Lex Luthor isn’t just an arch nemesis, he’s a pivotal character in Superman’s life who deserves the right treatment on the big screen.
DC fans know that it’s important to understand what makes Lex Luthor such a crucial part of Superman’s story. Superman is a hero who represents the best of humanity, and through his selfless actions, he inspires people to be better. But in order to do that, he needs someone who represents the worst of humanity, a villain who can challenge him on an intellectual and physical level. That’s where Lex Luthor comes in.
Lex Luthor has been portrayed by a number of talented actors over the years, including Gene Hackman, Kevin Spacey, and Jesse Eisenberg. However, none of them quite captured the complexity and depth of the character like Michael Rosenbaum did in the television series Smallville. Rosenbaum’s portrayal of a young Lex Luthor’s descent into villainy was nuanced, captivating, and often heartbreaking, making him the definitive Lex Luthor for many fans.
Unfortunately, in the DCEU, Lex was portrayed as a quirky, eccentric, and somewhat bumbling figure, played by Jesse Eisenberg. This Lex was a tech genius who talked in riddles and had a weird obsession with Jolly Ranchers. It was a unique take on the character, but it didn’t quite work for everyone. While Eisenberg’s performance had its merits, it wasn’t quite the Lex Luthor that fans were hoping for. But with James Gunn and Peter Safran at the helm for the new DC Universe, there’s hope that we could finally get the Lex Luthor that the character deserves.
James Gunn has a track record of taking lesser-known characters and turning them into fan-favorites, as he did with the Guardians of the Galaxy and Peacemaker. With Lex Luthor, he has a character that is already iconic, but he can still put his own spin on him. The key will be to make Lex an imposing figure, both intellectually and physically. He needs to be a true match for Superman in every way, someone who can challenge him in ways that nobody else can.
For the upcoming Superman: Legacy movie, if Lex Luthor appears, Gunn should take the character back to his roots as a brilliant industrialist, but also make him more physically imposing than ever before. He needs to be a formidable threat to Superman, both in terms of his intellect and his physical prowess. Whoever plays him has to have that balance.
Of course, one fan favorite is Bryan Cranston, but he’s not on this list. Billy Zane, an oldie but a goodie didn’t make this list either.