They say a story is only as good as its villain, and it can be a tough tightrope walk to craft a strong one. Among other things, these rogues have to pose a real and believable threat to the hero with an evil plan that, though most of the time they won't, can make them seem like they may actually win the day.
Such a plan can be the crux of just how strong an antagonist will be, something that will carve out a legacy for them regardless of whether they actually win or lose in the end. Even if they are ultimately defeated, that doesn't mean they can't have a genius diabolical scheme.
Sometimes the bad guy is undone by a hero just a little bit smarter than them, when they would have otherwise beaten about anyone else. Other times, they may have bought themselves a lifetime of freedom with a near-perfect plan before finally being taken down. Then there are the villains who were so smart they actually did emerge victorious, with a plan so foolproof they were free and clear when the credits rolled.
Regardless of whether they ultimately won or lost, these bad guys can be added to the list of genius plans from the last time WhatCulture took a look at this very subject with 10 Smartest Villain Plans In Movies a couple of years ago.
10. Richmond Valentine Manipulated Everyone - Kingsman: The Secret Service
Kingsman: The Secret Service is an off-the-wall, for lack of a better term batsh*t crazy movie that takes full advantage of eccentric and bombastic visuals and action sequences. As such, it needed an equally eccentric and bombastic villain, which it got in the form of Samuel L. Jackson's Richmond Valentine.
As a multi-billionaire with the ultimate goal of culling the world's population leaving only the elite and wealthy, Richmond utilised his resources immaculately well. Not only was his seemingly limitless pot of money put to good use, so were his reputation and his connections.
Valentine preyed on those he wanted to rid the world of by appealing to what they needed and wanted most, essentially unlimited data that wouldn't cost them a penny. This was master manipulation, and through his sim cards put the entire world within range of the signal he let off that set them all to slaughtering each other.
Jackson's character brought onto his side powerful people, including the President of the United States, Swedish royalty, and the head of Kingsman. Had it not been for the suspicion and sleight of hand of Eggsy (Taron Egerton), Arthur (Michael Caine) would have killed the one remaining threat to Valentine's scheme and it would have gone off without a hitch. Even with what remained of the Kingsmen ultimately bringing him down, this villain still managed to successfully set off the impulse that must have seen an immeasurable amount of people killed.