If there’s one thing we’ve learned about Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, it’s that this isn’t the old school version. Over the past year, Eisenberg has said how his Luthor is not cartoonish, but instead feels more like a real person, thus being much different than the previous cinematic versions. Now Eisenberg has gone into more detail about Luthor’s motivations in the March blockbuster and the character’s twisted moral outlook.
While reaffirming how this Lex Luthor is a more modern version of the character, Jesse Eisenberg explained to Playboy that the young businessman’s main worry in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is having someone flying around with so much power at his dispoal. As Eisenberg put it:
The character is in line with what audiences want to see now, which is a more modern, psychologically realistic concept of Lex Luthor. His motivations are multifaceted; he has a way of using language that’s specific to the way his mind works; he struggles with interesting philosophical dilemmas like that of the individual having too much power, even if that individual is using that power for good. For instance, Superman has so far been using his powers to do some good, but is it safe to have someone like that walking the streets? It’s great that all of this happens in the context of a very exciting superhero movie.
Like the more modern incarnations of Lex Luthor in the comics and other media, Jesse Eisenberg’s iteration sees Superman as a threat more than a benevolent figure. Compared to humans, Superman is a god, and while moviegoing audiences know that Superman just wants to protect humanity, Luthor believes that Superman has a more detrimental presence than a helpful one. (Well, that and he’s probably upset that the Kryptonian is one of the few individuals whose power eclipses the corporate empire Luthor has inherited/built.) It’s the same outlook that Batman has at the beginning of the movie, and he actually has a full-on Knightmare about what might happen if Superman went rogue. Of course, Luthor’s methods of dealing with Superman are significantly more antagonistic, which explains why he’s secured Kryptonite and General Zod’s corpse, the latter of which will somehow lead to Doomsday being created.
With four trailers and a few TV spots out, the specifics of Lex Luthor’s plan against Superman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice are still a mystery. Judging by those “god vs. man” comments, he’s using the brawl between the Caped Crusader and Man of Steel as a way to further his goals, and when Lois Lane declares him to be insane, he casually dismisses her as a “little mind.” Luthor’s also been chatting it up with Holly Hunter’s Senator Finch, who lead the Senate committee holding Superman responsible for Metropolis’ destruction in Man of Steel, so if he’s lucky, he’ll get the government on his side. It was also rumored last year that Luthor will kidnap Martha Kent so he can use her as leverage against her adoptive son. Make no mistake, whatever his outlook, this guy is bad news.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice hits theaters on March 25.