Now, we meet the main villain of the film: Raoul Silva, played by Javier Bardem. He’s sort of a Bond villain who’s of the more insane variety, less a cool customer like Le Chiffre, but hardly the pedantic Dominic Greene either. For various reasons, he’s been compared to Batman’s Joker, in particular the Heath Ledger version, but seems to have a more personal problem with M, rather than the Joker’s anarchist vision. He also views MI6 as outdated, a major theme in the Craig films. He’s also extremely computer savvy.
The personal vendetta with M has also been compared with “The World Is Not Enough”, but even then it wasn’t quite as personal-Elektra was more interested in personal greed, and Renard was pretty much her willing puppet. M’s capture was pretty much just collateral.
He reveals that M let Bond go on his mission without getting good test scores, trying to convince him that he was much of a pawn in “Mommy’s” games as he was (more on that a bit later)-but challenges Bond to a marksmanship challenge in the ruined village-with Severine and a shot glass at the target.
Bond of course is unwilling to shoot Solange, and appears to have the same shakiness from earlier. Silva finishes the job, killing her, unfortunately leaving Craig’s Bonds with another dead Bond girl (“Spectre” would sort of make up for this by having both Bond girls live).
But it’s merely a bluff, as Bond is easily able to then take out Silva’s men and capture Silva with the help of some timely MI6 helicopters he summoned using his radio moments before.
Back in London, we’re given Silva’s backstory-he was a former MI6 agent Tiago Rodriguez who had hacked the Chinese against orders, and was given over during the 1997 transition of power. We also learn that he took cyanide, but it didn’t work properly, leaving him disfigured-most of his teeth and part of his mandible are fake, and when he pops it out, revealing the damage, it’s a pretty chilling effect.
Q and Bond attempt to get into Silva’s laptop, but it includes a virus which unfortunately ‘hacks’ MI6, allowing Silva’s prison to be unlocked, at the precise time M is testifying to the ministry. Silva escapes, and apparently intended to be captured all along. This is one of the more far-fetched parts of the movie, and probably the one that draws the most comparisons to “Dark Knight”-another movie where the villain intended to be captured so he could mess up things from the inside. The following chase, in which Bond pursues Silva through London’s “underground” (subway) is very good, and has some nifty comic moments as Bond and Q try to capture Silva, and Bond ‘catches’ a train.
We then get what is probably one of Judi Dench’s finest moments in the series, as she testifies before the ministry (Led by Helen McCrory, who played Narcissa Malfoy in the Harry Potter films)
Chairman, Ministers, today I’ve repeatedly heard how irrelevant my department has become. “Why do we need agents, the 00 section? Isn’t it all rather quaint?” Well, I suppose I see a different world than you do and the truth is that what I see frightens me. I’m frightened because our enemies are no longer known to us. They do not exist on a map. They’re not nations, they’re individuals. And look around you. Who do you fear? Can you see a face, a uniform, a flag? No! Our world is not more transparent now, it’s more opaque! It’s in the shadows. That’s where we must do battle. So before you declare us irrelevant, ask yourselves, how safe do you feel? Just one more thing to say, my late husband was a great lover of poetry, and, em, I suppose some of it sunk in, despite my best intentions. And here today, I remember this, I think, from Tennyson: “We are not now that strength which in old days moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are. One equal temper of heroic hearts, made weak by time and fate, but strong in will. To strive, to seek, to find, and *not* to yield.”
Of course, this is interrupted by Silva, but Bond arrives in the nick of time. We see Mallory in action as well, giving Fiennes a bit of an action scene (Which he’ll also get in the next film, Spectre).
Using fire extinquishers as a cover, Bond is able to rescue M, and takes her to his Aston Martin DB5. It isn’t quite clear if this is the same car as seen at the Beach club in Casino Royale-a car he won from Le Chiffre’s man Dimitrios-but for some reason, despite being Bond’s personal car it posesses the “Goldfinger” gadgets-the ejector seat, machine gun headlights-despite this being a sort of alternate take on Bond. It’s mainly just nostalgia though I suppose, and like Dench’s M herself is sort of a continuity thing that’s best left ignored rather than obsessed over.
Bond’s plan is to get an advantage on Silva, having him come to them, but to be prepared. To that end, he heads ‘back in time’-to his old home, Skyfall in Scotland….