->'''[[BigBad Dr. Evil]]:''' Scott, I want you to meet daddy's [[ArchEnemy nemesis]], Film/AustinPowers.\\
'''[[OnlySaneMan Scott]]:''' What? [[NoMrBondIExpectYouToDine Are you feeding him]]? [[WhyDontYouJustShootHim Why don't you just kill him]]?\\
'''[[BigBad Dr. Evil]]:''' I have an even better idea: I'm going to place him in an easily escapable situation involving an overly elaborate and exotic death.
-->-- ''Film/AustinPowersInternationalManOfMystery''

Bond Villain Stupidity is a form of GenreBlindness commonly exhibited by villains. It occurs when a villain fails to kill the hero when he has him cornered, incapacitated, or otherwise defenseless, thus giving the hero a chance to escape and later come back to defeat the villain. It is so named because it occurs frequently in ''Film/JamesBond'' movies. A common form of Bond Villain Stupidity is to place the hero in an elaborate DeathTrap from which he can escape (slow dipping mechanisms over [[SharkPool pits of sharks, alligators, or lava]] are perennial favorites). If you ever asked why the villains [[StatingTheSimpleSolution don't just shoot him]] then use their pets/lava to dispose of the body, then congratulations, you are smarter than the average megalomaniac. Also common is the inability to resist a JustBetweenYouAndMe moment before putting the hero in said death trap. Several variants of this one made the EvilOverlordList.

Often includes {{Monologuing}}, accompanied by stock quotes such as:\\
"YouHaveNoChanceToSurvive! I ''don't'' think we'll meet again... Goodbye!"

If they actually expect the hero to die before their eyes, it's PrepareToDie.

Objective logic aside, [[DeathIsDramatic "mundane" kills do indeed seem to annoy audiences]]; see DroppedABridgeOnHim.

This is so common that the HypercompetentSidekick [[LampshadeHanging pointing out the inherent flaws]] in this trope and suggesting a more pragmatic solution has become a trope on its own: StatingTheSimpleSolution. For more generalized villainous incompetence, see VillainBall. For those villains that avert this trope, see DangerouslyGenreSavvy.

Note that there are several legitimate reasons why the villain may opt to let the hero walk away:
* The villain [[WeCanRuleTogether wants the hero to join his side]] and would prefer not to kill him.
* The villain may just be looking [[BloodKnight for a good fight]] and considers the hero a WorthyOpponent, opting to keep him around for [[INeedYouStronger future entertainment.]] In some cases, the [[AndThenWhat success of the scheme]] is actually a secondary goal to [[ForTheLulz the fun of actually carrying it out.]]
* The villain considers killing the hero secondary to breaking his spirit via a BreakingLecture, ForcedToWatch, etc.
** Or perhaps the villain just can't bear the idea of killing the hero without flaunting his victory in the hero's face first, especially when ItsPersonal, such as GreenEyedMonster or RivalTurnedEvil.
* The villain is [[NiceJobBreakingItHero secretly manipulating the heroes]] into [[UnWittingPawn doing his bidding for him]]; perhaps he wants them to escape so that he can track them to their secret hideout, but it will only work if they think they've escaped on their own.
* The villain, which evil according to his own stature, [[EvenEvilHasStandards is not evil enough to engage in cold-blooded murder]].
* The villain wants/needs the hero to go though a process that will benefit him and kill the hero. If the hero is killed some other way, then that benefit is lost. The villain may not even care at all about the hero, but about said benefit. For example, what a vampire really wants is the blood of his victims; he won't get anything if he vaporizes people with some futuristic giant laser gun.

Creator/RogerEbert called this the "Fallacy of the Talking Killer" in his [[EbertsGlossaryOfMovieTerms Glossary of Movie Terms]].

Subtrope of WhyDontYouJustShootHim


[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* ''Anime/DragonBallZ'' has many examples of this:
** Freeza shows that he completely outclasses Goku and the rest of the heroes while only fighting at 50% power and that he could kill all of them in an instant, and yet he toys with them and lets the fight drag on... until Goku transforms, that is.
** During the Cell Saga, Vegeta, after having training for a year in the [[YearInsideHourOutside Room of Spirit and Time]], becomes an [[http://dragonball.wikia.com/wiki/Ascended_Super_Saiyan Ascended Super Saiyan,]] and much, much stronger than his opponent, Semi-Perfect Cell. Rather than finish him here, Vegeta lets Cell absorb Android 18 and upgrade to his Perfect form, lusting for a greater fight. Cue Perfect Cell completely [[CurbStompBattle Curb-Stomping]] Vegeta, and later Trunks. While Vegeta is on the good guys' side at this time, the effect is the same.
** Cell himself makes the exact same mistake. After ascending to his Perfect form, and defeating Piccolo, Vegeta, Trunks, and Android 16 in the process, he becomes the most powerful being on earth. Rather than kill everyone he opts to give the Z-Fighters 10 days to prepare for a tournament.
** Those were probably the [[LegoGenetics Vegeta cells]] inside him, as Vegeta himself does this a few times as well, as mentioned above.
** ''Insanely'' [[InvertedTrope Inverted]] with [[OmnicidalManiac Majin Buu.]] He has the Z-Fighters cornered, but Piccolo makes [[ShootTheDog a sick choice that will buy them more time]]- suggesting to Buu that it would be more fun to kill the rest of the humans on Earth in the meantime (knowing that they can reverse the damage with the Dragonballs if they can power up enough to survive the fight), [[WhatTheHellHero prompting horrified reactions all around]]. Buu [[NiceJobBreakingItHero simply kills the remaining survivors with one attack]], then proceeds to thin the numbers of the Z-Fighters and [[EndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt blow up the world.]] '''[[EpicFail EPIC FAIL!]]'''
** ''Franchise/DragonBall'' in General inverts this trope almost as much as it plays it straight. The Heroes are just as prone to holding back in their fights or letting the villains go, just to result in them coming back stronger later. The worst offender is probably Gohan, who has a problem with holding back too much during his fights and giving the villains too many openings.
*** [[AvertedTrope Averted]] with Future Trunks. After improving by going back in time he is much more powerfull when he faces Android 17 and 18 and Imperfect Cell. He wastes no time [[CurbStompBattle Curb-Stomping]] them, making sure that they are gone. Makes sense, since he grew up in misery, watching all of his loved ones die and saw his world destroyed by the Androids. He just wants them finished as soon as possible.
* After knocking about most of the cast with ease, the BigBad of ''[[VisualNovel/{{Tsukihime}} Shingetsutan Tsukihime]]'' inexplicably declares "WeWillMeetAgain" and [[VillainExitStageLeft falls backwards]] off a bridge while [[EvilLaugh laughing madly]]. This isn't the only instance, but it is by far the most entertaining.
** The BigBad does this during the game as well. He goes off on a long winded display and speech that not only allows the hero to think but also [[BerserkMode pisses him off]] which allows him to retaliate.
** Justified in the game version, where the BigBad believed he and the hero were equals and as such felt perfectly justified [[ExpositionBreak in explaining to the hero many important background details.]]
* Done quite deliberately by Jeremiah Gottwald in the GrandFinale of ''CodeGeass'', when he [[spoiler:calls off Lelouch's Knightmare Royal Guard and duels the attacking Zero/Suzaku by himself, so as to allow Suzaku to convincingly kill Lelouch for world peace.]]
** In episode 4, Jeremiah does this NOT on purpose when[[spoiler:Clovis' personal car--hijacked by Zero and company--make their way towards Suzaku's execution. When asked by his subordinates in security if they should blow up the car, Jeremiah replies "No! I shall take them myself!" If it hadn't been for Jeremiah's arrogance, the whole show would've ended right then and there.]]
** Lelouch himself does this several times, such as when he [[spoiler:taunts Euphemia during the hostage situation about his hatred of the royal family (planting the seeds in her mind that Zero might be Lelouch). He also reveals to Suzaku that he knows Suzaku's deepest secret--that Suzaku killed his own father--in order to appear omniscient. Not only does this fail to recruit him,but Suzaku begins to suspect Zero's identity as Lelouch is one of the few who knows Suzaku is a patricide.]]
* Subverted in the 5th ''Literature/KaraNoKyoukai'' movie. [[BigBad Araya]] mercilessly [[spoiler:''destroys'' Tohko but keeps her head alive on purpose - she's created multiple exact duplicates of her own body and linked them to herself, so whenever she is "killed" her consciousness transfers to the next body]], making her ''depend'' on this trope. When [[TheDragon Alba]] fulfills the trope and [[spoiler:crushes her head]], she comes back ''with a vengeance([[EldritchAbomination -in-a-box]])''.
* After [[CurbStompBattle stomping]] [[MahouSenseiNegima Negi]] and his team, Fate decides they aren't completely worthless because they ''barely'' pulled off [[strike:a recovery]] not dying of the wounds he inflicted. Instead of, you know, killing them in the face like he's clearly capable of, he says 'Okay I'm bored just gonna blow the gate up now. By the way, you suck Negi. Go level grind moar. Later' [[spoiler:May be justified in that he intended to use Negi and seems oddly reluctant to actually kill people. Also definitely planning on using Asuna for something, but we don't know what yet.]]
** It eventually turns out that [[spoiler: he's capable of [[RealityWarper changing the reality of the magic world on a whim]], so his belief that they pose him no threat is at least partially justified.]]
* In the ''LightNovel/{{Kampfer}}'' anime, [[spoiler:Kaede]] had one of the good guys under her control, and used her to defeat the other blue and red Kampfers. But instead of just killing them like she said she would do, she tied them up with a chain, [[JustBetweenYouAndMe gloated at Shizuku,]] and tried to use the mind-controlled ally to kill them instead. However, not only did said victim break free of the mind control, but the heroes got HeroicResolve so strong they broke free and [[CurbStompBattle went to town on the enemy.]]
* At one point in ''SonicTheHedgehogTheMovie'', Tails is using a bit of AppliedPhlebotinum, about the size of a wrist watch, to mess with Metal Sonic's programming. From off-screen, Dr. Robotnik whips out a laser gun and shoots the machine right off Tails' wrist, then he orders Metal Sonic to kill Sonic and Tails. FridgeLogic dictates that Robotnik could have just as easily saved a step by shooting Tails in the head.
** An explanation was given by the HellfireCommentaries commentary of the movie:
--->FTA: Why doesn't he just put a bullet through Tails' head?
--->[=NTom64=]: Because it's a family film.
* In ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist'', [[spoiler:Lust stabs Mustang and Havoc and leaves them to bleed to death on the floor and doesn't actually watch them die. Cue her surprise when Mustang comes back to kill her, having cauterized his own wound with fire.]]
* Quite prominent in ''Manga/{{Naruto}}''; every time a villain has the hero in the bag, they invariably will stop to gloat, allow said hero to get back up to make the fight more fun, or just decide to be idiots instead of killing them right then and there.
** Notably when Orochimaru had the Third cornered with a kunai and instead of just SLICING HIS HEAD OFF like any smart person decided to [[spoiler: do a huge elaborate drama in which he summoned the Third Hokage's own teachers to kill him, resulting in Orochimaru losing the use of his arms.]]
** Sadistically [[SubvertedTrope Subverted]] by Hidan: he savors killing so much, he toys with poor [[spoiler:Asuma]] to the very end, who really does get KilledOffForReal- and then DoubleSubverted when Shikamaru plots a masterful revenge, [[AndIMustScream blowing him to pieces and burying him alive.]]
** Unbelievably [[SubvertedTrope Subverted]] with the power of Edo Tensei - everyone under its control is ''already dead.'' As such, a MagnificentBastard may pull any form of KickTheDog they want without fear of getting killed by retaliation. However, they can still have their souls sealed away or put to rest. Absolute villains like Deidara, Kakuzu and [[spoiler: Madara Uchiha]] push it to extremes, while others, like Sasori, [[spoiler: Gaara's father]], Nagato and Itachi use it as means to apologize or atone. [[spoiler: Itachi]] even has his free will back!
* At one point in ''Manga/{{Saki}}'', [[OpposingSportsTeam Amae Koromo]], who has been dominating the game since she appeared, has the opportunity to give one of her opponents a negative score, thus instantly ending the game and winning the tournament for her team. However, instead of doing this, she quite deliberately makes a lower-scoring move which reduces said opponent's score to exactly zero instead (according to [[HouseRules the rules of this particular tournament]], someone with a score of zero has a chance to come back) just because she wants to psychologically manipulate everyone and prevent the other players from making a certain type of high-scoring move. Sure enough, this buys our hero just enough time to come up with a way to win.
* In the second ''Manga/BlackJack'' {{OAV}}, when the title character stumbles upon an international drug ring working with a local hospital administrator in the course of treating a coma patient, instead of just shooting him, the gangsters drug Black Jack and leave him to die in a burning peyote grow op.
* ''Anime/SailorMoon'' has Queen Beryl put Jedite in Eternal Sleep just as he's about to reveal who the Sailor Senshi really were. Had she not been so impatient to kill Jedite for his latest failure, the Sailor Senshi would've been goners for sure.
* In ''LightNovel/HaruhiSuzumiya'', [[spoiler:Ryoko Asakura]] tries to kill Kyon with a knife, giving him a chance to dodge. When that doesn't work, she freezes him in place, and it is later implied that she could have just outright deleted him from existence. She's a malfunctioning alien bio-robot, so it makes sense.
* The Dark Signers from ''Anime/YuGiOh5Ds'' weren't known for being smart, but the biggest example of stupidity on their part was when Yusei's duel with Kiryu left the hero battered, wounded, close to death, and with a fear of the villain that would take ''several'' episodes to recover from. Why didn't Kiryu finish him off when he had the chance? He claimed it "wasn't the right time." (Kiryu was almost the living definition of AxeCrazy at the time, so at least he had ''that'' as an excuse.)
* ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'':
** Luppi thinks he's taken down Hitsugaya in one strike and doesn't follow through. Lampshaded by Hitsugaya when he points out that all it did was give him all the time in the world to set up an attack that could curb-stomp Luppi. Luppi was also mocked by his peers upon returning to Hueco Mundo for having been defeated so completely.
** Barragan suffers from this at the end of his fight, despite being untouchable to his opponents. [[spoiler: Hacchi realises that if Barragan's power is as dangerous as Barragan claims, then Barragan himself would be vulnerable to it. He uses kidou to expose Barragan to his own power and, sure enough, Barragan quickly dies.]]
** Aizen, who is usually very savvy, manages to get two of his own.
*** He's so focused on defeating the power of the strongest offensive zanpakutou in Soul Society history that he fails to think of what will happen when it's removed from the picture. [[spoiler: He takes out Yamamoto's zanpakutou very quickly, but Yamamoto points out that shinigami aren't helpless without their zanpakutou and proceeds to prove it. Aizen fails to achieve his objective of killing Yamamoto and admits he underestimated the old man.]]
*** Aizen sets up an elaborate method of ensuring Ichigo can train for a power upgrade before they fight. [[spoiler: He was hoping Ichigo would achieve a level of power strong enough for Aizen to reach a new level of power. Unfortunately for Aizen, he completely underestimated Ichigo's growth potential and ended up being curbstomped.]]
* During the final battle in ''Anime/PlasticLittle'', the main villain has Tita by the neck and is counting down until he breaks it, when Tita finishes it from him and blows his brains out. What makes it particularly stupid is that the villain ''knows'' Tita is holding the gun (and she is still capable of using it) and doesn't do anything to disarm her.


[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Name ''any'' villain that Franchise/{{Batman}} has fought at least twice, and it's a sure bet that he or she has done something like this. The [[SanityHasAdvantages fact that his enemies tend to be insane]] is one of the biggest reasons he's survived so long.
* In the ''ComicBook/UltimateSpiderMan'' series, one villain, Hammerhead, tries to avoid this trope by pulling out a gun and shooting a troublemaker; unfortunately said troublemaker manages to catch the bullet unharmed, much to Hammerhead's surprise.
* ''TheUmbrellaAcademy'' StoryArc ''The Apocalypse Suite'' [[spoiler:averts this, as the WoobieDestroyerOfWorlds White Violin gets shot by her brother before she causes the EndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt]]. Equally, it ''doesn't'' avert it earlier when [[spoiler: Kraken (one of the White Violin's other brothers) fails, for some reason, to destroy her violin or bow when he had the chance]].
* Lampshaded and cleverly justified in the classic Disney comic story "MickeyMouse Outwits the Phantom Blot." In the story, the villainous Blot puts Mickey in death traps time and time again, but Mickey always escapes. It turns out that The Blot does this because, despite being evil, he can't stand to actually see anyone get hurt, let alone die. So he constructs elaborate traps to kill Mickey for him, then always leaves because he can't bear to watch.
** That is until ''[[EpicMickey now]]''.
* Taken to extremes in one of the Archie ''ComicBook/SonicTheHedgehog'' comics. Dr. Eggman decides he's sick of fooling around with Sonic and launches an all-out attack on his hometown. His forces manage to blast nearly every single good guy (except three) with powerful lasers that seem to vaporize them on contact. He then beats the crap out of Sonic for good measure. Looks like Eggman has finally won... except that those lasers didn't kill Sonic's friends, they were just teleport beams, which sent them all to cells at Eggman's HQ. Eggman announces he'll kill them all THERE... even though he could have killed them much more easily by simply making his lasers lethal in the first place.
** This is doubly stupid because Sonic believes everyone is dead... until Eggman TELLS Sonic that his friends are alive, and where to find them. Then he's actually surprised when Sonic mounts a rescue and frees them all. If he'd just kept his trap shut, Eggman would have had plenty of time to kill everybody.
* Averted in ''Comicbook/BlackOrchid'' half the tropes on that page are related to that single moment.
* The Yellow Bastard in ''SinCity'' was fine leaving Hartigan hanging by his neck and didn't stick around long to make sure he couldn't escape, which he did. To his credit, people typically die when they are hanged.
** Hanged people mostly die from breaking their necks. If one survives the fall, failing to suffocate is not common but very much possible. So it's more like a case of generic stupidity owing to lack of research on the subject than the Bond Villain kind.
* Despite being a supergenius, SelfDemonstrating/DoctorDoom falls prey to this a lot whenever he's trying to kill his hated ArchEnemy Reed Richards of the ComicBook/FantasticFour. This is sort of justified though, because Doom's end goal isn't killing Reed — it's proving to Reed that Doom is smarter than him, and ''then'' killing him. Therefore, killing Reed without gloating about how he has been outsmarted and making him watch Doom TakeOverTheWorld and kill everyone Reed loves isn't just a tad disappointing to Doom — it would be completely antithetical to Doom's entire purpose in being evil.
* In ''ComicBook/DraculaVsKingArthur'', Dracula has Arthur captured and brought to Dracula where he could've easily killed him and took over the kingdom. But rather then doing the sensible thing to clinch victory, he instead decides to "break his will" and just have Arthur throw into the ocean after his subjects and he feed on him. As you can imagine not only does this not happen, but Arthur recovers, gains some new weapons from the Lady of the Lake and regroups his remaining forces for a final battle which ended in Dracula's defeat. Yeah, [[SarcasmMode nice one, lord of the darkness.]]
* ''ThePhantom'' wouldn't have lasted for one generation, let alone [[LegacyImmortality the twenty-one he's currently at]], without practically ''every'' enemy he's ever met falling for this trope. Phantoms do get occasionally killed in the line of duty, but it's usually in open combat and not because someone's clever enough to JustShootHim when they have him captured.
** Though the fact that he's up to 22 Phantoms suggest some of his enemies ''can'' bring themselves to JustShootHim.
* One of the biggest examples of this Trope in Marvel Comics was done by the Frightful Four. Well, three of them; the Wizard, Trapster, and Sandman were, as usual, in need of a fourth member, something they never seemed able to hang onto. They managed to invade the Baxter Building, ambush the FantasticFour and take the heroes hostage. So what do they do now that they have their foes at their mercy? Dispose of them? Engage in sadistic torture? Maybe hack into Reed's files? Nope. They use the Baxter Building to hold auditions for a fourth member, and force the heroes to watch. Unfortunately for them, most of the folks who showed up were {{Harmless Villain}}s and a few folks who were trying to decide between this and something more legit including Texas Twister (who rejected their offer because SHIELD had offered better), and [[FunPersonified Captain Ultra]] (making his first appearance here, likely what made the issue stand out most) but it ''really'' turned bad for the villains when Tigra - who was friends with the FF - showed up and saw the situation. She got them out, and when the Wizard announced over the intercom to everyone waiting that whoever helped them fight the heroes could join them, they proved smarter than he was - [[ScrewThisImOuttaHere they ran for the exit.]] (One villain, the Brute remained, and he ended up the fourth member, but like all other fourth members of the Frightful Four, he didn't last long.)

[[folder: Fan Works]]
* In the JackieChanAdventures fic ''Fanfic/QueenOfAllOni'', Jade decides to break Jackie's limbs after she becomes evil once more, knowing that he'll be trouble later, but is forced to answer Daolon Wong's summoning before she can. She doesn't do anything like that later because while in her case, EvilIsPetty (that is, she wants to prove her superiority to them), and [[AffablyEvil she]] [[EvenEvilHasStandards wants to prove herself better than the other Chan foes, not more underhanded]].
** Played straight later with [[spoiler: Lung, Jade's bodyguard kills him for torturing her]].
* In ''Fanfic/WithStringsAttached'', the BigBad [[spoiler: (Brox)]] asks TheDragon [[spoiler: (Grunnel)]] why he wouldn't let [[spoiler: her]] kill George and Ringo, who were both useless to them. [[spoiler: Grunnel]] responds with a number of reasons, including that it's funnier to have them powerless and unable to stop the proceedings. (Also, he does genuinely like them.) Later, after it becomes clear that the two have managed to get useful stuff done despite having their magic neutralized, [[spoiler: Grunnel]] apologizes to [[spoiler: Brox]] for being wrong. The latter isn't terribly upset, though, as [[spoiler: she]] believes that they still can't bull their way through dozens of wizards to get into the warehouse.
* ''WebVideo/DiamondsCut'' is a Bond fan film, so its presence is guaranteed.
* In ''Machinima/ClearSkies 3'', [[spoiler:Ghost wastes time monologuing, which gives Charlie and Sol time to salvage a shell and use it to kill him.]]
* In the ''FanFic/FacingTheFutureSeries'', Technus managed to keep Danny, Sam, and Tucker busy while [[spoiler:he downloaded himself into the cybertron satellite again]], however, he failed to focus on Valerie [[spoiler:and Skulker]] who rerouted his link to Tucker's PDA.

[[folder:Films -- James Bond]]
Examples from ''Film/JamesBond'', the TropeNamer series, in chronological order.

* After a dinner goes wrong, ''Film/DrNo'' just orders his guards to beat up Bond and get him imprisoned. 007 later escapes, nearly getting drowned in the process (however, being the first Bond film nobody knew how dangerous he could be).
** In [[Literature/DrNo the book]], he also had Bond run through Dr. No's death course. Bond was close to dying through it, multiple times.
*** As did everyone else Dr. No had "tested"; the course was designed to kill. The only difference Dr. No ever expected was how long it would take. Funny how much difference a stolen lighter and a steak knife (and Bond!) can make...
** Professor R.J. Dent has his moment when he empties his entire magazine on a dummy Bond had put on his bed just before Bond himself intercepts him from behind the open door instead of just shooting once, making sure the "body" wasn't moving, and being done with it. "You've had your six", indeed.
*** In fairness to Dent, if he hadn't emptied fired all his six Bond wouldn't have taken his eyes off him after ordering him to drop the weapon. Once he fell for the dummy Bond he was toast.
* In ''Film/FromRussiaWithLove'', Red Grant's plan is to [[WhyDontYouJustShootHim just shoot Bond]], and he actually manages to get the drop on his target and have him completely at his mercy, but he still fails because he can't resist indulging in some EvilGloating and a JustBetweenYouAndMe speech.
* Averted by ''Film/{{Goldfinger}}'', who keeps Bond alive because if he dies, then the [[SecretIntelligenceService Secret Service]] will just send in [[HeroOfAnotherStory some guy called 008]]. Goldfinger instead tricks Bond's superiors into thinking that the situation is well in hand. Also justified in the same film - Goldfinger originally was going to have Bond sliced in half by a laser. The inversion is that this was going to work; Bond had to talk his way out of it, and was seconds away from losing his manhood when Goldfinger agreed.
** Yet Goldfinger displays incredible stupidity (or maybe just bad writing) in dealing with his gangster accomplices. While he is showing them his plan with a miniature Fort Knox, one demands to leave and take his gold with him. They load the gold in a car and Oddjob drives him away, ostensibly to the airport. Then Oddjob kills him but instead of just dumping the body he takes the car, with the body in it, to an auto yard where it is cubed, along with the gold. He then returns to the farm where Goldfinger says they will have to extract the gold from the car and remains. This would be all too complicated and stupid as it is. However, after that gangster left, Goldfinger had the room sealed and all the other gangsters gassed to death. So why not just excuse himself for a minute, leaving that one guy with the others and kill them all at once, instead of destroying a car for no reason?
* Justified in ''Film/OnHerMajestysSecretService'', where just for once the villain genuinely has an actual sensible reason for keeping the captured Film/JamesBond alive and explaining the plot to him: Bond is trusted by the authorities and familiar with Blofeld's record, so his report will help convince the UN that the threat is serious.
* In ''Film/DiamondsAreForever'', [[ThoseTwoBadGuys Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd]] had Bond unconscious and they simply dumped him in an unfinished pipeline and left, [[SealedRoomInTheMiddleOfNowhere assuming he'd eventually die]]. Doubly stupid, as this was the ''second time'' the pair had been given an unconscious James Bond to dispose of; the first time they tried to burn him alive, and it didn't work then; Shady Tree and Morton Slumber get him out of the retort when Tree discovers that Peter Franks' remains had been stuffed with fake diamonds planted by Bond and the CIA before being transported to Slumber, Inc. to be burned, and Bond takes the opportunity to just waltz out of Slumber, Inc. when Tree tries to question him about the whereabouts of the real diamonds.
* ''Film/TheManWithTheGoldenGun'':
** Bond takes up Hai Fat's invitation to join him for dinner in his mansion while pretending to be Scaramanga, not knowing that the ''real'' Scaramanga had already gotten in touch with the guy. When he arrives there late at night, he's incapacitated by some guards in an ambush. As they're about to kill him, Hai Fat forbids them from doing so because he doesn't want Bond killed in his home. They'll just take him somewhere else to finish him off right? Nope. Hai Fat has Bond placed in a karate school to... get beaten up? Maybe?
** Justifiably invoked by Scaramanga late in the film; he freely admits that he could have used his solar-powered laser to blow up Bond's plane before he even landed on the island, but chose not to do so because of how unsatisfying it would be. (Scaramanga previously [[{{Hypocrite}} got angry at Fat for the previous incident]] and killed him.)
* In the teaser of ''Film/ForYourEyesOnly'', [[LawyerFriendlyCameo "Blofeld"]] opts to zig and zag Bond around in the helicopter, instead of just crashing it as soon as he takes control.
* The worst example is probably ''Film/GoldenEye'', when the villains have several opportunities (most notably in the Statue yard) to just shoot Bond and don't. Then Ouroumov has the chance to shoot Bond, ''announces that he is about to do it'', and then is promptly cold-cocked. What moves this into beyond-belief territory is that ''both'' have direct evidence of how dangerous he is when cornered.
** In the Statue yard, they were trying to frame Bond and Natalya for the theft of the helicopter. If a post-explosion examination of the bodies revealed that they had been shot beforehand, it would have raised suspicion.
*** Wholly averted by the BigBad of the film. Given Janus's identity and motivations, it's not merely enough to kill Bond, and if it would be he usually has more pragmatic reasons for keeping them alive. The aforementioned frame up is just the first such example.
* Elliot Carver was preparing to do this in ''Film/TomorrowNeverDies'', leaving Mr. Stamper and his henchmen to torture Bond and Wai Lin for an ungodly amount of hours, but the heroes decide to make their escape before Carver even leaves the room.
* Classic example in ''Film/TheWorldIsNotEnough''. Elektra King drops a loaded pistol for Bond to collect, before she runs up a set of stairs - unarmed. In her case, she thought she was GenreSavvy enough to believe that [[ChivalrousPervert Bond]] [[WouldntHitAGirl wouldn't shoot a woman]]. [[WouldHitAGirl She was wrong]].
* It's either {{Lampshaded}} or a spectacularly bad example, albeit not involving Bond himself: In ''Film/DieAnotherDay'', two henchmen have Jinx at their mercy, and one ''actually proposes shooting her''... but the other one wants to do it with lasers, and gets his way, allowing Bond time to arrive and rescue her.
** Earlier in the film, Bond gets out a Bullet-Proof Vest and Moon keeps shooting it until it falls off into the ground.
* The villain in ''Film/{{Skyfall}}'' initially toys with Bond instead of killing him because it was part of his plan to get to his real target, M. Later, however, his failure to take advantage of various opportunities to kill the heroes is best chalked up to PlotArmor and SanityHasAdvantages.

* [[http://www.empireonline.com/features/bond-villain-monologues/ Empire]] listed the [[EvilGloating Bond Villain Monologues]], while stating on all "[[StatingTheSimpleSolution What he should have done]]: [[WhyDontYaJustShootHim Shot Him]]", save ''Film/TomorrowNeverDies'' and ''Film/TheWorldIsNotEnough''. There, the villain should have "Bought Website/{{Google}}."
** To be fair, General Whittaker in ''Film/TheLivingDaylights'' only monologued to distract Bond as a remote control gun was aiming to shoot him.

[[folder:Films -- Other]]
* Justified in the same fashion in ''Film/TrueLies'', where Arnold Schwarzenegger's character Harry Tasker is captured alive so that he can document for the authorities that the terrorists are capable of carrying out their threat, and afterward when they intend to torture him since he's an American spy who most likely has some valuable information in his head.
* Naturally spoofed in the ''AustinPowers'' movies, with a [[LampshadeHanging lampshade lovingly hung]].
* Subverted in the 1997 movie version of ''LeBossu''. After a long sword fight, the hero gets cornered by some soldiers and the PsychoForHire. From what we have seen earlier, it will be difficult, but possible for him to escape. At this moment, the villain, exasperated by the long fight, steps up to the Psycho For Hire, draws his gun, asks why they can't do it "quick, modern and effective" and shoots the hero, who only survives because of his {{Character Shield}}s.
* In the film ''Franchise/SherlockHolmes and the Secret Weapon'', Professor Moriarty originally intends to kill Holmes off quickly, but Holmes goads him into coming up with something "more creative," giving an example himself of the sort of death trap he would use if he had Moriarty at his mercy. Moriarty decides to prove his superior intelligence and creativity by... using the exact idea that Holmes just came up with! He does at least stick around to watch the death trap in action, and prepares to shoot Holmes when he decides it's taking too long; but he waits a bit longer than he should have, and Watson rescues Holmes JustInTime.
* In Creator/TimBurton's ''Film/SleepyHollow'', [[spoiler:Katrina's stepmother]] has Katrina unconscious, isolated, and is armed with a pistol. Also, everyone believes [[spoiler:the stepmother is dead]], so no one would come looking for her later. Rather than just shooting Katrina, she decides to spend a lot of time [[spoiler:summoning the Headless Horseman]] to do the job, giving Katrina plenty of time to wake up and run away (though granted [[spoiler:the stepmother]] is hardly concerned when Katrina escapes, probably as she figures she's dead soon anyway).
* Annoyingly present in ''Film/TerminatorSalvation'', when after luring John Connor into the heart of its main base, Skynet sends a single unarmed T-800 to dispatch our hero. Yeah. In a base probably full of hundreds of killer robots with guns, Skynet decides to send ONE unarmed unit to kill the hero. And it doesn't bother to send more armed killer robots after the fight drags out, with Connor getting backed up by Cyborg Marcus.
** Somewhat justified that the T-800 ''DID'' managed to critically wound John and if Marcus hadn't volunteered for a heart transplant, John probably would have died.
** Skynet doesn't even seem concerned when the fight spills into the T-800 assembly line, where countless Terminator power cores (I.E. easily set off miniature nuclear devices) lay for the humans to jury rig into a bomb that will destroy the entire base if they manage to defeat that lone T-800 you sent to kill them.
* In ''Film/TheLastDragon'', media-obsessed villain Eddie Arkadian first plays this trope straight, stopping a minion from plugging the hero during a big staged fight because it would ruin "the show". But then at the end of the movie when the show is "over", he whips out his own gun, gives a short sneering speech about "all this kung-fu crap", and fires. [[spoiler: The hero catches the bullet in his teeth.]]
* In the TomSelleck Australian Western ''Film/QuigleyDownUnder'', Quigley has rejected the BigBad's offer to hire him to kill the local aborigines. The villain (played by Creator/AlanRickman) has his goons beat him into unconsciousness. It would be easy to simply shoot Quigley in the head, bury him in a shallow grave, and tell the British soldiers that he went back to port. But that would mean the movie would only be a half-hour long, so Rickman decides to have his men take him into the middle of the Australian desert and leave him to die of exposure. Inevitably, this backfires spectacularly.
** As if that wasn't enough, he captures Quigley AGAIN, decides he's going to beat him in an Old West style quickdraw, and gives the man a fully-loaded pistol. Fortunately, Quigley never much cared for pistols...
* In ''Film/{{Superman}}'', Luthor has Superman incapacitated by Kryptonite and unable to get out of his swimming pool. Then he leaves him, expecting him to die - even though he just learned that his girlfriend's mother lives in the town that one of his bombs is about to destroy. Somehow, he does not see her betrayal coming.
* In a non-lethal example, in the final face-off in ''[[EightMile 8 Mile]]'', Papa Doc makes the grave, and [[IdiotBall just plain stupid]] mistake of letting B. Rabbit go first. Big mistake, as it lets Rabbit take away every single possible verbal weapon Doc might have used against his opponent, thus losing him the battle.
* Leroy and [[spoiler: Roger]] in ''Film/MysteryTeam." Justified in that the heroes are kids.
* In ''Film/TheWolfOfWallStreet'', Belfort invites Agent Denham to see him on his yacht, complete with ALadyOnEachArm, and he even boasts of putting on an act as a "bond villain". He then behaves just like one, by offering to bribe Denham and boasting of his PaidHarem while BeingGoodSucks. As Belfort's lawyer notes his invitation to Denham to see him in yacht is a really stupid thing to do, since it increased the FBI's focus on him and on the operations that he's trying to hide.
* Simon in ''Film/DieHardWithAVengeance'' handcuffs [[TheHero John McClane]] and [[SideKick Zeus]] to a bomb on a ship and leaves them to die, instead of shooting them and blowing up the ship after.
* After John's cover is blown in ''Stone Cold'', the bad guys put him into a chopper (which is vital part of their EvilPlan) where they plan to strap him with explosives and then drop him on unsuspecting cops below. He gets loose, some other guy gets blown to bits mid-air instead and the chopper crashes.
* Had Bane not choose to end Batman's life in their first confrontation in ''Film/TheDarkKnightRises'', he and [[spoiler: Talia al Ghul]] would have succeeded in their plan to destroy Gotham City. Batman even asks Bane in prison when he first woke up: "Why don't you just kill me?" to which Bane replies, "You don't fear death. You welcome it. Your punishment must be more ''severe''."
** Later, [[spoiler:Talia]] monologues at length to Bruce about how much better revenge is when it's done slowly, giving the heroes enough time to [[spoiler:block her remote triggering of a nuclear bomb.]] Bruce lampshades this shortly after, responding, "maybe the slow knife was ''too slow''."
** Once [[spoiler:Talia]] leaves Bane, having [[GenreSavvy learned]] his lesson, ignores her order to let him live and tries to kill him then and there, Catwoman's BigDamnHeroes arrival saves him.
* In ''Film/WildWildWest'', after Loveless captures West and Gordon, he fits their necks with the blade-attracting magnets that the professor in the opening was also killed with. Then he leaves before ensuring their demise.
* The villains twice have our heroine helpless in their power in ''TheLongKissGoodnight'', and fail to just shoot her. The first time is justified by their need to interrogate her in order to learn what she knows of their plans, but despite them knowing how dangerous she is, they leave only one guy to handle her and she easily kills him and escapes. The second time, full on BondVillainStupidity kicks in as the bad guys fully describe their evil scheme to her then leave her LockedInAFreezer while they take her partner out and debate whether to shoot or stab him. They don't have time as she manages to blow up the building, [[CrazyPrepared having filled her daughter's dolly with gasoline]] just in case she needed to set stuff on fire.
* In Film/{{Avatar}}, the humans exhibit this brand of stupidity. The whole point of the plot is how the [[DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything White Man]]...oops, [[HumansAreWhite human race as such]]...is willing to kill women and children purely for greed ([[SarcasmMode completely unlike]] [[NobleSavage typical hunter-gatherer societies]]). But...{{Unobtainium}} is a rock. Rocks survive saturation bombing. If the humans are so evil, they would just bomb everything around the tree, then scoop up the slightly blackened ''rocks''. The Na'vi would never have a chance to try RockBeatsLaser, they'd be too busy burning and suffocating. A modern military only puts boots on the ground when it's trying to ''minimize'' civilian casualties (or at the very least, subdue a population it prefers ''not'' to simply kill wholesale).
* In ''Film/FlashGordon'', Ming the Merciless(!) disembarks onto the Hawkmen's floating city (evacuated except for Flash) and has a conversation with Flash, offering him a kingdom of Mongo to rule for himself. After Flash refuses, instead of simply ordering his bodyguards to dispatch the hero, Ming leaves and has his ship's guns blast the city into oblivion. While the city is reeling from the blasts, Flash conveniently falls into a hole where he discovers a rocket cycle.

* OlderThanTelevision: In John Buchan's 1919 UsefulNotes/WorldWarOne spy thriller ''Mr. Standfast'', the villain, having finally captured the hero [[Literature/TheThirtyNineSteps Richard Hannay]], explains his evil plans at great length. Buchan was arguably the first writer of modern spy thrillers.
* The ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' novels ''Discworld/MenAtArms'' and ''Discworld/WitchesAbroad'' both explain that bad guys don't kill the good guys straight away because they want to gloat, and make sure the good guy ''knows'' he's been beaten. In the first book it serves to show Carrot as a Good Man because he straightforwardly kills the bad guy without explanation; in the second it gives Granny Weatherwax a NotSoDifferent moment, since she rather likes people she's defeated to know about it as well.
** {{Lampshade|Hanging}}d and neatly subverted in ''Discworld/{{Mort}}''. Mort, Princess Keli, the wizard Cutwell and others being surrounded by the villainous Duke, who Cutwell correctly identifies as "not the kind of man who ties you up in a cellar with just enough time for the mice to eat your ropes before the flood-waters rise. This is the kind of man who just kills you here and now." Also played straight in that the Duke is willing to offer them life-long banishment (we know how well that kind of thing turns out).
* Unsurprisingly, this happens regularly in the ''Literature/JamesBond'' novels. Some ([[Literature/LiveAndLetDie Mr. Big]], who has actually put quite a bit of thought into it) are smarter about it than others ([[Literature/FromRussiaWithLove Red Grant]], where even Bond notices). However, the highlight has to be ''Literature/TheManWithTheGoldenGun'', when it's actually not Bond, but M who gets this treatment from [[spoiler:Russia's newest assassin, James Bond]].
** In ''Literature/FromRussiaWithLove'', the Soviet {{Chessmaster}} Kronsteen lays a complicated and near-perfect trap for Literature/JamesBond. Everything works as planned, all the pawns including Bond go through their predicted moves, and Bond gets exactly where the Soviets wanted him. But at the crucial moment [[spoiler:the assassin Red Donovan - an Irishman who hates the English - makes the fatal mistake of engaging in prolonged crowing, boasting and gloating instead of just going ahead with his assigned task of killing Bond. This allows Bond the chance to improvise a desperate last-moment plan which works, enabling him to kill Donovan and use the information which Donovan carelessly revealed in order to catch the senior Soviet operative Rosa Klebb]].
* This is probably the defining trait of ''Film/DrMabuse'', a diabolical mastermind with a few self-destructive tendencies from a series of German novels and films. He has been called the direct forerunner to Blofeld. Observe the MeaningfulName: "m'abuse" is French for "abuse myself". Mabuse is his own worst enemy.
* ''Literature/WarriorCats'': Originally, it was believed that the only reason Tigerstar doesn't [[TalkingInYourDreams go into Firestar's dreams]] and kill him was because he ''couldn't''. However, recent WordOfGod revealed that he ''can'', but he just ''doesn't want to''.
-->'''Iceclaw:''' If Tigerstar can harm cats like he can and walk in their dreams, why doesn't he just do it to Firestar, take revenge, and get it over with?
-->'''Vicky:''' Because Tigerstar wants a long-drawn out kind of vengeance, involving as many cats as possible, so that Firestar truly suffers. ...
* Happens in ''Literature/HarryPotter''. Since Voldemort likes to establish a sense of grace and grandeur into his actions, he doesn't just kill Harry and be done with it.
** Near the end of ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheGobletOfFire'', Harry has been disarmed, gagged, and tied securely to a gravestone. Rather than simply killing Harry after using his blood to regain his body, Voldemort not only has Wormtail cut him loose and give him back his wand, but insists on fighting him in a one-to-one duel and forbids interference from any of his Death Eaters, for no other reason than to prove, once and for all, that he is the stronger of the two. The final result of this is that Harry manages to escape and tell the world about his return (not that many people listen at first).
** Oddly averted in ''[[Literature/HarryPotterAndTheOrderOfThePhoenix The Order of the Phoenix]]'', where Voldemort apparently has [[GenreSavvy learned]] his lesson and tries to kill Harry quickly, only to be stopped by [[TheCavalry Dumbledore]]. However, [[spoiler:Umbridge]] plays this straight several chapters into the same book ([[HoistByHisOwnPetard as revealed later on]]) with one word: [[spoiler:"DETENTION!"]]
** In ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheHalfBloodPrince'', [[spoiler:Draco Malfoy]] gloats triumphantly when [[spoiler:Albus Dumbledore]] lies in a weakened state completely at his mercy, but fails to kill him despite having been ordered to do so on pain of death as he can't bring himself to do it. This leads to [[spoiler:Severus Snape having to step in for Draco and finish off Dumbledore]].
* Uncharacteristically occurs with [[Literature/TheThrawnTrilogy Grand Admiral Thrawn]], usually one of the more GenreSavvy people in the ''Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse''. He has just betrayed Mara Jade by tricking her into revealing Talon Karrde's location, leading to his arrest by Imperials who will torture him if he doesn't hand over important intel, and then smugly mouths off to her face about it. Mara predictably goes [[BerserkButton berserk]] and attempts to attack Thrawn, at first physically then through the Force. Both of these fail, leaving Thrawn with the question of what to do with a still visibly enraged and always emotionally unstable Jade. Instead of killing her, he allows her to live, and lets her out of his sight aboard his ship before letting her go. Jade then predictably hacks into the computer network of Thrawn's ship, uses it to find Luke Skywalker, and saves him. The next one-and-a-half books can be accurately described as Jade [[MistreatmentInducedBetrayal sticking it to Thrawn]] which eventually leads to his plans collapsing and his death.
** Thrawn had figured that she was in a hopeless situation; no one among her old smuggling associates would trust her. This was an error on his part; she was able to convince Aves (one of Karrde's trusted associates) to lend her a Skipray Blastboat and an ysalamir, which she used to retrieve Luke from Jomark (and confront the insane Jedi Master there). Once Thrawn realized his mistake, he was quick to take steps to limit the damage, but the measures (most prominently, the attempt to stop Karrde's escape in ''Dark Force Rising'' and the attempt to kill or discredit her in ''The Last Command'') ultimately ended up being inadequate.
* ''[[TheLaundrySeries The Jennifer Morgue]]'' had a very... ''[[InvokedTrope unique]]'' case. Realizing that he is a mad genius billionaire with access to world-ending technology and a strong desire to actually use it, the BigBad [[spoiler: sets up a geas that makes the tropes of a Bond movie reality. He plans to make it so that the only person who stands a chance of thwarting his plan is a solitary British secret agent... and if one of those manages to get through, then he'll shut off the geas so that said agent is nothing more than a solitary man hundreds of miles away from any back-up who can easily be killed]]. Small problem: [[spoiler: despite all his precautions, the BigBad completely fails to realize by the end that the geas he thought he ended is still operating, even when he's got the hero and his fellow agent bound up and prefers to monologue at them rather than just kill them]].
* [[Literature/TheLionTheWitchAndTheWardrobe The White Witch]] could have saved herself a lot of trouble if she'd just killed Edmund as soon as she met him.
** But in this case it's justified, since Edmund did not appear to represent any sort of threat personally, and she had a reasonable-seeming plan to use him to destroy her other enemies. She was in fact undone not by a flaw in her plan per se but but by Divine mercy. As Aslan points out, her knowledge went only back to the beginning of Time. She was unaware of key things that happened before that.
** At one point she ''is'' about to kill him, realizing that he's no longer necessary to her plans, and in the middle of sharpening her knife when Edmund (currently tied to a tree) is rescued.
** The only reason the Witch initially kept Edmund alive was because she learned he had two sisters and a brother, fitting the prophecy that two Sons of Adam and two Daughters of Eve would reclaim Narnia, and thus hoped to get all four dead or [[TakenForGranite petrified]] and be done with it. Her plan almost did work at one point, when the other three Pevensie siblings seriously gave thought to breaking into the Witch's castle to save Edmund, but were talked out of it by the Beavers. She finally gives up on the plan when the three Pevensie siblings reach Caer Paravel thus making their capture impossible, and realizes that simply killing Edmund would stop the prophecy from being fulfilled. By ''that'' point, the other assassins she'd sent to kill the children failed, and were used to track down and save Edmund.
* Most if not all of the villains in the ''Literature/{{Twilight}}'' series fall victim to this. Probably the most egregious are the Volturi. In ''New Moon'', the only reason they don't want to kill Bella is because she looks like she'll make for an interesting vampire. Instead of just biting her then and there and holding her captive to brainwash her into being a member of their guard (which ''Breaking Dawn'' says is what they want from her), they decide to let her go back to Forks, and according to Edward will probably forget about her for thirty years or so, giving the Cullens plenty of time to turn her on their own terms, or hide her. In ''Breaking Dawn'', their goal was apparently to use Renesmee as an excuse to kill the Cullens/force some of them to join the guard. Instead of quickly going to Forks and doing the job, they spend a full month heading over (thus giving Alice a chance to see it and warn the family) and bring a ton of witnesses, which means they have to put on a show of being fair and let the Cullens go. The witnesses aren't even necessary, since WordOfGod says that the vampires generally accept the rule of the Volturi as right.
* In ''[[HushHush Crescendo]]'', [[spoiler:Rixon]] spends the entire book psychologically tormenting Nora, before getting ready to sacrifice her for a ritual. Given how she's unaware and unprotected for about 99% of the book, that he doesn't manage to pull it off is ''really'' astonishing. Nora even asks why he went through such an unnecessary and elaborate ruse instead of simply shooting her in the head while she was asleep. The only answer he gives is that the sacrifice is an important moment, and he wanted it to be enjoyable for him. He then takes this trope UpToEleven when he kindly holds off on killing Nora while she asks him more questions about his plan, allowing [[spoiler:Patch]] to conveniently show up and save her.
* In John LeCarre's spy novels, Karla (the brilliant and ruthless Soviet spymaster) knows how dangerous to his plans George Smiley is but does nothing about it. Even his mole "Gerald" admits as much after Smiley captures him. There are two more novels where Smiley defeats Karla again and again, even leading [[spoiler: to Karla having to surrender himself to the West]]. Karla could easily have assassinated Smiley but never did. He could have gotten away with it, even without a cover plan but (since Smiley had the most unfaithful wife in fiction) he could easily have made it look like a crime of passion like murder/suicide.
** However, Karla is not an active participant in ''The Honourable Schoolboy'', and in both ''Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy'' and ''Smiley’s People'', Smiley is retired and not a factor as far as Karla knows. In Le Carré’s books, much like the real world (at least at the time) murder is a '''big deal''' and something that he would use only under desperate circumstances, such as those of ''Smiley’s People''. There’s no good reason for him to try and have Smiley killed.
* In ''Literature/{{Relativity}}'', a villain named Rasmas manages to trap all of the heroes in a typically elaborate deathtrap. Unfortunately, he's ''inside the trap with them when he springs it.'' [[SaveTheVillain Guess what the heroes have to do next?]]
** Justified in "Candy Corn": The villains are ''actually'' stupid (not just "Bond Villain Stupid"), but they don't kill or even unmask the hero because they want to give him as a gift to their boss.
* [[JustifiedTrope Justified]] in ''Literature/{{Pact}}'', where the laws of karma mean that declaring what you're going to do (preferably to someone that you don't nominally control) gives you power, and leaving someone to die in a complicated death trap lets you defer karmic responsibility for their murder.
-->'''Ty''': You’re telling me the universe ''encourages'' being the Bond villain?

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* [[Series/{{Batman}} Tune in tomorrow, same Bat-time, same Bat-channel.]]
* In the ''Series/StarTrekEnterprise'' episode "cold station 12": "Five minutes after we leave, every stasis field in this station will shut down, releasing hundreds of pathogens. I wonder which one will kill you first".
* [[LampshadeHanging Lampshade hung]] in a ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' episode when Harmony captures Dawn in order to get Buffy to attempt to rescue and then capture Buffy. When Harmony's minions point out that they could just kill Dawn because as long as Buffy believes Dawn to be alive then she'll come anyway, instead of waiting until Buffy arrives to kill Dawn. Harmony refuses "Because that's not the plan, duh!".
** Played slightly straight when the Master, instead of draining Buffy dry, drinks a little blood from her and leaves her to drown in a pond. Though she was clinically dead, she got revived by CPR.
* ''Series/{{Charmed}}'' would make use of this sometimes as well. The most blatant example was probably 'Engaged and Confused' when, after having two of his associates killed as they tried to kill the Charmed Ones, the demon casually freezes time (an ability he did not attempt to use earlier) so that he and his operative can have a conversation (in front of the Charmed ones) without them knowing about it. He then leaves without attempting to harm the Charmed Ones.
* ''Series/MacGyver'' uses this constantly, usually in the form of the BigBad securing the title hero (and usually a pretty lady) in some form of death trap that always has plenty of "useless" items lying around for MacGyver to use for escape. Lampshaded in the episode "The Ten Percent Solution", where a Nazi-lady tries to use a gas chamber on the heroes while a henchman ponders, "Why not just shoot them?"
* Happened ''all the time'' on ''Series/RobinHood''. The worst examples were Guy using a half-dead lion to try and kill Robin instead of ordering the fully-armed elite soldiers to just shoot him dead; and later trapping Robin in a dungeon that was slowly filling with water and then...wandering away mid-execution. Robin survives both attempts on his life.
* PrettyLittleLiars is full of this. A, despite clearly having it in for the all-girl team and having ''more'' than enough fodder to ruin their lives with, [[spoiler: she]] takes [[spoiler: her]] sweet, sadistic time. This gives the girls the leeway they need to try and find out who A really is. Most of the time this winds up getting them to fall into A's traps, giving A even '''more''' fodder, but it does work to their advantage sometimes.
* Subverted in ''Series/GetSmart'' when KAOS kidnaps Max, plants a Manchurian Candidate-style hypnotic suggestion in him, then allows for him to escape, making it absurdly easy - and he stubbornly resists escaping several times, convinced he's outsmarting some clever attempts to kill him.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'' does this during ''The Dalek Invasion of Earth'', when the Daleks restrain two Companions and then leave them to die in an explosion.
** Defied by the Master:
--->"Anyway. Why don't we stop and have a nice little chat while I tell you all my plans and you can work out a way to stop me, I ''don't'' think!"
*** Although he makes just this mistake later on with Rassilon, who has near-omnipotent technology at his disposal. Goodbye Master's masterplan!
*** The Master would often have the opportunity but wouldn't take it. Of course, as he says, "A cosmos without the Doctor scarcely bears [[FoeYay thinking about]]." And he sometimes tries to pull a WeCanRuleTogether gambit.
** Justified in "The Caves of Androzani". Sharez desires the Doctor's intellectual stimulation as well as Peri's beauty, but makes it clear that he will kill the Doctor if he can't bend him to his will.
** Davros sometimes does this, however he is clearly insane. He also sees the Doctor as an intellectual and seems to enjoy sparring with him. And in "Revelation of the Daleks" he implies he wants to turn the Doctor into a Dalek.
* In the ''{{Smallville}}'' episode "Arrival", two evil Kryptonians confront Clark Kent. They open a portal to the PhantomZone and shove Clark into it. At the last second, Clark grabs a piece of rebar and tries desperately to hold on as the portal sucks him in. Instead of doing something like cutting the bar with their heat vision, the villains just smirk and start walking away, only for Clark to FlashStep up to them, and [[HoistByHisOwnPetard shove them into the portal]].
* ''Franchise/PowerRangers'' villains aren't renowned for their intelligence, but were most guilty of Bond Villain stupidity during ''Series/PowerRangersJungleFury'', where a constant stream of new villainous overlords continued to defeat the Power Rangers then walk away, only to complain later about not being able to defeat the Rangers. By about the 20th time this happened in a 32 episode show, it was very hard to keep caring.
* A few [[Series/TwentyFour 24]] fans weren't too attached to the AffablyEvil Jonas Hodges in season 7, because of this trope. At one point in the season, Jones Hodges manages to frame Jack Bauer for the death of a man he tortured by tasering, but could've just as easily killed Jack Bauer in the process. A bit of context: the incapacitated man was lying in the hospital bed recovering from the aforementioned torture when Jack Bauer sneaked back into the room (Bauer wasn't allowed to see him, but had to [[JackBauerInterrogationTechnique interrogate him...again]]). When this happened, Jonas Hodges deployed knockout gas into the room to knock them out for a few brief minutes, which he then sends some men to kill the tortured man, and then leave. This makes the more GenreSavvy fans think, "why didn't he kill Jack while he had the upper hand?" (Answer: because that would be bad for ratings).
* Patrick Jane from ''TheMentalist'' has been saved by this trope quite a few times. Often involves HoldingTheFloor till [[TheCavalry Lisbon]] arrives.
* Morgana in the BBC series ''Series/{{Merlin}}'' is guilty of so many examples of this that the only way the series manages to work is an equal amount of PlotInducedStupidity for the good guys to balance her out.

* Justified in BigFinishDoctorWho with the Dalek Time Controller. It can't kill the Doctor as doing so would disrupt the [[BecauseDestinySaysSo Web of Time]].

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* This is the Unique Limitation of the Criminal Mastermind archetype from the ''TabletopGame/FengShui'' supplement ''Seed of the New Flesh'', appropriately titled "Slave to the Cheese." Not only are you 100% unable to [[MundaneSolution just shoot]] any named cop or Buro characters you capture or non-lethally defeat, but [[ComplexityAddiction you must do everything in your power to prevent anyone else from doing so]], preferring to toy with your prey by putting them in elaborate death-traps or offering them some desperate ([[LetsFightLikeGentlemen but psychotically "fair"]]) gamble with which to win their lives and freedom. Not only that, but you absolutely cannot resist the urge to engage in a JustBetweenYouAndMe speech, telling them your plans in order to rub it in.
* The trapmaster in ''Super TabletopGame/{{Munchkin}}''. He plays a trap card at you when you start fighting him. If he defeats you, however, his Bad Stuff is that "he leaves you in one of his traps and strolls off laughing. [[LampshadeHanging The idiot. No effect]]."
* The ''[[{{Champions}} Hero System]]'' features the Psychological Limitation "Over-The-Top Villainy". Villains with this Psych Limit must follow this trope (in addition to several of the other "Overblown Villain" Tropes.
* ''James Earnest's Totally Renamed Spy Game'' ([[TheTropeFormerlyKnownAsX the game formerly known as]] ''Before I Kill You [[Film/JamesBond Mr. Bond]]'') is based entirely around tormenting captured spies before you kill them. Each consecutive time you [[IShallTauntYou Taunt]] a particular spy doubles your score when you finally do kill him, but if another player has and uses a Taunt card of the same type, the spy escapes and blows up your [[SupervillainLair Lair]]. Taunts include {{Death Trap}}s, NoMrBondIExpectYouToDine and JustBetweenYouAndMe.
* The Infernal {{Exalted}} have Acts of Villainy which they commit in order to please their Yozi masters if they've managed to offend them somehow. Most of them have them act in line with this trope - picking a favoured arch-enemy as per Best Enemy Recognition (FoeYay optional), leaving the enemy to slow death instead of killing them quickly (Fiendish Deathtrap Compulsion), lecturing them about your plans (Infernal Genius Proclamation), leaving clues or sending them straight to your enemy (Insane Death-Dealing Provocation) or just driving people insane for giggles (Kindly Lunatic's Blessing). And it's best to perform as much of them at once as possible.
* The explanation for the frequency of this happening in Victory Games's ''James Bond 007'' RPG is as a result of being SurroundedByIdiots. The villains have huge egos and want to sate them by discussing their ideas with someone who's proven themselves intelligent enough to appreciate them.
* TSR's 80s ''Marvel Super Heroes'' game, at least in its advanced version, rewarded villains who indulged in this with Karma -- the game's mix of LuckManipulationMechanic and ExperiencePoints. Putting heroes into deathtraps? Same reward as defeating them, even if they escape or get rescued later. Bragging about one's brilliance and letting valuable clues slip? 20-point reward flat. (Conversely, even villains still ''lose'' Karma for killing, mechanically disincentivizing the JustShootHim approach by just that bit.)

* DoubleSubverted in the William Gillette play ''Theatre/SherlockHolmes'', where Moriarty's first plan is in fact to just shoot Holmes. He doesn't try it again, though; his next plan involves preparing a ShortCon as bait to lead Holmes into a DeathTrap (which he escapes in dramatic fashion). Justified, since Moriarty doesn't want a gunshot to be heard outside.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Gloriously averted in ''GrimFandango''.
-->'''Manny:''' Is this where you tell me all about your secret plan, Hector? How you stole Double N tickets from innocent souls, pretended to sell them but secretly hoarded them all to yourself in a desperate attempt to get out of the Land of the Dead?\\
'''Hector:''' No.\\
'''Hector:''' This is where you writhe around in excruciating pain for about an hour because that ''idiot'' Bowsley ran off with the fast-acting sproutella. That slow stuff ''will'' sprout you, but it's going to take a ''long'' time, I'm sorry to say.]]
* Sephiroth of ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII'' has this badly. He could, at any given moment in the original game, completely obliterate the party with ease. However, he instead prefers to mock and taunt the heroes, stringing them along with plans to manipulate them later. As is expected with the trope, this came to haunt him later -- when Sephiroth kills Aeris, she's already managed to summon Holy, which ultimately stops Meteor's impact. Had Sephiroth just killed Aeris when he had the chance, Holy wouldn't have been summoned, instead he waited for Cloud to catch up to her so he could kill Aeris in front of his eyes to torment him.
** Justified to some degree in that Seph wasn't intending to kill Cloud and (most of) his group, it was all part of his [[MacguffinDeliveryService plan to get him to deliver the Black Materia]] to [[spoiler: his real body in the Northern Crater, which he then used to summon Meteor]].
* Beatrix from ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIX'' is the namesake of the rule quoted above. You will encounter her ''three'' times within the span of barely more than half a disc, and each time, [[HopelessBossFight she will always Stock Break your entire party at 1 HP]], before laughing at your weakness and taking her leave. (She's later revealed to be a PunchClockVillain, however.)
** Subverted though in that she is entirely right about your party being completely unable to stop her or the Alexandrians.
* In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyX'', the three party members who can breathe underwater indefinitely are sentenced to death by drowning in a long but open-ended underwater canal. The other party members have to walk through a monster-infested maze instead.
** The [[JustifiedTrope reason]] they were placed there at all and not just [[MundaneSolution executed]] is because of religious tradition. It's called "The Path of Repentance" for a reason. [[spoiler:Also, the bad guys break every Bond villain tradition in the book when they actually realize that this was a bad idea and place guards at the exit.]]
* In ''VideoGame/ChronoTrigger'' Dalton, upon first meeting your party: "Hm? Those clothes… You must be the ones the prophet said would come to interfere! I think I shall watch for the time being, and see how he plays his hand. Not that I suspect he'll tip his cards so easily. Ha!" This was a mistake and it was bad for everyone, considering what he does between games...
* In ''[[VideoGame/HalfLife1 Half-Life]]'', a pair of {{mooks}} capture the player character and, rather than [[MundaneSolution just shooting him]], toss him in a trash compactor; they were under orders to bring him to their commander, but wanted to kill him for killing their comrades, and did it so that his body would be disposed of. Which he then escapes via conveniently stacked-up garbage.
** In ''VideoGame/HalfLife2'', near the end [[spoiler: the main character [[StupidityIsTheOnlyOption willingly climbs into a transport]] within the alien citadel that immobilizes him. Naturally, its a trap and it carries him helplessly right to the Big Bad, who does not take the opportunity to shoot him. Justified later when the main villain tries to recruit him.]]
* Parodied in the computer game ''VideoGame/EvilGenius''. In the game, super agents cannot be killed by normal means. When they run out of health, they simply fall unconscious for a few minutes. They can only be defeating by exploiting a [[AchillesHeel specific weakness]]. So until you figure out what their particular weakness is, your options are limited to locking them up and torturing them regularly to keep their stats down.
* In the original ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid'' [[spoiler: this actually is all part of the villains' plans. Because the DARPA chief was "accidentally" killed by Ocelot, the terrorist didn't have the second part of the code to activate Metal Gear, so they needed Snake to progress through his mission and use an alternate means of activating Metal Gear (by making him think they'd already activated it, and that inputting the code would disable it). So locking Snake in a cell patrolled by an inept guard was all part of the plan.]]
* [[spoiler:Labtech 123]] in ''[[GaiaOnline zOMG]]'' kindly takes the time to explain most of the BigBad's plan to you, as well as how to override the security system, while he waits for reinforcements.
* Played straight for most of the ''VideoGame/MonkeyIsland'' series, with [=LeChuck=] dreaming up more ludicrous ways of dealing with Guybrush. In ''VideoGame/TalesOfMonkeyIsland'', however, [[spoiler:it gets subverted ''twice''. When [=LeChuck=] reveals he was the HeelFaceMole, he kill Guybrush by simply skewering him with a sword. When Guybrush returns in zombie form, [=LeChuck=] goes for a NoHoldsBarredBeatdown to try and kill him. When Guybrush asks why [=LeChuck=] isn't going for his usual overcomplicated plan, [=LeChuck=] informs him [[DangerouslyGenreSavvy he's learned from his mistakes]]]].
** In ''VideoGame/EscapeFromMonkeyIsland''. [=LeChuck=] points out to his villainous cohort that leaving Guybrush alive has always cost him in the past... then they do it anyway. By dumping him on an "inescapable" island that he's escaped from several times.
* In ''VideoGame/DevilMayCry 3'', Mission 13 has [[spoiler: Arkham detailing his plan in manipulating the twins and his daughter into spilling their blood to undo the seal. He undid the final part of the seal by stabbing Lady with her bayonet through the leg, but it was just as easy to stab her somewhere vital and kill her, which would have prevented her from getting up and turning her weapon on him. ... It also would have stopped her from killing him at the end, too.]]
* This trope is such an essential element of ''VideoGame/{{Touhou}}'', with horrifically powerful beings fighting the player character with [[BulletHell slow moving, colourful bullets]] instead of wiping her from existence, that ZUN created intricate justifications as part of the backstory to [[FantasyKitchenSink Gensoukyou]]. Not only would killing Reimu do [[CriticalExistenceFailure Very Bad Things]] to Gensoukyou (though Marisa has no such protection), not only were the Spell Card rules implemented specifically to prevent that sort of destructive violence (though we don't know if there are any punishments for breaking them), but its denizens are mostly very old, very bored individuals that view fighting as an excellent hobby, and killing their opponent would prevent future encounters.
* [[VideoGame/BaldursGate Jon Irenicus]] stands out from the norm by averting this trope; not only does he feel no need to explain his plans to you at any point, he also make good use of sedatives to take you out rather than give you a chance to escape, and he makes sure to have you killed off properly after he no longer need you. Unfortunately (for him, at least) he decided to let his sister Bodhi deal with that. She played the trope straight, and had this interesting maze she wanted to test...
* [[spoiler: Hugo Strange]] in ''VideoGame/BatmanArkhamCity''. [[spoiler: Even though he knows you are the goddamned Franchise/{{Batman}}, he doesn't take the opportunity to kill Bats at the beginning when Bruce was unconscious and shackled. He wakes you up and then dumps you into Arkham City without even bothering to track you. And ''then'' he tasks an assassin to kill you, suggesting that he wanted you dead the entire time.]]
* Occurs in ''VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublic 2'' when the party is trapped in force cages and a bounty hunter sneaks in to kill you. Even though he could overload the cages to kill you all effortlessly, ''which your teammate actually suggests'', he turns the cages off so he can try to defeat two jedi and one scoundrel in a three-to-one hand-to-hand combat.
** Although the dialogue and voice-acting ''does'' seem to suggest that this was the bounty hunter's original plan, and Atton's goading bruises the guy's ego enough to change his plans. (Which is still pretty stupid.)
* This happens in ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil4'' when the village chief nearly strangles Leon to death but lets him go when he sees he's been [[spoiler:injected with a [[PuppeteerParasite Plagas]] egg, knowing that he'll eventually succumb to the parasite's control.]] He later admits in a memo that he gravely underestimated Leon's capabilities and that at the rate he's going, he'll probably destroy the whole village before [[spoiler:the Plagas takes over.]]
** Also from the ''Franchise/ResidentEvil'' series, ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil5'' shows this in Wesker, who apparently toys with Chris rather than kill him outright. Various cutscenes also depict him grandstanding and effortlessly smacking Chris around, but never bothering to, say, pull out a knife and stab him. One boss fight against him even ends with him simply scoffing and strolling out of the room. Though the general long-term goal is for Chris to end up dead at some point, he doesn't seem to care if Chris is surviving at any given moment and mostly just relishes in tormenting him.
** Up until the fight in the bomber, where he finally cuts the crap and starts putting much a more serious effort into killing Chris. A single mistake from that point on is practically guaranteed to be fatal to the player.
* Mostly averted in the very beginning of ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim''. The Imperial Legion captured the rebel leader Ulfric Stormcloak and instead of taking him back to the capital and staging an elaborate trial, they immediately take him and the other captives to the next garrison where they are led to the chopping block right after getting of the cart. But even that turned out to be too much of a delay, as a dragon attacks and the prisoners escape in the chaos after just one of them had been beheaded.
** Another example would be the various mad scientist-cum-mages who feel the need to have you fight a pet monster of theirs rather than kill you outright, or even Alduin, who, rather than kill you outright when he meets you at dragon burial mounds, resurrects a lesser dragon and lets it do the work. Predictably, it always fails.
* Inverted in ''VideoGame/MaxPayne 3'', where Max has [[spoiler: Becker]] at his mercy and slowly strangles him rather than just give him a 9mm headache. This gives [[spoiler: Victor Branco]] time to show up. Max does it again immediately by holding off on disarming the newcomer until the first villain is recovered enough to stun him, allowing both villains to escape.
** Somewhat justified in that Max is ''extremely'' angry and a simple kill shot is too good for [[spoiler: Becker]], and he's honestly a little surprised at the appearance of [[spoiler: Victor]], and it takes him some time to process that before he makes his move.
* ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedIII'': Charles Lee [[spoiler: refuses to kill you in the New York prison, instead explaining how he'll frame you for their own murder plot of George Washington so you are hanged. Connor escapes. When Connor is captured at Haytham's funeral, Lee again refuses to kill him, claiming he wants to break him first. Connor escapes again, this time forcing Lee to attempt to flee the colonies entirely.]]
* ''VideoGame/SaintsRowIV'': The BigBad Zinyak does this to the Boss. Even though the Boss has shown how dangerous he can be to Zinyak's forces, and Zinyak has shown he can easily defeat the Boss in one-to-one combat. He decides that it's better to "break" the boss through a simulation. Considering the Boss's and the other Saint's fierce [[{{Determinator}} determination]], you can see where this is going. Doesn't stop Zinyak from making the struggle as difficult as possible though.
* ''{{VideoGame/Halo 4}}'': The Ur-Didact, newly released SealedEvilInACan, is a NighInvulnerable SufficientlyAdvancedAlien with powers of levitation, teleportation, and telekinesis. Does he use these powers to quickly kill Master Chief and then resume his evil plan? Nope. Instead he just renders Chief helpless during his lengthy monologues then tosses him away, giving the Chief another chance to stop the villain. Only at the end of the game does it occur to the Didact to teleport to the Chief and kill him himself, and even then he wastes time by suspending him over a chasm and then ''choking him'' instead of just dropping him immediately. Then he takes his sweet time ''yet again'' even after you've been freed and ''shoved a grenade in his chest''. The guy simply does not learn, does he?
* Vaas from ''VideoGame/FarCry3'' suffers from this trope badly, succumbing to it at least four times while trying to get rid of Jason Brody. First time he gives Jason a thirty-second head-start and Jason escapes. Second time Vaas gets the drop on Jason, but leaves him to die in a burning building and Jason escapes. Third time Vaas jumps Jason again, and ties him to a concrete block and throws him a pool which Jason escapes from. During this capture Vaas lectures Jason on his beliefs about insanity[[note]]''"Insanity is doing the exact same fucking thing over and over again expecting shit to change. That. Is. Crazy."''[[/note]], which may indicate Vaas is aware that what he is doing is just not working but is unable to stop himself. [[spoiler: The fourth time Vaas walks up to Jason after a crash and shoots him in the chest, but buries him in a shallow grave without checking to see if he is really dead, missing the [[PocketProtector lighter that blocked his bullet]]. During the fifth and final confrontation between Jason and Vaas, Vaas gets the drop on Jason '''again''' and stabs him through the chest with a large knife, but ''[[MindScrew something]]'' happens, the knife starts glowing yellow, and their last fight talks place in an alternate dimension filled with television monitors. Jason wins, and when he wakes up Vaas is gone and everyone says he's dead.]]
* Generally subverted in the ''Franchise/AceAttorney'' series, where many of the true culprits in the cases committed murder to prevent word of some other crime they committed from getting out. In fact, given how the playable characters inevitably catch the criminals, one could argue that subverting this trope tends to backfire on them. On the other hand, when the playable characters [[StupidityIsTheOnlyOption are forced by the game to do things like be alone with the culprit and show them vital evidence]], the culprit's main concern is to destroy the evidence before trying to silence the characters. Given that the evidence is what's needed to put them behind bars (without evidence, it's all but impossible to do anything to them, let alone have them arrested), this makes sense. Not to mention, at least two of those instances are interrupted by [[BigDamnHeroes the police showing up]].
* ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'': in the Citadel DLC, the Mysterious Figure disposes of you and your squad by locking them in inescapable storage chambers in the Council archives with about an hour's worth of air. Granted, it would have worked if the Figure hadn't forgotten about Glyph, and direct applied violence had failed several times before in that DLC, but it's still not a particularly smart move.

[[folder:Web Animation]]
* ''WebVideo/UltraFastPony'' lampshades the utter absurdity. Unlike in [[WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic the source material]], Night Moon Mare doesn't want to gain anyone's respect or to plunge the world into eternal night. She just wants to kill everyone, yet she doesn't do it when she has the chance.
-->'''Night Moon Mare:''' I could kill you all now, but I'll run away!

* {{Lampshade}}d and [[InvertedTrope inverted]] in [[http://www.bobandgeorge.com/archives/index.php?date=040217 this]] ''BobAndGeorge'' strip. [[spoiler:Don't worry, he got better.]]
* Averted in the vampire vs. zombie webcomic ''Last Blood'', during the final battle, the vampires are captured by zombies who chain them up with the intent to torture them. However, for the past 20 pages, there have been allusions to the idea that the leader of the vampires, Addison Payne, has a brilliant scheme to defeat the zombies at some point, even once captured. So instead of letting him live and risking utter victory just for the sake of torture, the lead zombie simply stakes him through the heart, no suggestion necessary. Despite this stroke of brilliance, he still winds up losing it all when he decides to keep one of the human women as his presumed concubine, and goes to embrace her, at which point she promptly stakes him in the heart, killing him and turning his zombies loose.
* In ''SluggyFreelance'' Dr. Steve originally ''was'' [[GenreSavvy just going to shoot Torg]], but [[http://sluggy.com/daily.php?date=991001 got talked out of it]].
-->'''Dr. Steve:''' I've decided to just shoot you and get this over with.
-->'''Torg:''' But wait, don't you want to reveal your master plan to me?
-->'''Dr. Steve:''' No.
-->'''Torg:''' If you were a ''real'' villain, [[JustBetweenYouAndMe you'd tell me your master plan before killing me]].

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* DisneyAnimatedCanon:
** Edgar in ''Disney/TheAristocats''. Gee, leaving a bunch of cats out on the countryside to get rid of them, wonder if they'll find their way back! In RealLife, cats are known to be able to find their way back to their owners from extreme distances, but since Edgar was TooDumbToLive he probably did not know this. This should explain why he simply assumed the cats would outlive him after taking the old saying that cats have nine lives literally and multiplying nine by their expected lifespan, an assumption that got the plot moving in the first place.
** Disney/TheGreatMouseDetective Professor Ratigan has the ideal situation; bound, demoralized and in a word 'helpless'. He decides to set up a deathtrap and leave. It's justified, however, since he ''wanted'' to stay and watch, but had to leave to enact his plans.
** Played with in ''Disney/{{Frozen}}''. The Duke can't justify sending his men out to kill Elsa for witchcraft until after it looks like she did something to Anna, because, y'know, offing another country's queen is a big deal (ice powers notwithstanding). When the "rescue group" finds her, though, Hans, being the NiceGuy he is, tries to peacefully keep Elsa and the soldiers from killing each other. When he takes her prisoner later, even though everyone thinks that killing her will stop the eternal winter, he still promises to try to save her. [[spoiler:We then get a ''very'' nasty justification. He just saved Elsa to continue to uphold his facade of being a kind, gentle man. In reality, he intended to murder her from the start so he could marry Anna and be king. It was only a question of when he'd do it and, by waiting until he could frame Elsa for Anna's death, he could kill her, take the throne, and look heroic the entire time.]]
* ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'':
** DoubleSubverted with Roland Daggett when he had Batgirl and Catwoman at his mercy. When Batgirl taunted him with the suggestion that he leave them trussed up over one of his vats of deadly chemicals with acid burning through the rope, [[DangerouslyGenreSavvy he pointed out how often this method had failed him before]], and announced he was just going to [[StatingTheSimpleSolution have his men shoot them and toss their bodies into those vats instead.]] In the end, however, his stopping to tell them this gave them just enough time to get loose and take him down anyway.
** In the episode [[Recap/BatmanTheAnimatedSeriesE25TheClockKing "The Clock King"]]'', Fugate, the Clock King, gets Batman in a DeathTrap. But he can't resist pulling a JustBetweenYouAndMe with a mocking taped message left behind that Batman manages to repurpose into the tools with which to escape. Had he left no message at all, it's likely the DeathTrap would have worked, as Batman was ready to try getting out with a cutting torch until Fugate's message informed him that he'd deliberately thought of that already and made sure there wasn't enough time.
** In "Trial", Batman's enemies have captured and restrained him, but instead of just killing him decide to put him on trial. [[KangarooCourt With]] the Joker as the [[HangingJudge judge]] and [[JokerJury Mad Hatter, Harley, and Croc as the Jury]]. The DA who stated that Batman should be put on trail was defense, and if she got him acquitted they'd both be set free, if she failed they'd both be killed. But then, [[SanityHasAdvantages what else would you expect from Batman's enemies?]] Two-Face at least ''did'' want to [[WhyDontYouJustShootHim just shoot him]], but lost the coin toss.
* In ''KimPossible'', this trope is part of the Tradition.
** Averted and lampshaded in the episode "Best In Show".
--->'''Kim Possible:''' "Um... Aren't you going to leave now?"
--->'''Falsetto Jones:''' "Leave? What do you mean?"
--->'''Ron Stoppable:''' "Well, usually the bad guy says his lame pun and then walks out, you know, leaving us to our doom."
--->'''Falsetto Jones:''' "But then I'd miss the whole thing! Where's the fun in that? I'm not going anywhere!"
--->'''Kim Possible:''' "Okay, but I feel I must warn you, you're really breaking a super-villain tradition here."
** Lampshaded in "Animal Attraction":
--> '''Senor Senior Sr:''' "A proper villain always leaves his foe when he's about to expire."
--> '''Senor Senior Jr:''' "Why?"
--> '''Senor Senior Sr:''' "Well, it would be bad form just to lull about, waiting for it."
--> '''Senor Senior Jr:''' "Why?"
--> '''Senor Senior Sr:''' "Tradition!"
* {{Lampshaded}} in ''WesternAnimation/TheAdventuresOfJimmyNeutron'' - in the ''Film/JamesBond'' parody "Operation: Rescue Jet Fusion", Jimmy and Jet are left in an elaborate death trap... and manage to escape.
* Shown clearly in ''WesternAnimation/TheFairlyOddparents'' when Mr. Crocker meets Norm the Genie. They both hold a deep hatred for Timmy Turner, and Norm suggests sending him to Mars, while Crocker tries out a horde of elaborate impractical traps
* Played straight then subverted in ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'', where Homer's new employer, a megalomaniac, tries to kill Mr. Bont with such a deathtrap, and Bont escapes, only to be promptly tackled by Homer. Wising up, the guards just shoot him.
** In a scene made for the episode where gambling became legal but only shown in a special, a Bond-like character asked the villain to describe the plan but the villain said he wouldn't fall for that again.
** In yet another episode, Sideshow Bob was allowed out of prison to help the police to find out who's been trying to kill Homer in that episode. During a scene, somebody asked him [[StatingTheSimpleSolution why doesn't he simply shoot Bart]]. The topic wasn't discussed again until the [[BrickJoke epilogue]], when Sideshow Bob ''did'' try to follow the advice but found out he grew accustomed to Bart's face.
* ''MickeyDonaldGoofyTheThreeMusketeers'' has Pete doing this to Mickey. This is notable in that he averts this with Goofy and DonaldDuck, who he flat out attempts to kill.
* In ''ThePerilsOfPenelopePitstop'', the villain Hooded Claw constantly tries to murder the eponymous heroine(ish). The entire episodes are devised of the heroes foiling his extremely elaborate and overly complex homicide attempts. Probably the biggest reason he never succeeded was his need to explain every little detail of each plan to Penelope herself; it always took at least three minutes, and it would either reveal a flaw in the design to her or give her some time to free herself.
* All the time in ''InspectorGadget''. The plot of any given episode has the villain du jour trying to put the titular inspector through increasingly elaborate {{death trap}}s [[ComplexityAddiction instead of, ya know, just shooting him]].
** This was subverted in an episode once, where they attempt to simply poison him. However Brain, Gadget's dog, has discovered the plan and keeps him from eating ''anything''.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans'' episode "X", [[MadScientist Professor Chang's]] [[{{Mooks}} minions]] actually defeat SuperHero team leader Robin. But, not only do they not kill him, they don't even bother taking him prisoner! Instead they just pass on a message that Chang has kidnapped the rest of the Teen Titans and will kill them if Robin interferes Chang's plans. They might as well have been ''daring'' Robin to [[BigDamnHeroes swoop in and save the day at the last minute]]. (Chang [[EvilCannotComprehendGood apparently didn't understand things like loyalty very well]], and didn't think Robin would risk it while he was holding the other Titan's hostage, something Starfire angrily called him out on.)
** In one episode, Slade blackmails Robin into being his apprentice by infecting the other Titans with nanomachines that can kill them literally with a push of a button. Robin gets around this by infecting HIMSELF with the nanomachines, thus giving Slade the choice between killing all the Titans thus removing them as a threat but losing Robin as his apprentice or potentially getting Robin as his apprentice at a later date, but leaving the Titans around to get in the way of his plans. Naturally, as per this trope he does the latter instead of the much more sensible former.
* [[LampshadeHanging Lampshaded]] and [[AvertedTrope Averted]] in the first season finale of ''WesternAnimation/GeneratorRex''. When [[BigBad Van Kleiss]] gives the order [[spoiler: for [[TheDragon Biowolf]] to dispose of a [[BroughtDownToNormal depowered]] Rex]]. Rex asks him if he'd rather lock him a cage or tie him to a slab and use a slow moving laser on him, [[spoiler: Biowolf simply says "No", and tosses him out the window of [[AirborneAircraftCarrier the Keep]]]]. Interestingly enough, this is played straight later in the episode by the [[spoiler: [[BigGood Big]] [[DesignatedHero "Good"]]]] of all people, who [[spoiler: chooses not to turn his electromagnet defense system high enough to tear the nanites out of Biowolf's body, but simply to immobilize him for a good old fashioned beat down.]]
* Played straight in the ''WesternAnimation/SWATKats'' episode "Night of the Dark Kat", where Dark Kat and Hard Drive have managed to capture the eponymous heroes, but instead of summarily executing them, set them on the end of a long ConveyorBeltODoom that leads to a rock crushing machine, a machine which is wired to blow up the warehouse if shut down, leading to predictable consequences. Dark Kat usually proves more GenreSavvy than that, too. Hard Drive even {{lampshades}} it: "[[StatingTheSimpleSolution I still say you should have let me fry those two!]]"
* {{Lampshaded}} with Dr. Gene Splicer in the ''WesternAnimation/TinyToonAdventures'' episode "Hare Raising Night".
* Played straight, and not quite {{Narm}}, as it IS a kids show and [[ViewersAreMorons Kids are Stupid]], in almost every episode of ''TotallySpies'' or it' follow-up ''{{Spies}}!'' Instead of actually spying as their occupations imply, it is always the sequence: get tiny bit of info, get captured, [[BigBad Villain]] explains evil plot, escape, foil.
* Played straight in an episode of ''JusticeLeague'' when [[spoiler:Aquaman's brother, Orm]] leaves Aquaman and his baby son pinned to a large piece of rock slowly sinking into lava rather than just killing them both outright.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'' pulls this with the Slurm Queen during the 'Fry and the Slurm Factory' episode.
* Used and {{lampshaded}} in the ''WesternAnimation/PhineasAndFerb'' episode "Nerdy Dancin'": Dr. Doofenshmirtz leaves Perry the Platypus shackled to a table with a slowly approaching laser beam, claiming, "I saw this in [[{{Film/Goldfinger}} a movie]] once. I didn't catch the ending, 'cause I had other things to do, but [[GenreBlind it seemed pretty foolproof]]." Perry escapes as soon as Doof leaves, simply by slipping his small hands and feet out of the shackles.
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra'', Amon has Korra completely at his mercy with about two dozen of his [[EliteMooks chi-blockers]] restraining her and looks like he's about to take her bending away and...doesn't. However, he justifies it and only comes across as even more DangerouslyGenreSavvy because of it. He needs support for his plan to succeed and this early in the game, taking her bending away would only turn her into a martyr banding everyone not already on his side against him.
* Discord, the second-season villain from ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'', makes this mistake ''twice''. He allows Twilight Sparkle to get her hooves on the Elements of Harmony, since he's corrupted the bearers and rendered them unable to use the Elements, and he leaves Twilight to her own devices in the unraveling Ponyville because he delights in her misery and helplessness. As such, when she regains her confidence, gets her friends back and fighting, and unleashes a devastatingly harmonious rainbow on his face, he's very much taken by surprise.
** In the episode "Read It And Weep", we are introduced to the Daring Do novels, which are mainly patterned after Indiana Jones and Tomb Raider. As such, the main villain in the books, [[BigBad Ahuizotl,]] will often put the hero Daring Do into a clichéd DeathTrap. The example we see is of an ancient over-the-top execution machine involving spikes, [[TheWallsAreClosingIn encroaching walls,]] [[DrowningPit rising sand,]] and [[WhyDidItHaveToBeSnakes snakes and spiders.]] While it seems that Ahuizotl's confidence in Daring's demise is well founded, he makes the classic mistake of leaving her to her doom, which allows her to use her pith helmet and some ImprobableAimingSkills to reverse the trap.
** In the season 4 episode "Daring Don't" Ahuizotl does it again by suspending Daring over a [[SharkPool slowly rising pit of water]] filled with [[PiranhaProblem piranhas.]] Given that the episode's premise is that everything in the Daring Do novels is actually [[RealAfterAll real]] (including Daring's previous escapes), he comes off less of a real threat and more of a villain with [[YoYoPlotPoint terrible amnesia]].
* ''WesternAnimation/BarbieLifeInTheDreamhouse'' has Closet, the AffablyEvil MasterComputer, exhibit this twice. First, he neglects to keep an eye on Barbie, Midge, and Summer while gloating to Ken, allowing the three of them to ditch him through an AirVentPassageway. Later, Closet threatens to fry Barbie and her friends in a giant drier, only to hear the oven's timer go off. In response, he tells the girls not to move, then leaves to check on the crème brulee he's baking. The girls seize the opportunity to remove the Dreamhouse's CPU.
* As you might expect, C.O.B.R.A. does this a lot in ''WesternAnimation/GIJoe'', but one that stands out as ''especially'' stupid was the ChristmasEpisode. It started out like a good idea; Cobra Commander thought he'd attack the Joes' headquarters on Christmas Eve (worked for GeorgeWashington, right?) and it actually worked - he and his men took the whole team of Joes hostage. Then the Commander got a good idea, ''maybe''. He had his men handcuff the prisoners and lock them up in their own meat locker, suspended from the hooks by their cuffs, then decided to take the Joes' vehicles for a joyride and attack a nearby city, maybe get the Joes in trouble. Then, however, Cobra Commander's last attempt at EvilGloating ruins the plan royally. He tells his prisoners he's leaving them a "Christmas present" and ''puts the keys to their handcuffs on a hook by the door'' before he leaves to taunt them, confident they can't possibly reach it. Unbeknownst to him, Shipwreck has already partially freed himself, getting down from the hook (he leaps up and grabs hold of it when they hear the Commander coming) so when the villain leaves again, freeing himself and the others is a simple matter. Even worse, when the villains leave with the Joes' vehicles, they ''leave their own vehicles behind'' (and apparently leave the keys in the ignitions, for that matter). Did the villains think the Joes wouldn't shoot down their own crafts? Wild Bill ''did'' say he felt "like [he] shot his own horse" when he did, but he still did, and so did the others. (So all this botched plan accomplished was to prove that the C.O.B.R.A. can't claim that the Joes have better equipment as an excuse for their failures...)