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Who is Jesse Eisenberg actually playing in "Man Of Steel 2"?
There's not a trick answer to this. When Warner Bros. announced last week that Jesse Eisenberg had been hired to play Lex Luthor in the sequel to last year's "Man Of Steel," that is correct. He is playing Lex Luthor. But when they say that, it's still not a definitive explanation of what you're going to see when that film arrives in theaters on the now-scheduled date of May , 2016. Which Lex Luthor is he going to play? For comic book fans, there are many possible answers to that question, and for fans of the various live-action and animated interpretations, there are even more possibilities in the mix.
I contend we're not going to see a Luthor we've seen before. Not exactly. "Man Of Steel" was controversial with fans, and there are people who hate the choices the film made, as well as plenty of people who think those choices are what made the interpretation interesting. I think Zack Snyder and David Goyer have set out to tell a particular story, and if I know Snyder (and I think I do after this long knowing him and covering his work) and if I know Goyer ( and I think I do after this long knowing him and working with him and covering his work), then they're going to continue telling that story in the sequel. Even if they are introducing more super-powered characters into the world, they're doing it as a building reaction from Superman's introduction.
This is really no different a game plan than Nolan's in the the Batman films he made. His first movie was about a world struggling to adapt to the idea of a lunatic dressed in a bat suit doing something to try and fight the corruption of a city. The second film is about escalation and what happens because of that lunatic's arrival. The Joker is a response to Batman as much as anything else. He exists because Batman needs him to exist. The Joker gives Batman a reason to fight. Only Batman can fight him. Only Batman can stop him. It's his justification as much as it's his creation.
In "Man Of Steel," one of the things that people seem to have been upset by is the level of destruction that we saw. There were some quick little Easter Eggs in the film during that destruction. One featured a satellite that said "Wayne Industries" on it. Another featured different things with the "Lexcorp" logo on them. They're quick little visual cues, but they're going to be important building blocks for the next film.
Lex Luthor, in the world of "Man Of Steel" is someone young, someone who's built a tech company that's worth a ton of cash, and someone who has a legitimate reason to dislike Superman right away.
And except for the young part, that's also a pretty fair description of Bruce Wayne.
Here's what I predict, and I hope the people who hated the destruction in "Man Of Steel," the people upset about Superman killing Zod, the people who feel like Superman didn't save anyone… I hope they all go see the sequel… because Lex Luthor is going to speak for them.
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