DC Weekly: What to Expect(s) from Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex

Welcome to the DC Weekly, where every week we cover DC news, TV show reactions, editorials, and random speculation.

This week, I once again nix the TV recaps in favor of a look at what we can expect from Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor, who as almost everyone knows, is the arch nemesis of Superman (most of the time, at least). 

If all the photos from “Batman v Superman” and “Suicide Squad” are any real indication, Warner Bros is making bold moves with the DC Extended Universe. Rather than going for the grounded and realistic look that Christopher Nolan brought to the “Dark Knight Trilogy,” they are going for a decidedly more comic book-heavy approach. One look at the new Batman, and it’s very clear that they’re taking to ripping the characters from the comic book pages, which is something I discussed in last week’s column.

“Batman v Superman”s True Villain

So what does this mean for good ol’ Lex Luthor? After all, he definitely seems to be the odd man out here, in that he’s perhaps one of the bigger departures from the comic book (at least all the interpretations I’ve read).

So far, we’ve had some glimpses of him, and a few lines here and there in the trailer. In those, he comes across as a slimy, entitled wunderkind, which is a perfect fit for actor Jesse Eisenberg, but is there more to this puzzle?

This week, we got a couple of interesting tidbits regarding Luthor’s character. The first came in the form of the new synopsis from Warner Bros.

“At long last, see Batman and Superman square off against each other in ‘Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice’, an epic superhero showdown which will change both their lives forever.  Clark Kent doesn’t trust Gotham’s mysterious masked vigilante. Bruce Wayne doesn’t trust the alien who nearly destroyed Metropolis.

And Lex Luthor, who hates Superman more than anyone, is manipulating both of them for his own twisted ends.

Choose your side: the Man of Steel or the Dark Knight? Learn the answer to the age-old question – who would win? – in ‘Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice’.”

The relevant bit there is the piece with Lex Luthor, who for some reason, HATES Superman. While it seems logical that Lex Luthor would be the main villain of this film, it seems a bit odd that Luthor would already hate Superman so early on. It brings into question why he would hate Superman. 

Of course, the entire premise of this film is centered around the fallout of the destruction of Metropolis, so chances are it has something to do with that. But why do I get the feeling that Luthor’s reasoning is a lot more petty?

Lex Luthor’s Potential Motivations

I can’t help but look to “Adventure Comics #271,” which chronicled the first time Lex Luthor and Superboy met. Yep, that’s right. Superboy. In this particular telling of the story, Lex Luthor manages to save Superboy from a random Kryptonite meteorite that weakens the superhero. As a thank you, Superboy builds Luthor an amazing lab in which to do his work.

However, while creating a Kryptonite antidote for Superboy, a fire catches in Lex Luthor’s lab. Luckily, Superboy is there to save the day, and uses his super-breath to save Luthor, but there is one unintended outcome.

That’s right. That is one of the explanations as to why Lex Luthor hates Superman.

I’m not about to suggest that this is the main reason why Luthor hates Superman in “Batman v Superman.” That would be some really silly sh**. However, I’m wondering if it’s a really petty reason, and that Luthor uses the fallout of Metropolis as an excuse to exact revenge on the Man of Steel without creating a whole lot of controversy.

This, however, does seem to fly in the face of some recent comments from actor Jesse Eisenberg, who recently discussed his motivations for the character.

 “I’ve always noticed the best thing to channel, as an actor, is yourself. To figure out what makes you angry, what makes you feel vengeful or righteous. Those are the feelings that Lex Luthor has. And use that as opposed to kind of watching Gene Hackman, who’s a great actor obviously and played that part originally, and think, ‘How can I kind of mirror that?’

Because the truth is, me mirroring him would just come off weird. We have different faces, different life experiences, different emotions, but what I do have – that I have more than anybody – is my own feelings, and so I use those, and then the character seems not only real but emotional and just. He believes he’s the hero of his own story – is the kind of the actor cliche – when you’re playing the villain, you’re the hero of your own story. That’s the kind of most interesting way for me as an actor, and I think, for an audience to appreciate as well.”

So as slimy and petty as he may seem in the trailers, the truth is he may have a completely legitimate reason for going against Superman. After all, Eisenberg doesn’t just say that Luthor is angry, but that he actually believes himself to be the “hero.”

Maybe Superman ruined Lex Luthor's dreams of becoming an NBA superstar.

Maybe Superman ruined Lex Luthor’s dreams of becoming an NBA superstar.

What did Lex Luthor lose that made him so angry at Superman? Is it really something incredibly petty, as I mentioned above? Is it possible that they will play Luthor as a foil to Bruce Wayne—in that they are both two rich people who lost loved ones in the Metropolis fight? Maybe the film will show what happens when one man forgives (Wayne), and one man seeks vengeance (Luthor).

What do you hope to see out of Lex Luthor’s character? Any thoughts on what his motivations will be in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice?” Let us know your thoughts down below!

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