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Will Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor in 'Batman vs. Superman' Invigorate the Franchise?

by Anne Thompson
January 31, 2014 5:16 PM
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Jesse Eisenberg at Sundance 2014
Jesse Eisenberg at Sundance 2014
Jeremy Irons
Jeremy Irons

I have no problem with this morning's news that Jesse Eisenberg is set to play Lex Luthor in Zack Snyder's "Batman vs. Superman," and Jeremy Irons will take over fellow senior Brit Michael Caine's role as Bat butler Alfred.

At least--as the vociferous Twitter reaction indicates--Eisenberg represents a change-up in the next "Superman" movie. If we must return to this all-too familiar villain--played by a bald Kevin Spacey in Bryan Singer's much-criticized 2006 "Superman Returns"-- at least let it be a radical interpretation. Eisenberg can thank his chilly brainiac roles in "The Social Network" and "Now You See Me" for landing this one.

I'd like to think that Warner Bros. will improve on Zack Snyder and David Goyer's last by the numbers "Superman" outing, "Man of Steel" ($630 million worldwide is not as much as it sounds for a $225-million-plus production) which veered too far toward jam-packed action, but I remain skeptical. Adding Ben Affleck as Batman is a sign that they recognize that they need to add heft to young Superman Henry Cavill. 

Should we bank on Affleck's professed admiration for this script? He tells Playboy:

"I don't want to give away too much, but the idea for the new Batman is to redefine him in a way that doesn't compete with the Bale and Chris Nolan Batman but still exists within the Batman canon. It will be an older and wiser version, particularly as he relates to Henry Cavill's Superman character. It was a unique take on Batman that was still consistent with the mythology. It made me excited. All of a sudden I had a reading of the character. When people see it, it will make more sense than it does now or even than it did to me initially... If I thought the result would be another 'Daredevil,' I'd be out there picketing myself. Why would I make the movie if I didn't think it was going to be good and that I could be good in it?"

Wisely, the new Warners team has pushed the release date back to May 6, 2016. No need to rush on this one. Get it right.


  • Batman | February 27, 2014 7:38 AMReply

    First one was one of the best movies, but this on is going to be bad
    i mean why would they introduce Batman in a Superman stand-alone movie, because they can't make a new batman movie? or because they are rushing into a justice league movie just because marvel did a avengers movie?
    fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuugk warner bros

  • tony | February 2, 2014 8:27 AMReply

    And Jeremy Irons is booooring to the 10thpower! He cannot get away from quoting Shakespeare!

  • tony | February 2, 2014 8:22 AMReply

    So why do we need to see Mark Zukerberg in a Batman/Superman movie when they could have added his character in the Lego Movie! My point is Brian Cranston would have been perfect as Lex Luthor, had they not destroyed the Green Hornet character Ben Affleck would have been perfect for that role. The bottom line is this action figures,dolls, and well if you want to stay intense read the comic books! because you will not get it from this Justice League Movie! I don't want to see the CEO of Facebook in a Superhero Movie!

  • Jimmy | February 1, 2014 5:06 PMReply

    Thinking that the fans want a "Radical take" or a "reinvention" only goes to show how out of touch Hollywood is .

  • tyler4all | February 1, 2014 11:00 AMReply

    Anne, respectfully, perhaps you should let a writer with more knowledge of comic books write these comic book-related pieces. Anyone who has read Superman knows this is terrible casting. Lex Luthor is a man! a grown up who has the presence, the physicality to match up with Superman. Jesse Eisenberg looks like a little boy next to Henry Cavill. This is laughably bad and in a strange way compliments the terrible casting of Ben Affleck as Batman. Why Jeremy Irons is going anywhere near this stinker is beyond me.

  • immature | February 1, 2014 3:34 PM

    Lot of people with knowledge of comic books are fine with the casting. And Irons didn't mind going near Dungeons and Dragons and Eragon.

  • Heather | February 1, 2014 3:20 AMReply

    I'm fine with Jesse as long as he doesn't start being all his usual motor mouth neurotic self. Seriously, the guy needs to speak in at least a different tone cause whenever I see him in movies, he's always playing the same character.

  • tyler4all | February 1, 2014 10:55 AM

    He's just not a good actor. He just plays himself.

  • james | January 31, 2014 11:52 PMReply

    This is why Hollywood movies suck and need to be remade every three years. Bad idea, bad casting, and the wrong director. Can't wait...

  • Batman | February 27, 2014 7:33 AM


  • Rachael | January 31, 2014 9:30 PMReply

    Considering the Superman/Batman Script is being rewritten by Chris Terrio, Oscar Winning Writer for Argo and Ben Afflecks Boy. I think this movie is going to get some life into. The main problem with Man of Steel was the script. Fix the script fix the movie. Personally I like this choice for Lex.

  • sweet | January 31, 2014 7:35 PMReply

    $630 million is batter than what I would have guessed. But deservingly so. Man of Steel was awesome. I don't care what a bunch of losers who contribute nothing to life but wants everything handed to them think. Love the casting of Jesse. Although now days when casting is announced, I hear the Gremlins theme in my head. All these naysayers may as well be gremlins.

  • Wut? | January 31, 2014 6:17 PMReply

    Lol forever at this casting. I don't know what the producers are smoking, but they need to put down the pipe. Unless this is going to be a comedy.

  • tyler4al | February 1, 2014 10:56 AM

    My thoughts exactly. they're not trying to one-up the Dark Knight. instead they're going for camp and comedy and ridiculousness.

  • George | January 31, 2014 6:13 PMReply


  • Incremental Jones | January 31, 2014 5:52 PMReply

    Can hardly wait for the bald head reveal when Lex doesn't take off a wig but the poodle asleep on his head wakes up and jumps off.

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