With today’s announcement that Jesse Eisenberg will be playing Superman’s nemesis, Lex Luthor, in the new Superman-Batman crossover film (which also stars Ben Affleck as Batman), the internet has returned to a state of epic freakout. Fans have already begun insisting that yet again, the casting directors have made the wrong call (insert a long-suffering sigh here).
With respect, I’d like to offer some evidence to contrast that theory.
2. Friendly reminder: he’s not Michael Cera
People have a habit of confusing these two, and therefore assuming Jesse is as uncomfortable and crappy as his kinda-lookalike. They’re not even remotely the same. Let’s take a moment to be grateful that this kid and his creepy crustache won’t be playing Luthor.
3. He actually looks a lot like this Lex
I know it’s tough to picture Jesse without his trademark curls, but he bears a remarkable resemblance to Michael Rosenbaum’s Lex Luthor from the award-winning TV series Smallville. So, we’ve already seen one skinny Jewish dude pull this role off to incredible success.
4. You were never going to get Bryan Cranston
The facts are these: now matter how much fans try to recommend an actor for a role, we have no control over casting decisions. At all. Ever. If it worked that way, Donald Glover would be playing Spiderman by now.
5. Lex Luthor is a geek, remember?
Although DC’s portrayals of Luthor have varied widely throughout the years, one thing has remained constant: the guy is a freakin’ genius. And if there’s one thing Jesse Eisenberg has already nailed down, it’s the convincing portrayal of geniuses with a god complex. His freakishly spot-on performance as Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network taught us that.
6. Hey Wikipedia, just how geeky is Lex Luthor?
Lex Luthor has the physical capabilities and limitations of a normal adult with no metahuman abilities. However, he possesses a genius level of intelligence. For virtually his entire publication history, he has been depicted as the most intelligent human in the DC Universe, and as one of the most intelligent beings of any planet or species. He has mastered seemingly every known form of science.
7. Super-smart antagonist is basically Jesse’s thing
His role in Now You See Me, coupled with his performance in The Social Network, provides more than sufficient evidence that genius-turned-badass is the definition of this man’s niche in the acting world.
8. He can definitely pull off the look
Genius billionaire supervillain? Yeah, I buy it. This GQ shoot is solid proof.
9. Villains aren’t supposed to be likeable
Lastly, other than the rare and beautiful exception that is Tom Hiddleston as Loki, most actor portrayals of comic book supervillains are not meant to enamor you to the character. Villains don’t exist to be loved. So, you’re saying people don’t like Jesse Eisenberg? That’s kind of the point.
All in all, there’s no way we can determine at this point whether or not the movie will be good. Everyone needs to take a step back, remember how many actors have surprised and continue to surprise us with incredible performances, and stop being so damn determined to dislike new things.
Okay, I don’t actually expect that to happen, but let’s at least try to give this movie a chance to surprise us, rather than expecting it to be the next Elektra.