Bond (Yes I know Dominic Green was a bit of a wimp!)
  • Creasy47Creasy47 In Cuba with Natalya.Moderator
    Posts: 40,447
    LeChiffre wrote:
    Having a female villain takes away the physical threat to Bond (Yes I know Dominic Green was a bit of a wimp!)

    Going off of that, if we have a female villain who is all powerful solely based on her leadership, why not throw in a bunch of baddies and henchmen who can and will seriously put a beating to Bond? Craig brings the brutality to his films, let's give him someone worthy to fight, like Slate's surprise attack in QoS or the stairwell fight in CR with a skilled swordsman.
  • edited August 2013 Posts: 14,816
    LeChiffre wrote:
    Having a female villain takes away the physical threat to Bond (Yes I know Dominic Green was a bit of a wimp!)

    Not necessarily. Many Bond villains are poor physical challenges, they are still formidable adversary, because of their intelligence. Was Rosa Klebb any less of a formidable adversary because she was short and not much of a fighter. Yet when Bond goes into a fight against her, he was in a very tight spot. In the novel, he nearly died! It doesn't take much: one nasty woman with a sharp object covered with poison. In OHMSS, the mere presence of the ugly and obese Irma Bunt was enough to make her threatening.
    Creasy47 wrote:
    LeChiffre wrote:
    Having a female villain takes away the physical threat to Bond (Yes I know Dominic Green was a bit of a wimp!)

    Going off of that, if we have a female villain who is all powerful solely based on her leadership, why not throw in a bunch of baddies and henchmen who can and will seriously put a beating to Bond? Craig brings the brutality to his films, let's give him someone worthy to fight, like Slate's surprise attack in QoS or the stairwell fight in CR with a skilled swordsman.

    Exactly.
  • edited August 2013 Posts: 3,494
    Dragonpol wrote:
    Well, Elektra was rather memorable but she was not as heavyweight a villain as what I am proposing. I think we are due for one. If not Bond 24 maybe Bond 25. Just a thought.

    I agree. People can argue all they want for Elektra being the lead villain but if she was that strong compared to Renard, it wouldn't be a point of discussion. Another reason I feel the TWINE script is poor and isn't all some crack it up to be. I also want to see a heavier female villain that leaves no doubt that she is the boss, one immune to Bond's charms (meaning she recognizes he is dangerous and thus not interested in having sex with him, but she doesn't have to be a lesbian either), ready to grind her minions into the dirt with her stiletto heel if they displease her. Pussy Galore was a great example of a strong female lead until she fell for Bond and then her character lost it's edge. This is what I'd like.

    Be that as it may, Sir Henry, but I think part of the problem in TWINE was that Elektra was written as a damsel in distress that wanted to be independent of Bond and resented his protection of her to put both him and us (the audience) off the scent that she was the real villain of the piece and not the pawn in her plan, the dying Renard. It's all a bit like that Columbo episode that's really a whodunnit 'Last Salute to the Commodore' where we think that Charles Clay (Robert Vaughan) is the killer until he himself turns up dead past the midpoint of the episode. Here in TWINE it's a similar reversal of the Bondian film formula where Kristatos-like the girl is revealed to be the villain of the piece pulling the strings of both Bond and Renard who is overpowered by her so much that she taunts him as a dominatrix and he is willing to commit suicide for her to realise her dream of an oil pipeline monopoly in the Caucasus region. This is what really sets TWINE apart for me as a James Bond film - not only the fact that the girl Bond is sent to protect is really the villain of the piece, but also the fact that the man we thought filled the predetermined role of "the (male) James Bond villain" in TWINE was only her lackey and he was a much a victim of her feminine wiles and powers of persuasion as was Bond himself. So, TWINE is complex, to say the least. Maybe a bit before it's time too as it kind of shades into the Craig era. I know that there are many on here who would disagree with this view but I see connections between TWINE and the later CR. So that, rather longwindedly is what makes Elektra King different - she was not an MR-style "I'm the villain, Bond! Hello there!" that Hugo Drax was with his speech to Chang ("Look after Mr Bond, see that some harm comes to him") and so much screen-time was taken up with her being the innocent put-upon former-kidnapee and Big Bad Wolf Renard target that she is only very slowly revealed to be the villain and by that stage she has little screen-time left to make a truly villainous impact. It comes back to my Columbo point again - TWINE looks like a normal Bond film with Renard as the Big Bad until Elektra King herself is revealed as the villain of the piece, but sadly she does not have very much time to really shine as a villain. A new Bond film may have a female Bond villain and she would probably be allowed more screen-time as the actual villain. As it is, TWINE was something of a cop-out on the female lead villain front it could be said with Elektra King being little more than a female Kristatos or Koskov-type.

    All more than fair points for Elektra being the main villain. I really don't have a problem with this argument or with those who share your POV here as a decent enough case can be made for it. My problem is with the execution of the whole idea of her "turning" Renard into her "lackey" as it relates to "Stockholm Syndrome".

    Briefly by definition, Stockholm syndrome, or capture–bonding, is a psychological phenomenon in which hostages express empathy and sympathy and have positive feelings toward their captors, sometimes to the point of defending them. Although the term originates from the 1973 hostage siege of the Kreditbanken in Stockholm, the more notorious case of this occurring was when Patty Hearst was taken hostage by, and later joined the SLA in 1974. Now if we relate this to Elektra, this is like saying Hearst with all her money, suggested and ordered them to rob the two banks the SLA did.

    In TWINE, we are forced due to the haphazard understanding of the concept by P&W to accept that a seemingly normal yet spoiled rich girl quite similar to Hearst in background, did what Hearst could not and likely didn't try to do. According to my late wife's best friend, who is a doctor of psychology and has studied the phenomenon, the chances of this victim taking complete control of their captor are highly unlikely without some necessary and severe qualifying criteria introduced into the plot. And the way Elektra is introduced as an "innocent" with a solid and loving relationship with her father doesn't quite jibe with her professional opinion as far as the premise and base in actual history to defend the idea of her "snapping" to this extent and taking full charge. Renard is no more technically weak minded and capable of being manipulated against his basic nature anymore than Bond, he's just criminally insane and what he does isn't against his natural inclinations. Yet another reason it is hard to believe is because it's only what Bond surmises and not how it was written beforehand. Now of course, I realize this is Bond and this is fantasy and in that context "why not" as my friend the doctor relates as a reason to defend your assertion, but what is actually presented here is much more a classic type of partnership we see typical of Stockholm Syndrome. Why should we assume that she understands terrorism better than Renard and is capable of orchestrating the whole scheme without his input and know how about weapons capable of mass destruction and how to use them? In short, there's plenty of logic to defend this as a partnership and besides, he's dying anyway and doesn't probably care to argue, if not there is no reason otherwise for him to let her all of a sudden become the boss. As you say, and rightfully so, she is not given enough time to shine as the brains behind the operation and that is why people have some trouble accepting this opinion. Compare it to Russia, where the argument for Grant as the head bad guy falls apart because Klebb is clearly the brain with the field know-how, carrying out the directives as written by Kronsteen. and he is merely the brawn and henchman taking orders from her. This is much more a case of the woman being in charge and presented much better in the story. I hope this all makes sense, I realize I've gotten a bit deep with all of it.



  • edited August 2013 Posts: 14,816
    @SirHenryLeeChaChing-You sum it up pretty well. I think one of the cause of the problems with TWINE is a lack of understanding by Apted about the role of an antagonist in fiction, at least in Bond fiction: one can be a henchman and still a major, if not the main antagonist. Red Grant is a henchman, yet he can be perceived as the main antagonist in FRWL. I myself am not sure who I would qualify as "main villain" between Grant and Klebb, but this is one of the many strengths of FRWL. In a way, there are two main villains, both completing each other. You focus on them trailing, trapping and hunting Bond throughout the movie. In TWINE, Apted said that the henchman was Renard and thus Elektra the main villain. But you first focus on Renard and, as you said, he is the one with the qualifications to be a villain: he is the world's number one terrorist, he has the manpower, the skills, the experience, the expertise, the knowledge, etc. Elektra is, at best, a gifted amateur and an evil spoiled brat. Gifted amateurs and evil spoiled brats can make great villains, but I am not so sure they belong to Bond movies. And as she is bossing around a professional criminal, and the greatest living terrorist no less, she comes off as unbelievable, her relationship with Renard comes off as unconvincing and in the end Renard loses a lot of his menace and credibility. I love the build up of the Renard character, but once he is introduced, he slowly loses his strenght. He should have been written as equal partner with Elektra, and been considered by Apted more than a mere henchman. He deserved to be more. But hey, instead, Michael Apted says that he had the first credible female villain of the Bond franchise, because he decided to turn a plot twist into a character.

  • @Ludovico- I think I sum it up fooking perfectly well! :)) The last line you write though also just as perfectly sums up the crux of the best argument for Elektra as the main villain- because Apted said so.

    Now let's bring on a more defined female head villain without all the psychobabble.
  • well they kinda did From Russia with Love with Rosa Klebb being the main villain
  • DragonpolDragonpol https://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    Posts: 17,779
    I'd like to see another female main villain, certainly. I'm all for shaking things up and I am probably one of the few that thought it was fairly successful in TWINE with Elektra King. There, I said it.
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Das Boot Hill
    Posts: 45,489
    No thanks to female villains. Face it-the villains tend to be killed in Bond films, and seeing Bond as a ladykiller is disturbing. Say that all villains, big and small were female in a film (unthinkable,I know) and then have Brosnanbond machinegunning them down. Who would want to see that?
  • DragonpolDragonpol https://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    Posts: 17,779
    No thanks to female villains. Face it-the villains tend to be killed in Bond films, and seeing Bond as a ladykiller is disturbing. Say that all villains, big and small were female in a film (unthinkable,I know) and then have Brosnanbond machinegunning them down. Who would want to see that?

    Yes, I get your point. Brosnan was the Terminator Bond and he did kill Elektra King of course (and Xenia Onatopp).
  • doubleoegodoubleoego #LightWork
    Posts: 11,139
    No thanks to female villains. Face it-the villains tend to be killed in Bond films, and seeing Bond as a ladykiller is disturbing. Say that all villains, big and small were female in a film (unthinkable,I know) and then have Brosnanbond machinegunning them down. Who would want to see that?

    Ladykiller? Urgh, this world we live in so....soft. Look, evil and villainy come in all shapes, sizes, colours and genders. If a woman just so happens to be a villain and Bond kills her then so be it. There's nothing gentlemanly about letting a woman kill you just because she's of the fairer sex. Come to think of it, in all 3 Craig movies Bond only killed the main villain himself ONCE and that was in SF.
  • DragonpolDragonpol https://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    Posts: 17,779
    doubleoego wrote:
    No thanks to female villains. Face it-the villains tend to be killed in Bond films, and seeing Bond as a ladykiller is disturbing. Say that all villains, big and small were female in a film (unthinkable,I know) and then have Brosnanbond machinegunning them down. Who would want to see that?

    Ladykiller? Urgh, this world we live in so....soft. Look, evil and villainy come in all shapes, sizes, colours and genders. If a woman just so happens to be a villain and Bond kills her then so be it. There's nothing gentlemanly about letting a woman kill you just because she's of the fairer sex. Come to think of it, in all 3 Craig movies Bond only killed the main villain himself ONCE and that was in SF.

    Yes, the Craig era has thankfully mixed things up a bit in the villain deaths department. Long may that continue.
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Das Boot Hill
    Posts: 45,489
    Come to think of it, I would not mind if he had taken out Irma Bunt.
  • Posts: 19,339
    Irma Bunt is one of the only villains to get one over on Bond and get away with it.
  • DragonpolDragonpol https://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    Posts: 17,779
    barryt007 wrote:
    Irma Bunt is one of the only villains to get one over on Bond and get away with it.

    I think it was a grave mistake not to bring her back in the next film but Wikipedia explains why:

    "In her only English language role, Steppat played Blofeld's assistant and henchwoman Irma Bunt in the James Bond movie On Her Majesty's Secret Service. In the first English language conversation between Steppat and the movie's producer, Albert R. Broccoli, she confused the word verlobt (engaged) with engagiert (dedicated). Despite this, however, she was awarded the role of Irma Bunt. Steppat was unable to capitalise on her new fame outside of Germany, as she died of a heart attack only four days after the movie's international release. She was buried in the Waldfriedhof Dahlem in Berlin. Steppat was supposed to reprise her role as Irma Bunt in Diamonds Are Forever. However her character was withdrawn due to her death."
  • Posts: 19,339
    Yes i remember reading that,very sad.

    If Irma Bundt had returned in DAF it would have changed the whole dynamics of the film and they wouldn't have been able to ignore OHMSS and Tracy's death.
  • DragonpolDragonpol https://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    Posts: 17,779
    barryt007 wrote:
    Yes i remember reading that,very sad.

    If Irma Bundt had returned in DAF it would have changed the whole dynamics of the film and they wouldn't have been able to ignore OHMSS and Tracy's death.

    Indeed. I never knew until I read that that she was penciled in to return in DAF but I guess that that made much more sense.
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