While the hotly anticipated Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice isn’t coming out until next March, the marketing bigwigs over at Warner Bros. are teasing audiences constantly. Every week, a new piece of viral chum is thrown into the bloodthirsty waters of the Internet, where it is devoured almost instantly by ravenous fanboys.
Warner Bros. decided to have a little bit of fun with the fans this week by releasing several more images on the web. While only a handful of pictures, they revealed a great deal more about the depth of the characters that we will be seeing on the big screen.
Batman once again is the epitome of cold and calculating. Even through his mask, you can see someone who has logically justified and thought out his attack on Superman. As for Kal-El, we see an alien hero whose face is a mixture of frustration, resolve, and anger.
The most telling picture however, is the one showing off Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor. From the beginning, the casting of Eisenberg has led to countless YouTube videos, blog posts and reddit threads. Some people have begun to believe that this take on the notorious super villain was a smart move, while others continue to be skeptical.
The portrait of Luthor looks like it’s straight out of the annual TIME 100 article. The CEO of a mega-corporation posing in what appears to be a company rec room is a not-so-subtle callback to some of today’s most powerful dot-com empires.
Any devoted comics fan can look at images of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman and call out the different eras and influences that were borrowed from for this movie. Luthor’s image on the other hand, appears to be almost totally revamped for modern audiences, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
You could see him posting selfies on Instagram, giving a speech at the TED Talks, or taking a seat as a guest at the White House Correspondents Dinner. The tailored jacket over a fun t-shirt shows us an image-conscious, Lex Luthor who no doubt takes himself very seriously. In this respect, Eisenberg has done a wonderful job of projecting the one thing that the iconic character has always been known for: conceit.
Whereas Gene Hackman and Kevin Spacey approached the character with varying degrees of camp, Eisenberg and director Zack Snyder have basically deconstructed the character, taking the most basic components and bringing them into the new millennium.
What has always made Lex Luthor great was the same thing that made General Zod great in Man of Steel. He viewed himself as the justified hero, using his immense intellect and vast resources to make the world into what he perceived to be a better place. That of course means him at the top of it. This is perhaps the one thing that hasn’t been altered for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Without the immense arrogance to match his IQ, we wouldn’t recognize the character.
This image did more to reassure me that we’ll be getting a great villain more than anything else. The bright, colorful company logo is much more flashy than anything put out by its real world contemporaries. And with companies these days bending over backwards to give off a hip, fun image, a basketball court and beach chairs are closer to reality than you might think.
It appears that Snyder and Eisenberg have given us as realistic a corporate baddie as we’re going to get in the new DCEU. It will still be sociopathy, megalomania, and Machiavellian tactics on steroids, but it will be as grounded as everything else in DC’s new universe.
I for one am beyond excited. This version of Lex Luthor isn’t holed up in prison, on the run, or attempting to claw his way back to the top of the food chain. This take on the criminal mastermind is at the absolute zenith of his power and influence. Remember, Luthor wasn’t always shown as a shrewd and greedy businessman. That came about largely with the popular The Man of Steel six-part miniseries in 1986. While no longer a scientist super villain, Luthor can easily be a match for Superman as the head of Lexcorp.
Contempt, greed, brilliance, and a massive superiority complex are what I want from Lex Luthor. Throw in a few billion dollars and a offbeat sense of humor, and you’ve got the makings of a truly terrifying take on Superman’s arch-nemesis.
Trust me on this one folks. We’re going to come away from this movie hating Lex Luthor more than ever, not because of the way Eisenberg has chosen to portray him, but because of how brilliantly he will dismantle and run around our heroes.