Lex Talk About Lex, Baby

A guest post by Matt Becket.

Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of JusticeLex Luthor goes up against quite a lot more than just virtual demigods in Batman v Superman. He goes up against us. We, in fact, are his greatest challenge.

I imagine that DC’s goal in presenting an archvillain is to create a feeling of disgust, hatred, or sympathy for the character. Without it, they are unsuccessful. Lex needs to hook us. We need to want to be hooked.

I love movies. I even enjoy bad films if only because my butt is planted in the seat of a movie theater. It’s all magic to me. With a PG-13 superhero movie I become a ten year old boy. My youthful eyes don’t go to judge – but if they get side-tracked, they age into the critical eyes of a college freshman (some of the world’s harshest judges). When this happens the popcorn isn’t as savory and the soda loses its bubbles. It’s still magic, but flat magic propelled by other factors my eyes latch onto such as special effects or cinematography.

I personally appreciate the Warner Brothers’ attempt in making a new Lex, but something did not work. People have blamed casting. Casting is usually the first thing to be blamed. The second thing to be blamed is direction. These two are contributors, but I think the writing and pacing in this movie hurt the new incarnations of these characters the most.

Good characters usually have clear motives with stakes involved. Reintroduced characters shouldn’t rely too much on a savvy audience already familiar with the brand. Lex Luthor wasn’t given a good platform this round. I wanted to know how this particular Lex got to this point. I do admit you can fit the pieces together, kinda, but his motive didn’t hit home and wobbled. Was there a movie between this one and the last that I missed?

Let’s break Lex down. What do we know about Lex Luthor? He’s rich. He’s smarter than Superman. His inventiveness is up there with Batman. He’s power-mad, but he’s able to hold himself together. These are fantastic qualities in a Super-villain (it’s what gives him that “super” bit.) What can mess this up? I think the answer is overincarnation. Yes, I made up this word just now. I think I made it up. No idea, I’ll Google it later.

Where were we? Right! Overincarnation. We have the comics, the old black and white TV serial, more comics, video games, Smallville, Lois and Clark, bald Kevin Spacey, bald Gene Hackman, the Super Friends cartoon. That’s a stable of Lex Luthor! Having been exposed to this, we have Lex Luthor expectations and have all formed some sort of Lex Luthor in our head. Can Hollywood find that least common denominator Lex Luthor that our moms, brothers, and Grandpa will appreciate? Sadly, I feel that this time they did not.

The world knows who Lex Luthor is. He’s been fighting Superman since 1940. He’s very recognizable.

It would have been really cool if he had made an appearance in Batman v Superman. We kept waiting, but he never showed.


About the Author:
111814LargeSquareCrop (1)Matthew started lying as soon as he could talk. Thrilled with the reaction he received, he started making the lies bigger. Some of the lies he had kicked around for years became commodiously appropriate for the written word. Matthew has fun lying in the Middle Grade genre, but lately has been taking on the Adult Dark Humor Crime Thriller genre. He is currently working on his novel – The Sommelier.

When not lying, he is usually traveling, or hanging out with his wife and three cats in Celebration, Florida while looking up words like “commodious” on thesaurus.com .

Where do I find this guy?
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/matthewdavidbecketauthor/?ref=hl
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10 responses on “Lex Talk About Lex, Baby

  1. Jasmine Becket-Griffith

    Ha, well put. I haven’t seen this film yet, not sure really that I want to….

    I’m not particularly well-versed in the Superman universe, I was kind of partial to the Kevin Spacey incarnation of Lex Luthor though….

  2. Robin Reed

    I think Smallville did the best live-action Lex, but many seasons of TV gave them lots of room to develop the character. Bats vs. Supes had a lot of problems, its Lex not being the worst of them.

  3. Holly Walker

    Casting was absolutely NOT the worst problem with this villain. Eisenberg totally shined with the material he was given, but, like you, I felt that it was the writing which was at fault. In the previews, I honestly thought he was Edward Nigma. The hair, the overt nerdy-awkwardness, the cleverness of him… I did not recognise Lex Luthor. The character felt much too manic to be the cool, reserved, barely controlled inner anger of Lex. Smallville’s Lex was great, but that’s partially due to the fact that we actually cared about him. He TRIED to be Clark’s friend & he was for a long time, but the character arc had time to develop into something less pure… something more sinister as his ambitions & bitterness got the better of him. This film left him with none of those sympathies & no story to build the character. I WANT a Lex backstory.

    I also felt like they picked an awkward time in the storyline to shave his head. I mean, it fit with the story we were given, but usually when there is a cathartic or iconic transformation such as that, we can look at it & say, “THAT’S the exact moment when became who they are today.” It usually happens at the end of a backstory movie, except in this instance, I felt like he already WAS the person he currently is, & that we didn’t get a backstory. It was weird. Having said all that, I thought Eisenberg was nothing short of mesmerising in the role… I just felt like we got cheated out of a Lex, but I am hopeful of what will be coming next since we finally got our bald baddie, though.

  4. Tam

    Love the write up…but this was not “the” Lex Luthor. He was Lex Luthor jr. So no he won’t be what people expect. He will be some of it and alittle of something else. However a back story to his current state would have been nice. He mentioned his father..but we needed more.

    1. Matthew Becket

      The Eisenberg character is even more different than the DC comics version of Lex Luthor Jr. Lex Luthor Jr. would be the son of Lex Luthor and Lois Lane – that certainly isn’t what’s going on in Batman v Superman. Wikipedia (I’m not saying Wikipedia is right) lists the Eisenberg version under Lex Luthor and no mention of that incarnation under Lex Luthor Jr.

      Even this confusion that we have here goes back to my idea of “overincarnation.” Too much Lex.

      DC loves us, right?

  5. Natasha Wescoat

    Like Holly mentioned, I got the Edward Enigma vibe from Eisenberg. He’s a brilliant actor, but just like his character, I felt like direction and writing laid heavy upon everyone’s part. So much more could’ve been experienced in this film, and a more authentic to DC universe that I was anticipating. I thought the acting was the one thing that elevated a somewhat wet noodle of a film. There were two parts that made me cringe a bit: When Batman and Superman are realizing their mom’s names were both Martha. Second is when Lex goes “batty” in the prison. Like….um no. lol

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