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Why Fans Are Slamming Jesse Eisenberg's Lex Luthor

By now, we've all seen the first actual trailer for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and it's definitely left an impression. We've balked at Batman holding a gun-like object, gasped at the appearance of what looks like a lumpy Doomsday, and snorted at the terse conversation between Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne...but the biggest bombshell of all has come in the form of Jesse Eisenberg's Lex Luthor. Many months ago, we were given promo pics of Eisenberg with a bald head and an icy glare, so what's with this bubbly, goofy Lex that's going to be dominating the film? Fans are incensed at this portrayal for various nerdy reasons, and here are a few.

He's Not Bald

Classic Lex Luthor is almost always bald, and Eisenberg's version of Lex has a full, sexy head of youthful hair. But many people with a superficial knowledge of "Classic Lex" can't really understand a Lex with tresses. Comic nerds know better: Luthor's first appearance depicts him with a full head of hair, and it was only an artist's mistake that rendered the poor guy bald later on. Luthor's shiny cueball was later retconned into continuity, but there are also plenty of times in DC Comics' history in which Lex has plenty of red hair. If fans want a true origin story, this Lex runs pretty close to the truth, even if it's not immediately obvious. Read Action Comics #23, guys. A really poor copy will only run you about a thousand bucks.

He's Too Joker-y

DC Comics has many villains, but not too many of them are known for being gregarious wisecrackers. Lex Luthor is usually depicted as stoic, reserved, and a little malevolent, but what we've seen of Eisenberg presents Lex as a high-pitched, highly social goofball, drawing many comparisons to the Joker or the Riddler. While that kind of upbeat personality has always been an effective foil for Batman, it's a less effective device against the weird mirror of Superman, who is a character that represents optimism and hope. Two energetic, upbeat guys facing off against one another might not be the right kind of dynamic for a serious film...but maybe it's all just a front for Lex, not unlike the facades that our heroes have to display when they go to fancy parties. Time will tell.

He's Too Young

Lex Luthor, when not being illustrated as a mad scientist, has often been portrayed as some version of the classic, pre-2000s version of a generic businessman. Whether he's a cigar-chomping Gene Hackman, or a very straight-laced guy in a fancy suit with broad shoulders and a merciless disposition, Lex is generally all business. That perception of "business" is pretty antiquated, however, and today's most disruptive, noticeable businesspeople are often young, and have ever-so-slappable faces like social media magnate Mark Zuckerberg, or notorious pharm-hole Martin Shkreli. They're kinda brash and may even seem stupid, and if they have any tactical genius, it's hidden beneath a stream of incendiary tweets and overcompensating selfies. Eisenberg's Luthor seems to fit the mold of detestable wunderkind pretty perfectly, even if he's not old money.

He's Not Iconic

Because Superman is a household name, just about everyone also knows who Lex Luthor is and what he looks like. While Superman is a picturesque hunk with a perfect wave of back hair, Lex is a bald jerk, and we all know that there's no greater crime against humanity than going out in public when bald. Shortsighted fans have called for Bryan Cranston to reprise his role as Walter White to take over as Lex, or for other similar-looking actors to step in, but only so they can see something unchallenging on the screen. No, new Lex isn't iconic in appearance, and no one will want an action figure of scrawny Jesse Eisenberg any time soon. But it's probable that his weird, twitchy personality will hold the role and make it memorable. No one thought that Heath Ledger was going to be a great Joker either, and those people now look like stupid idiots.

He's Not Masculine Enough

This was an actual thread of complaints by trailer viewers, believe it or not. As ridiculous as it sounds, fans actually launched into complaints about the fact that Eisenberg didn't seem enough like a "man" to be an effective Luthor or business leader. First of all, Lex Luthor has taken a ton of different forms through comic history, including the form of a woman on Earth One. The "masculinity" argument itself is a bit ridiculous for a thousand reasons, including the obvious sexism buried in there. But how boring would it be to see Batman, Superman, and a third ultra-manly-man fighting it out on screen? The answer is, of course, "incredibly boring." So what if Lex Luthor isn't a lumberjack with twelve beards and a voice like an earthquake? Welcome to the new world.