Over the years, there have been a lot of incarnations of Superman, each of which has crossed swords (metaphorically speaking) with a lot of incarnations of one Lex Luthor.  Over the last week or so, there has been much ado about the latest incarnation of Luthor, set to appear in the already-controversial sequel to ‘Man Of Steel.’  You’d think that after the uproar about Ben Affleck’s Batman and Wonder Woman’s appearance, that people would be tired of jumping to conclusions, but as a comics fan of three decades standing, I’ll tell ya for free it’s not so.  For my money, I’d love to see Eisenberg as the early-80s George Perez armored Lex Luthor, ready to fight Superman with his technological super-powers, but no matter how they go with the character, there’s still one thing I’m wondering…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) has yet to get really excited about this film one way or the other, but is uncertain of the reason for the furor, asking: What *is* the problem with Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor?

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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15 Comments

  1. randolph defreese
    February 3, 2014 at 11:31 am — Reply

    i dont really know,but i think people have a problem with him because he seem to play the same character in the movies he has been in.

  2. February 3, 2014 at 11:51 am — Reply

    Honestly, it kind of reminds me of the same backlash against Heath Ledger’s casting as the Joker.

    • b003
      February 4, 2014 at 10:58 pm — Reply

      The difference was Heath Ledger was Heath Ledger.

  3. Stephanie
    February 3, 2014 at 12:10 pm — Reply

    I really like Jesse Eisenberg. The only thing that felt weird was that he seems so young, but in reality he isn’t.

    The answer to your question is that there is nothing wrong with it, people just have the compulsion to have strong feelings about their beloved comics and the other adaptations of those comics. If it is an iffy decision, it is a scary one and we must hate it.

  4. February 3, 2014 at 12:15 pm — Reply

    I dont see anything wrong with the casting if hes meant to be young super-tech armor Lex in the movie. (I really hope its the case, much prefer this style.) I dont see him as a businessman Luthor, looks kind of too young for that to me.
    As for the problem, I’d say problem is the internet and people who jump into conclusions too quickly. I also think Affleck will be fine as the Batman. He has the physique and perfect jaw for it.

  5. Frank
    February 3, 2014 at 12:46 pm — Reply

    Arm chair casting directors want to complain about casting that is not ‘Safe’. It seems the actors that these so called experts liked were the worst (Kilmer and Clooney).

  6. Doctor Dinosaur
    February 3, 2014 at 1:35 pm — Reply

    I don’t see the problem. I always preferred a Luthor that was Superman’s age and the respectable actors playing Lex and Supes are here born 5 months apart, even if Caville got all the vitamins (As is the case with Clark and Lex). Furthermore the young energydrink chugging wunderkind Luthor, characterization in Grant Morrison’s Action Comics was one of the series highlights. And lets be honest if Lex is Lex, he would in this “”realistic modern”” Man Of Steel version of the DCU absolutely be the young upstart silicon valley tech-entrepreneur turned billionaire by his 20s .. Not far removed from the likes of Elon Musk or.. Mark Zuckeberg.

    If someone does not like this casting the **problem** could(?) maybe(?) be because that they want Lex to be the tall, strapping, uberman, alphamale, CEO (Best of humanity..yet still human, not alien) or perhaps they want the older Luthor found in earlier continuities. And while I think we should abandon the old (only)super-scientist Luthor as well as fat (only)CEO Luthor. I don’t think the idea of Luthor as the science-CEO/Ulti-Man is tired yet… But I don’t see the Eisenberg casting discounting that. The Lex in the well tailored suit who is in the shape of his life is even better if he always looks (therefore perhaps feels) inadequate compared to the “alien”. Beyond that it’s always more fun if Lex (Like Suggested by Morrison in Action Comics and All-Star Superman) only really got into the dapper look and hours at the gym after Superman showed up.. As if he before that didn’t feel like he had to impressive people with his looks or physicality since he could buy/assassinate/imprison/etc any CEO, Athlete, Celebrity, President, Model or Astronaut. Luthor should in my opinion; look good bald, convince me he’s clever as hell, be the same age as Supes and always exhume a sort of cold detached unimpressed air, as well as some inner crippling insecurity and anger. Eisenberg looks like he is “the darkest timeline’s” version of “moot”.

  7. RagnaRoss
    February 3, 2014 at 2:29 pm — Reply

    Sure, he doesn’t fit the image of Lex Luthor that I have in my head, but I don’t have a problem with that. I can respect different interpretations of any of these characters. I’ve just never found him to be a very compelling actor in general. Same goes for Afflek. Just my opinion. That being said, I hope they prove me wrong. I hope that these actors are being cast because Snyder has a very specific vision for the world he is creating. I hope that, like Ledger, they bring something special to the characters they are portraying. I just hope they don’t make a crappy movie.

  8. Arbor Day
    February 3, 2014 at 2:42 pm — Reply

    The problem I have is Lex Luthor should be supremely confident in his own ability, to the point where he’d basically be an egomaniacal, narcissist if he wasn’t right about himself 99% of the time. Jesse Eisenberg has basically made a career off playing characters riddled with self doubt.

    Not that I can’t see certain aspects of the casting work out. I’m just worried in this one area Eisenberg might be lacking. Its probably the most unique character trait of Luthor, and probably what makes him the most dangerous.

  9. February 3, 2014 at 4:55 pm — Reply

    Ill spell out the problem: it’s one of persona. His age is a factor, but not the whole thing. I think the main problem is that nobody is ever going to feel frightened or threatened by Jesse Eisenberg. No matter how you play him, he will never pull off the role of one of the biggest super villains ever. I cannot imagine seeing Jesse Eisenberg playing this role without the audience just pitying him, the way they would a petulant child (harsh, and an oversimplification, and that’s where a bit of the age thing comes in.) in the social network, for example, he only manages to come across ass a jerk, that you kind of feel sorry for. Can you honestly imagine Eisenberg holding his own in a scene with Superman?

    Now, COULD he pull off some kind of young-savant-incredibly cold and calculating-new millennium emotionless-mastermind-evil Sherlock thing? (Ooooooo, Benedict Cumberbach would have been perfect!) Yes, it’s poooooosible. And I’m all for quirky-unconventional-but-brilliant casting decisions (I was one of the first to champion the genius choice of Heath Ledger) but when ALL your creative decisions are in that quirky, “well, maybe they could pull it off like THIS…” zone, and you compare it with their choices from the first movie, you can’t help but feel like they don’t have any idea what they’re doing. It’s not just Eisenberg: he’s just the straw on my particular dromedarien spine,

    • comicfan1974
      February 3, 2014 at 8:25 pm — Reply

      Here, here. Absolutely agree…

  10. February 3, 2014 at 11:26 pm — Reply

    I kind of like the choice. I am not worried about the youthful look or the past overly sympathetic characters. However I am a bit concerned about his voice. Luthor needs a bit deeper voice with a commanding tone, which I do not think of from Eisenberg. However, with plenty of time to prep, and there is no doubt that Eisenberg can dedicate himself to a role, I think he just may pull it off.

  11. mark
    February 4, 2014 at 6:07 am — Reply

    the ONLY problem with Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor… that it’s not Brian Cranston as soon as that was mooted we had that movie in our heads… the pick of Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor means they have a vision

  12. Oldcomicfan
    February 4, 2014 at 7:36 am — Reply

    I haven’t seen anything Mr. Eisenberg is in, but if you shave his head he sort of resembles the guy who play Lex Luthor in Smallville. It might work. I hadn’t heard of Henry Cavill either but I think he’s the best Superman there has ever been on the Silver Screen. And to those of you who foam at the mouth over you hatred of “Man of Steel” because of what Superman did to Zod… He killed Zod int he comic book. It’s canon. Get over it.

  13. b003
    February 4, 2014 at 11:03 pm — Reply

    The problem is that it sucks.
    @Mark wasn’t even think of Cranston but that was an awesome choice.
    I like Mark Strong myself. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0835016/?ref_=tt_cl_t6

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