Jesse Eisenberg’s reaction to backlash about his version of Lex Luthor in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice proves exactly why he was never a good choice to play the iconic villain. Zack Snyder’s follow-up to Man of Steel was the controversial Batman v Superman, with the director’s sophomore DCEU attempt pitting DC’s two most iconic heroes against one another. One of Snyder’s boldest decisions was casting Jesse Eisenberg to play Superman’s archnemesis Lex Luthor, and it’s a decision that proved to be one of the most hated parts of a truly divisive film.
Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor was a decidedly odd take on the iconic villain. Jesse Eisenberg brought a particularly frenetic energy to the character that Luthor doesn’t normally possess, making his version of the intellectually brilliant but morally bankrupt character an original but ultimately unfaithful iteration of the villain. Eisenberg’s efforts were not appreciated, with many believing his odd take on Luthor to be closer to his Mark Zuckerberg than any established Superman villain.
In an interview with Deadline, Eisenberg discussed the backlash to his Lex Luthor, and his response further proves why he should never have been cast in the role. Eisenberg explained that he and the film’s writer Chris Terrio “thought about the character a lot,” and considered his “backstory with his father and his emotional life,” and summarized by adding “and then people hate[d] me.” Eisenberg seems to take issue with the backlash to his performance, justifying the bizarre choices made about the character by explaining that they were carefully considered. However, Eisenberg’s apparent dismissal of the issues with his performance indicates that he doesn’t understand the character’s importance and iconic nature at all, showing exactly why he was a poor choice to play the key DCEU villain.
Eisenberg’s Luthor Changes Were Unnecessary (Even If He Doesn’t Think So)
Eisenberg’s casual defense of his version of Lex Luthor proves how little he understands the passion audiences possess for Superman and his supporting characters. He even admitted that he’s “not a comic book fan,” and that the superhero genre “is not an important genre in [his] life.” This actually makes Eisenberg the polar opposite of his on-screen nemesis, because the DCEU’s Superman actor Henry Cavill is well-known for showing reverence to the source material in his roles. The role of such an iconic villain deserves an actor that understands the significance of the character, but Eisenberg appears to be indifferent, which is indicative of the larger issue with his performance.
Though Lex Luthor was important to Snyder’s DCEU plan, both Terrio and Eisenberg took creative liberties with the character that undermined the iconic Superman villain. Eisenberg’s willingness to play such a heavily revised version of Luthor clearly stemmed from a lack of respect for the character’s importance, and his relative indifference to the backlash further proves that he never really understood what a good Lex Luthor should look like. The result was an inaccurate and utterly bizarre take on the villain that failed to land with audiences, primarily because the character’s frantic energy simply didn’t capture the essence of Lex Luthor.
Though Eisenberg has seemingly voiced his upset at the backlash to his Batman v Superman performance, he has previously stated that he would return to the DCEU if asked. However, he seems to understand that after Snyder’s exit from the franchise, this isn’t likely. Jesse Eisenberg’s DCEU return as Lex Luthor doesn’t appear to be on the cards, and that’s actually a good thing, because his version of the character as introduced in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was an utter waste of such an iconic villain.