Sequel Saturday: Casual Lex, by Mat Bradley-Tschirgi
Although it’s a year from release, Warner Bros. feels the need to trickle out images for Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice. The latest of these shows Jesse Eisenberg (To Rome With Love) as a skinny, steely Lex Luthor. Precious little of the plot has been revealed. Lex Luthor has been the classic villain in the Superman; the only live-action films not featuring Mr. Luthor are Superman III and Man of Steel.
The best thing about Lex Luthor is his cleverness. He can’t beat Superman in a fair fight, but he can often outthink or trick him. While the comics, animated and live-action TV series, and direct-to-video cartoon features emphasize Lex’s slick wit, the live-action films have shown him as a doofus. Gene Hackman (Geronimo: An American Legend) plays Lex as a washed-up comedian doing real cornball stand-up routines. He rarely feels threatening, and the bumbling melody John Williams plunks out whenever he’s on screen doesn’t exactly help. Kevin Spacey (Casino Jack) is a bit better. He verbally abuses anyone within a 10-foot radius yet somehow comes off as more manic and moody than cool and calculated.
Eisenberg is a great actor, and I love that director Zack Snyder (Legends of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole) cast against type for Lex Luthor. My biggest concern with Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice is that we’ll have a story that is too convoluted for its own good. Since DC’s massive slate of flicks is going to lead into an eventual Justice League duology, they are going to start introducing a bunch of other superheroes into the plot with this film. Considering we have the Batman and Superman universes colliding, the storyline already has a lot on its plate. Regardless, I’m keeping my fingers crossed Snyder guides Eisenberg into giving us some memorable Lex.