Similar to the relationship between Batman and the Joker, wherever Superman tends to go, Lex Luthor is never too far behind. DC Comics’ two most iconic superheroes have archenemies that are every bit as legendary, and all four of them have been played by a revolving door of actors in live-action dating back decades.
The debate over who made the best Batman continues to rage on, and has only intensified following the release of Zack Snyder’s Justice League, while the Joker has been the subject of two Academy Award winning performances. Christopher Reeve, meanwhile, is arguably still the definitive Superman, if only because Henry Cavill’s decade in the costume hasn’t seen him being given a fair shake of the stick, but the Lex Luthor conversation has been proving much more contentious.
DC fans have been taking to social media to weight in, with former Luthors Michael Rosenbaum and Jon Cryer even getting in on the action. Unsurprisingly, Kevin Spacey’s name is nowhere to be found following his exile from Hollywood, but there’s more support than you’d expect behind Jesse Eisenberg’s divisive take, as you can see from the reactions below.
Once y'all start realizing that Jesse's Lex Luthor is based on young Lex from Superman: Secret Origins then you'll be able to understand that's it's not bad casting. He's still playing a comic accurate version of the character. It's just not version you like. pic.twitter.com/VUOWxfPFE0
— PiScEs27 AKA: Gandalf's Apprentice (@Josh2Gud4U) March 23, 2021
I’m tired of the slander on Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor, he was perfect pic.twitter.com/a8YbngjjDF
— Carter ? (@H11mGuy) March 23, 2021
The best casting for Lex Luthor. Ever. I said what I said. pic.twitter.com/vAztxLgLul
— Jeremy Asynchronous (@THEJERE) March 23, 2021
— Rachel ? (@RadicalRae1022) March 21, 2021
— Michael Rosenbaum (@michaelrosenbum) March 23, 2021
— Jon Cryer (@MrJonCryer) March 23, 2021
Y'all talking about Lex Luthor performances but every one of ya forgot the goat. pic.twitter.com/Kw4ZhEJp8G
— Steve Norwood (@norwoodeyesays) March 23, 2021
— Clancy Brown (@RealClancyBrown) March 23, 2021
Man I remember watching BvS in theaters and seeing Jesse's Lex. I immediately thought:
"DAWG THAT'S BIRTHRIGHT LEX"
And he immediately became my favourite Live Action Lex Luthor because Birthright is my favourite comic Lex, watching viewing the movie and Jesse's performance pic.twitter.com/0Pwsp20P5R
— Dev @VazrealArt (@DevSyndicate) March 23, 2021
This the best Lex Luthor pic.twitter.com/FygMWCmCHo
— Pussy Mechanic (Reboot) (@mister_paragon) March 22, 2021
this is one of the worst castings ever. pic.twitter.com/6qDG94pR1P
— Bragard (@brogawd_) March 22, 2021
— Brad Thornhill (@Thornbuddy) March 23, 2021
Man of Steel. Batman v Superman. Zack Snyder’s Justice League. Jesse was great as Lex Luthor. Underrated performance. pic.twitter.com/JpH2CnV4UG
— Mr. Will-iam. ? (@bestever23) March 23, 2021
– The only Lex Luthor I recognise. pic.twitter.com/N2bHE1w5uS
— Bokang Maragelo (@BokangWrote) March 23, 2021
As one of the greatest actors of all-time who was also the first to put his cinematic imprint on Lex Luthor, it’s understandable that a lot of people can’t see past Gene Hackman when it comes to the nefarious head of LexCorp. Rosenbaum, meanwhile, stuck around for longer than the rest given that Smallville ran for ten seasons, but Cryer has proven surprisingly effective in the Arrowverse despite his largely comedic background, and the post-credits scene of Zack Snyder’s Justice League gave a hint of how Eisenberg’s tenure as Lex could have played out had the SnyderVerse continued.