There haven’t been that many Superman films…well at least in terms of different iterations of Superman films. The first 5 Superman films along with Superman returns are essentially one universe and a lot of the character tropes, character personality types and styles are largely the same. Man of Steel is the first iterations that is different from the original films. However, unlike the Marvel Cinematic Universe, DC seems to be going in a non-comic book direction. As in, they are able to create their own origin stories and their own mythos independent of DC Comics.
Obviously we know what Superman is like based on the MoS film– but what of his main villain Lex Luthor? What sort of person will he be? What will his motivations be? The latest trailer doesn’t lend too much in the way of what he will be like…
I didn’t really like the older iterations of the movie Lex Luthor’s to be perfectly honest. They ignored a lot of what made Lex Luthor cool. In the films he was portrayed more as a rich person with a chip on his shoulder rather than a genius-turn-bad guy. Superman Returns did not do much better… They surround he character with goofballs to make him seem smarter but he just seems vaguely annoyed. This doesn’t portray intelligence so much as a distaste for his henchmen that are incredibly stupid.
One of my favorite iterations of Lex Luthor was the Superman: Red Son graphic novel version. His character, in this version, is a super-genius working in America who is tasked by the government to come up with a solution– a countermeasure– to the Soviet Russian “Superman”. This version of Lex is something similar to regular DC Comic iterations in which Lex Luthor isn’t necessarily a bad guy, he’s an anti-hero of sorts.
What is the difference? Lex Luthor thinks what he is doing is the right thing to do! He isn’t committing crimes for personal gain, he is committing crimes so he can eventually stop the menace known as Superman. To Lex Luthor, the existence of a “Superman” is a detriment to the human race. Superman represents a threat, if not directly, then indirectly by ruining the ambition of the human race in regards to improvements. Why should the human race move forward if they have super-beings protecting them?
The Red Son iteration goes so far as to make Lex Luthor the pseudo-hero of the novel. He saves the human race by defeating both Superman and brainiac– and taking it upon himself to improve the human race. Making breakthroughs in diseases and medicine and allowing humans to live longer– eventually living long enough to see the destruction of their own sun that had turned red. Descendants of Lex Luthor (of the house of El) send back their son to a younger time… get that? Friggin Superman is a descendant of Lex Luthor!!
And this is the version of Lex Luthor I would like to see. Not the crazy great-grandfather to Superman-type thing– but I want Lex to have that sense of purpose. I want him to inherently hate Superman because he sees him as a threat to the human race. I think if Eisenberg’s version if Luthor in Batman v. Superman can have this character-type, he might just be the best movie iteration we have seen!
What are your thoughts? Do you want a more classic movie Lex Luthor or the newer Anti-hero full purpose Luthor found in Red Son? Or is there some other version you would want to see? Let me know in the comments!!!