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  1. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Punisher007 View Post
    "Revenge is a sucker's game." I've always loved that line.
    Yeah, I like that quote too. Xanatos is a pretty cool villain. I don't think Lex has ever been pure evil, but his petty nature has prevented him from being truly sympathetic. Petty jealous is not a noble or sympathetic trait, it is an ugly trait. The only way for Lex to be sympathetic is to have him realize and wrestle with his petty nature. Pettiness has always been ingrained in the character, he never had a reason to hate Superman that didn't come off as totally petty. Lex trying to overcome his petty nature could make him sympathetic, likewise if you want to make him unsympathetic, he should reveal in his petty nature. Pettiness is part of the character of the Lex Luthor, how Lex deals with that can make him sympathetic or unsympathetic.

  2. #47
    Superfan Through The Ages BBally's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by llozymandias View Post
    Just looked it up, Lena's first appearance was in Superman's girlfriend Lois Lane #23, February, 1961. Story title: "the Curse of Lena Thorul". Written by the very underestimated Jerry siegel. The thing about Lex's parents disowning him, & changing their name to Thorul was Jerry Siegel's idea.
    Okay, my mistake. Still, it was a good story in its own right.

  3. #48
    Mighty Member Adekis's Avatar
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    Default This post gets way too meta in my third paragraph.

    Quote Originally Posted by llozymandias View Post
    The origin story written by Jerry Siegel. Amazing thing is there are stupid people out there who insist on crediting that story to Elliot Maggin. Or if they admit that Siegel wrote the story, they claim that Maggin added nuances to it. In reality Maggin's retellings of the Siegel-written origin story were watered down versions of it.
    Right. The story they're thinking of is The Luthor Nobody Knows from Superman #292. It re-tells the story as a flashback during another story about Luthor fighting Superman by making him lose control of his body movement. Superman defeats Luthor and then has a flashback to that original Siegel story which emphasized Luthor losing his hair, rather than Superboy's mistake and the fact that he accidentally killed Luthor's experiment, which as I recall, had created life. For some reason or another, I think that story is better known than Siegel's original, which was indeed better.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Overlord View Post
    But here is the thing, there are many Pre crisis stories, where I didn't find Lex sympathetic at all. I mean what about the Silver Age story where Lex and Joker teamed up to make a bunch robots to take over the world, what was sympathetic about that?
    Quote Originally Posted by Me, Adekis View Post
    If Luthor is a man who doesn't let innocent people die in his schemes (and as we've seen in my "Hall of Heroic Luthors" on the previous page, that was once true [though even at the time, characterization wasn't always consistent]) then the reason Superman continues to have faith that Luthor could do more good than he could is because he knows Lex isn't actually a cold-blooded killer of innocent people.
    Luthor and Joker definitely teamed up to take over the world. First of all, I never said Luthor didn't try to take over the world. He totally did. That would have cemented him as the Greatest Criminal Mastermind of All Time, without being a monster. What I said was, he never killed any innocent person- I'm not even sure if he ever killed any cops. Well, except maybe for Superman that one time, but I don't think that's the same thing to him. I mean, I don't really like him teaming up with other bad guys, including Brainiac, who took a few more years to become a genocidal soulless monster, but Joker at the time wasn't known as a mass-murderer anyway. The Joker, at the time, was a career criminal, not a serial-killer with flair. What made Luthor sympathetic isn't that he was a misunderstood good guy or anything. Luthor was a career criminal. What made him sympathetic is that he had a moral code, he didn't kill people, and whenever he did dedicate himself to helping people, he did a phenomenal job.

    That said, I think it's also worth noting that characterization at the time was a bit more fluid, especially where the modus operandi of certain villains is concerned. I remember a Bronze Age story (Fortress of Fear, from DC Special Series #26, if you are interested) where Luthor was going to blow up the planet to kill Superman, and move to another dimension. He was in disguise, wearing a suit of red armor. Called himself Dominus. Superman even ruled out Luthor as the culprit early on in the story because if Luthor was going to threaten to blow up the planet, he would have wanted people to know he was the one who did it (rather than my own assessment that Luthor wouldn't kill billions of people without a better reason than "kill Superman"). My ideal perception of that story is that Dominus was a crazy alternate Luthor who went from Earth to Earth killing Supermen by blowing up their planets until the Superman from Earth One stopped him. But let's be honest here: that is not the truth. The truth is that Roy Thomas, who wrote that story, was less invested in Luthor being a sympathetic figure than, say, Edmond Hamilton, who wrote most of the "Lexor" stories, and he decided to write a story where Luthor tried to blow up the world. The truth is I like to disregard that story and stories like it because I don't like them, and because I'm a reader and all the stories are imaginary anyway, I can pick and choose which stories I think "count". The truth is that there are enough stories with a sympathetic, moral-code practicing Luthor in them that I got that idea from them. I didn't just make that up, but I could just as easily make a "Hall of Evil Luthor" from the same era as I did my "Hall of Heroic Luthor". The truth is Luthor usually didn't kill in the Silver Age because of censorship, but that's way less interesting to me than the moral code some writers legitimately considered him to have. The truth is that some writers wrote him as an anti-villain, and some just wrote him as a jerk, but I don't think those are as interesting so I generally disregard them.

    Also in the Silver Age origin where Lex and Superman were friends, but had a falling out and became enemies, I found Lex totally unsympathetic. In the falling out, I found Superboy 100% in the right and Lex 100% in the wrong. Lex came off as ridiculously petty in that origin, so its to buy Lex as poor lost former friend of Superman, when he choose to become Superman's enemy for really petty reasons.
    I agree it was petty of him to pull the whole "you did that on purpose" thing, but he just made the most important discovery of his life and had it destroyed in the space of seconds. Maybe it was petty that he didn't accept Superboy's apology, maybe it was petty that he decided Superboy did it on purpose and that devoted the rest of his life to proving he was a better criminal than Kal-El was a hero, but I see why he did it. I don't think it was that petty, except for the whole "devote my life to crime" thing. That was pretty extreme. The rest of his reaction up to that point makes sense to me though, and it's both necessary for his character and logical from a certain perspective that he would take the extreme reaction and become a super-criminal.

    Petty jealousy is not a sympathetic and that is the reason why he seems to hate Superman. Also someone like Magneto has more sympathetic back story then Lex does, being a Holocaust survivor is far more traumatizing then losing your hair or an experiment and being mad at the guy who saved your life in the process.
    You make it sound like Luthor lost his hair in his own experiment, then blamed Superboy for making that happen. That is not really what happened.

    Also you said Lex is somewhat tragic, because he could be the world's greatest hero, if not for Superman. But why can't he be a hero with Superman around, Batman does. The answer is simple, because Lex is a petty egomaniac who cares more about praise then actually helping helping people, if Superman wasn't around, he could very well find another excuse to be a petty jerk.
    No, the tragedy is that Luthor thinks he could be the World's Greatest Hero if not for Superman. Of course he could be a hero with Superman around. He knows that. His problem is that he doesn't think he could be the World's Greatest Hero. He thinks he would always be second best compared to Superman. Thus: he becomes the Greatest Criminal because he won't be second best. He is not interested in being like Batman. Batman is not the Greatest, and Batman doesn't use his real name, unlike Lex Luthor (another reason I don't like that Dominus story). I don't think you're wrong about Luthor caring about praise more than helping people. If there was no Superman, Luthor would have been the Greatest Hero, certainly- but not by the virtue of not having the competition. It'd be because he actually bothered to try. If Luthor the criminal tried, there's a good chance he'd still be the best, or at least Superman thinks so. His ego stops him from being the Greatest Hero, and that's really the tragedy I was talking about.

    I do think Luthor kills people, I just don't think he kills innocent people- civilians. I'd not have a problem with him killing other menaces (did you read Action #899 where he snaps Brainiac's neck? How cool was that?) or even cops or other agents of justice who try to stop him if there's no other way to stop them stopping him- just not civilians.

    As for Xanatos, I am entirely unfamiliar with him. Ironically, I had only heard the line "revenge is a sucker's game" in Young Justice, where Lex Luthor himself said it. I'm not sure whether I consider Luthor's career in crime to be revenge or not. He certainly defines himself against Superman, but it's certainly not all about that one day in Smallville when he lost his hair and his greatest experiment. Even on that day, he knew that. I like the idea that he's smart enough to know revenge is not smart, but he certainly has revenge-y overtones. Hmm... Worth thinking about.

    But enough of this bickering! We're here to celebrate how awesome Luthor is, not argue about him!

    I love his goofy old lair, for example.

  4. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adekis View Post

    Luthor and Joker definitely teamed up to take over the world. First of all, I never said Luthor didn't try to take over the world. He totally did. That would have cemented him as the Greatest Criminal Mastermind of All Time, without being a monster. What I said was, he never killed any innocent person- I'm not even sure if he ever killed any cops. Well, except maybe for Superman that one time, but I don't think that's the same thing to him. I mean, I don't really like him teaming up with other bad guys, including Brainiac, who took a few more years to become a genocidal soulless monster, but Joker at the time wasn't known as a mass-murderer anyway. The Joker, at the time, was a career criminal, not a serial-killer with flair. What made Luthor sympathetic isn't that he was a misunderstood good guy or anything. Luthor was a career criminal. What made him sympathetic is that he had a moral code, he didn't kill people, and whenever he did dedicate himself to helping people, he did a phenomenal job.
    The problem is there a lot of stories in the Silver Age where Lex is presented as a petty jerk and card carrying villain, there was nothing really sympathetic about Lex in that story where he teamed up with Joker to make those robots. Sure he was not killing people left and right, but so what? That just makes he is not a total monster, not that he is a sympathetic villain. Wizard from Fantastic Four doesn't commit mass murder, but he is such a petty jerk, he is not sympathetic. There is a huge middle ground between a total monster and a very sympathetic villain and I think Lex is in that middle ground. I also don't find the tale from the Silver Age where Lex murdered Superman sympathetic either.

    Quote Originally Posted by Adekis View Post
    That said, I think it's also worth noting that characterization at the time was a bit more fluid, especially where the modus operandi of certain villains is concerned. I remember a Bronze Age story (Fortress of Fear, from DC Special Series #26, if you are interested) where Luthor was going to blow up the planet to kill Superman, and move to another dimension. He was in disguise, wearing a suit of red armor. Called himself Dominus. Superman even ruled out Luthor as the culprit early on in the story because if Luthor was going to threaten to blow up the planet, he would have wanted people to know he was the one who did it (rather than my own assessment that Luthor wouldn't kill billions of people without a better reason than "kill Superman"). My ideal perception of that story is that Dominus was a crazy alternate Luthor who went from Earth to Earth killing Supermen by blowing up their planets until the Superman from Earth One stopped him. But let's be honest here: that is not the truth. The truth is that Roy Thomas, who wrote that story, was less invested in Luthor being a sympathetic figure than, say, Edmond Hamilton, who wrote most of the "Lexor" stories, and he decided to write a story where Luthor tried to blow up the world. The truth is I like to disregard that story and stories like it because I don't like them, and because I'm a reader and all the stories are imaginary anyway, I can pick and choose which stories I think "count". The truth is that there are enough stories with a sympathetic, moral-code practicing Luthor in them that I got that idea from them.
    But that proves my point, that even in the Pre crisis era, Lex went from Anti Villain to a Card carrying Villain, depending on the story. Which version of Pre Crisis Lex is the correct one?

    Quote Originally Posted by Adekis View Post
    I agree it was petty of him to pull the whole "you did that on purpose" thing, but he just made the most important discovery of his life and had it destroyed in the space of seconds. Maybe it was petty that he didn't accept Superboy's apology, maybe it was petty that he decided Superboy did it on purpose and that devoted the rest of his life to proving he was a better criminal than Kal-El was a hero, but I see why he did it. I don't think it was that petty, except for the whole "devote my life to crime" thing. That was pretty extreme. The rest of his reaction up to that point makes sense to me though, and it's both necessary for his character and logical from a certain perspective that he would take the extreme reaction and become a super-criminal.
    The problem is though, Lex's lab caught on fire while he was performing this experiment and he asks for Superboy's help. The fire was Lex's fault and he asked for Superboy's help. Superboy of course cared about saving Lex's life above anything else and do the first thing that came to mind to save Lex's life. So Lex loses his hair and his experiment and blames Superboy for it. Except what is the alternative, Superboy does nothing and let's Lex die in a fire? Or does Lex have so little emotional intelligence, that he is mad that Superman didn't save him and his experiment and hates Superman simply because he didn't do everything perfect. Lex may have high intelligence, but he has low wisdom. Either way, it makes Lex seem petty and unsympathetic.


    Quote Originally Posted by Adekis View Post
    No, the tragedy is that Luthor thinks he could be the World's Greatest Hero if not for Superman. Of course he could be a hero with Superman around. He knows that. His problem is that he doesn't think he could be the World's Greatest Hero. He thinks he would always be second best compared to Superman. Thus: he becomes the Greatest Criminal because he won't be second best. He is not interested in being like Batman. Batman is not the Greatest, and Batman doesn't use his real name, unlike Lex Luthor (another reason I don't like that Dominus story). I don't think you're wrong about Luthor caring about praise more than helping people. If there was no Superman, Luthor would have been the Greatest Hero, certainly- but not by the virtue of not having the competition. It'd be because he actually bothered to try. If Luthor the criminal tried, there's a good chance he'd still be the best, or at least Superman thinks so. His ego stops him from being the Greatest Hero, and that's really the tragedy I was talking about.
    But that speaks to my point, Lex is some glory hound who cares about praise, rather then doing the right thing. If Lex truly cared about doing the right thing, he would do it anyway, whether Superman was there or not. So ultimately he doesn't care about doing the right thing and I don't find delusional egomaniacs who can't get over themselves sympathetic in the least. If Superman wasn't there, how do we know Lex would do the right thing and not come up with some other excuse to act like a petty egomaniacal jerk. Not really a sympathetic villain. There is nothing wrong with a villain motivated by pettiness, but let's call a spade a spade, pettiness is a very unsympathetic motive and it has always been the driving motive behind Lex's hatred of Superman.

    Quote Originally Posted by Adekis View Post
    I do think Luthor kills people, I just don't think he kills innocent people- civilians. I'd not have a problem with him killing other menaces (did you read Action #899 where he snaps Brainiac's neck? How cool was that?) or even cops or other agents of justice who try to stop him if there's no other way to stop them stopping him- just not civilians.
    I disagree somewhat, ever heard the quote "you can't make an omelette, without breaking a few eggs?" I could imagine Lex being willing to sacrifice some innocent lives to ensure a greater goal that Lex thinks will improve the world, most sympathetic villains are willing to make that trade off (like Magneto and Veidt).

    You gotta have Lex be somewhat ruthless to be a menacing and using a "needs of the many go before the needs of the few" philosophy makes a good counterpoint to Superman's "every life is precious" philosophy

    Quote Originally Posted by Adekis View Post
    As for Xanatos, I am entirely unfamiliar with him. Ironically, I had only heard the line "revenge is a sucker's game" in Young Justice, where Lex Luthor himself said it. I'm not sure whether I consider Luthor's career in crime to be revenge or not. He certainly defines himself against Superman, but it's certainly not all about that one day in Smallville when he lost his hair and his greatest experiment. Even on that day, he knew that. I like the idea that he's smart enough to know revenge is not smart, but he certainly has revenge-y overtones. Hmm... Worth thinking about.
    That's because the guy who created the Young Justice show, Greg Wiesman, was also the guy who created Xanatos. Lex was filling Xanatos' role in that show, rather then being the traditional petty and vengeful mastermind he often plays in the comics.

    If you want to learn more about Xanatos, check out this link:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Xanatos

    Xanatos has more emotional intelligence then Lex generally, considering he doesn't want to destroy his enemies in that show, simply manipulate them to serve his ends or failing that getting out of the way of his latest scheme. If his enemies foil his scheme, he bares no ill will, that is the cost of doing business. He always has plans within plans, so if his primary plan fails, he has a secondary one. Lex is defined by pettiness, while Xanatos is not. The Gargoyle Clan managed to send Xanatos to prison for six months and he still didn't hold a grudge, does Lex not hold grudge against Superman for all the times Superman put him away?

    If Lex wasn't petty he could care more about doing the right thing then praise and he wouldn't be mad that Superboy failed to save his experiment while saving his life.

    I will admit though, Lex's lair as pictured above is kinda fun in a goofy way.
    Last edited by The Overlord; 06-01-2014 at 11:37 PM.

  5. #50
    Extraordinary Member Robotman's Avatar
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    So many people were upset when Jesse Eisenberg was tapped to play Lex in Superman vs Batman. But he's proven he can play a young, egotistical, genius, who will step on anyone who gets in his way in The Social Network.

    He was very Lex-like in this scene.


  6. #51
    Legendary Member daBronzeBomma's Avatar
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    I'll get to what Jesse Eisenberg can bring to Luthordom in 2016 (hint: Heath Ledger potential meets Forever Evil bad-assery). But let's get back to the previous live-action Luthors.

    We mentioned the highly competent Lyle Talbot earlier from 1950.

    Now let's get to the most charmingly problematic portrayal of Lex: Gene Hackman.

    Hackman, as most SupermanFans already know, played Lex Luthor 3 times, in 1978's SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE, 1980's SUPERMAN II and 1987's SUPERMAN IV - THE QUEST FOR PEACE.

    In S1, Hackman played Luthor has a land-obsessed criminal with a hairpiece. In S2, he was a subservient lackey to General Zod. In S4, he played Lex has a wannabe arms dealer who creates Nuclear Man (a poor man's Bizarro ... make that a homeless man's Bizarro).

    I'll just say my opinion outright: Gene Hackman's portrayals of Lex Luthor are the triple-most damaging things to ever happen to Lex Luthor. Thanks to him, the general population's perception of Luthor became that of a tacky buffoon, instead of the dangerously complex villain he could have been. His performances hurt the Luthor brand for decades.

    Gene Hackman's portayals of Lex is to Luthor what Frank Miller's TDKR story is to Superman.

    What is your opinion of Gene Hackman's Luthor?


    S1



    S2



    S4
    Last edited by daBronzeBomma; 06-02-2014 at 06:33 AM.

  7. #52
    Mighty Member Adekis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Overlord View Post
    The problem is there a lot of stories in the Silver Age where Lex is presented as a petty jerk and card carrying villain, there was nothing really sympathetic about Lex in that story where he teamed up with Joker to make those robots. Sure he was not killing people left and right, but so what? That just makes he is not a total monster, not that he is a sympathetic villain. Wizard from Fantastic Four doesn't commit mass murder, but he is such a petty jerk, he is not sympathetic. There is a huge middle ground between a total monster and a very sympathetic villain and I think Lex is in that middle ground. I also don't find the tale from the Silver Age where Lex murdered Superman sympathetic either.
    I believe we are operating under a few different assumptions which make dialogue between us- let us say difficult, because we are speaking of different things.
    Firstly, in the stories where I like Silver / Bronze age Luthor, he was still a card carrying villain. Anti-Villain and Card Carrying Villain are not mutually exclusive categories. He's a thief and a vandal, destroys public property often, occasionally tries to overthrow governments, and he mocks the law at every turn. He's a criminal, and unlike later versions of the character, he never tries to cover it up with lawyers or status as a "legitimate businessman". He was honest, and I found that very likable. In addition, being a criminal never kept him from doing things like saving people's lives at his own expense on several occasions.

    I do think not killing innocent people was sympathetic, because the fact that he didn't do it because of a moral code was a plot point that came up a few times. Even if it was originally instated because of censorship, it still served to make the character more interesting and complex, just as Batman's code against killing did, or Superman's.

    And I don't think that the one where he killed Superman portrayed him too sympathetically either, honestly. Did I give the impression that I did? I meant I don't think killing Superman is against his moral code.

    But that speaks to my point, Lex is some glory hound who cares about praise, rather then doing the right thing. If Lex truly cared about doing the right thing, he would do it anyway, whether Superman was there or not. So ultimately he doesn't care about doing the right thing and I don't find delusional egomaniacs who can't get over themselves sympathetic in the least. If Superman wasn't there, how do we know Lex would do the right thing and not come up with some other excuse to act like a petty egomaniacal jerk. Not really a sympathetic villain. There is nothing wrong with a villain motivated by pettiness, but let's call a spade a spade, pettiness is a very unsympathetic motive and it has always been the driving motive behind Lex's hatred of Superman.
    Secondly, I think we're using the terms "sympathetic" and "petty" in slightly different ways. Luthor was always a villain, he was just a villain with heroic qualities. He saved people at the expense of his own goals and freedom during situations where it could not possibly have affected his reputation. During such times, I don't think he did a logical risk analysis and decided to act, he just did the right thing. I am speaking of the first Kandor story in particular, where he almost had everything he ever wanted- an even playing field with Superman, the chance to kill him for good on even terms, and he let it all slip away just to help people. He even got Superman to help them for him. That's a heroic action. I said before that the story in Superman #416 where Luthor saves young Cal Anderson and is unable to escape because of it, that he did it because not to would hurt his reputation, but to be honest, I don't think he thought it through that much, he just did the right thing. Escaping and letting Cal die is a perfect example of "breaking a few eggs", but instead, he saved the boy. To me, that's a heroic action. To me, that's enough to make Luthor sympathetic.

    On the topic of whether Luthor would still commit crimes without Superman there, I have to admit, I don't think it's in any Silver or Bronze age comic, and in Modern stories where he outright says "I would be a hero if not for Superman!", I totally agree with you that he's just using it as an excuse. I don't think the Silver / Bronze Age Luthor ever tried to say that was the case though, it just was. I got this interpretation of the character from an interview with Elliot Maggin on the Superman Homepage's "Radio KAL Live!" podcast where I called in with a question (here paraphrased) about Luthor: "What would Luthor have done with his life without Superman to define himself against?" and Maggin responded that Luthor would have been a hero- that world's closest thing to Superman. Now, maybe that makes Luthor petty.

    In the Superboy story where he loses his hair, I'm not so sure he is, at least initially. He blames Superboy because he thought Superboy killed the experiment deliberately. He obviously takes it way too far, but I am not about to blame young Lex for having low wisdom. He is a kid. Most kids have low wisdom, Superboy included. Superman later regretted the way he handled the situation, and I believe he even wished he'd done it differently- though I don't know where I remember him doing that, unfortunately. However, in the aftermath of that accident, I have come to the conclusion, from our debate, that you are correct. Lex is certainly petty and vengeful later on when he begins turning to crime, and he lets the hate spawned in that accident define him the rest of his life. From this point on his goal will be proving he is better than Superman. At first, when he's a kid, I think it's just revenge, then it becomes something a bit more ideological as he gets older. My problem isn't Luthor being petty and murderous toward Superman, it's the character who popped up later on who's a jerk to everybody for no reason- like in Adventures of Superman #4 where he fires some scientists in person just to laugh at them. That's not Lex. He's hateful to Superman, he's not just a jerk to everybody. That's what I mean when I say I don't think of him as being petty. Bronze Age Luthor was demanding of his employees, but they were treated well.

    I disagree somewhat, ever heard the quote "you can't make an omelette, without breaking a few eggs?" I could imagine Lex being willing to sacrifice some innocent lives to ensure a greater goal that Lex thinks will improve the world, most sympathetic villains are willing to make that trade off (like Magneto and Veidt).
    Luthor isn't like Magneto or Veidt though- well, a little like Veidt, but not that much. Those are still both Anti-Heroes. Lex doesn't really concern himself with the world's needs too much, except maybe to try and keep Superman from holding back social growth, which would be, at best, a secondary benefit to killing the Man of Steel.

    I think the closet thing to the Luthor who plans to help the world is the (apparently Xanatos-Inspired) Luthor from Young Justice, who tries to manipulate the situation so that Earth is a major player in the intragalactic field. I think that Luthor qualifies as an Anti-Hero. Luthor never gets less petty than that, and never more petty than Byrne's Luthor, whose hair loss-equivalent came the first time Superman sent him to jail and fired someone just for having (what he thought was) a wrong idea. I think that Luthor qualifies as a totally unsympathetic villain. I don't think Silver Age Luthor was ever too mad about jail. He was mad that Superman beat him again and again, but not about going to jail specifically. He accepted it as part of the justice system he implicitly agreed to punishment by when he became a criminal.

    Man, Xanatos sounds cool. I never got into Gargoyles- never got past the somewhat goofy main character concepts. Might have to look into it.

    I will admit though, Lex's lair as pictured above is kinda fun in a goofy way.
    Hell yeah.
    Quote Originally Posted by daBronzeBomma View Post
    I'll get to what Jesse Eisenberg can bring to Luthordom in 2016 (hint: Heath Ledger potential meets Forever Evil bad-assery).
    I'm not super optimistic, but I'm sure hoping you're right and it turns out that well! I hope he doesn't have Otis though. I've always hated Otis.

    Thanks to him, the general population's perception of Luthor became that of a tacky buffoon, instead of the dangerously complex villain he could have been. His performances hurt the Luthor brand for decades.
    Gene Hackman's portayals of Lex is to Luthor what Frank Miller's TDKR story is to Superman.
    What is your opinion of Gene Hackman's Luthor?
    I've never really liked him, to be honest. I think everything you just said here sums up why pretty well. I mean, it isn't just that he still has hair (or pretends his real hair is a wig), it's his entire demeanor. My favorite Luthor, the Lex in the comics at the time, could be comical at times, but never a buffoon. I think Dick Donner missed a lot of chances to be closer to the comics in that movie, but Luthor was sort of the biggest miss.

    That said- his lair? That was awesome as anything.
    Last edited by Adekis; 06-04-2014 at 01:29 PM.

  8. #53
    Newbie Member Goldarmy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by daBronzeBomma View Post
    I'll just say my opinion outright: Gene Hackman's portrayals of Lex Luthor are the triple-most damaging things to ever happen to Lex Luthor. Thanks to him, the general population's perception of Luthor became that of a tacky buffoon, instead of the dangerously complex villain he could have been. His performances hurt the Luthor brand for decades.
    Citation is needed, whatever you can say about Hackman's Luthor buffoon isn't one of them.
    - A Skrull! Doctor Richards, why have you still not developed a counter measure against them? How many times did they impersonated you, ten?
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  9. #54
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    Hackman's Lex Luthor was exactly what the movie needed. Superman was partly a comedy, and his Luthor was supposed to be funny, but no less dangerous. The man successfully hacked two nukes, for crying out loud.

    Superman: Is that how a warped brain like yours gets its kicks? By planning the death of innocent people?
    Lex Luthor: No, by causing the death of innocent people.
    Life is but a dream

  10. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeP View Post
    Hackman's Lex Luthor was exactly what the movie needed. Superman was partly a comedy, and his Luthor was supposed to be funny, but no less dangerous. The man successfully hacked two nukes, for crying out loud.

    Superman: Is that how a warped brain like yours gets its kicks? By planning the death of innocent people?
    Lex Luthor: No, by causing the death of innocent people.
    Except I don't think the villain of the story should be the comic relief, especially since Superman was not a straight comedy, the first half of the movie was not comedic, I don't think Jonathan Kent's death was played for laughs, so make playing Lex as comic relief, doesn't him as interesting or threatening as a bunch of other comic book villains, Obadiah Stane was more compelling then movie Lex. Movie Lex's plan was stupid and made no sense, it only succeed because the US military were portrayed as idiots, Lex's plans should not depend on everyone else being stupid.

    @ Adekis, no offense, but I the last time I tried to respond to you, I had to cut a bunch of stuff to meet the necessary word count, so I am going to try to keep things brief and avoid a wall of text by not using quotes.

    My problem with Pre crisis Lex, is I don't think pettiness is a sympathetic trait, at all, I think its a very ugly trait. I think Lex's pettiness makes him seem like a very ugly, unsympathetic, that he wants to deny the world its greatest hero, because he is some selfish jackass who is mad that people like Superman over him. None of that is even remotely sympathetic, just because Lex is not some mass murderer doesn't make him sympathetic. He lacks sympathetic goals, his goals are entirely selfish and petty and he is endangering the whole world because of his ego, to me that makes him very short sighted and very unsympathetic.

    There are many Silver age stories where you can totally forget that he is supposed to be sympathetic, like the imaginary tale where he murdered Superman or the story where he teamed with Joker, if there are tales where his supposed sympathetic traits are not even mentioned, how important is it to the character. Heck if we are counting the Superman Spider-Man cross over from the 1970s, Lex wanted to destroy the world because he was a petty jerk and Dr. Octopus seemed more sympathetic then Lex.

    I also think a card carrying villain and a sympathetic villain are not a good mix. Really nowadays, the only card carrying villains are either pure evil or jokes, I can't think of sympathetic villain who goes around talking about how evil he is and is played seriously.

    I mean if Silver Age Lex was so sympathetic, why does he continue to team up with Brainiac, who was actually pretty evil for a Silver Age and through out the Pre crisis era was a monster. Shouldn't Lex have been actively fighting against Brainiac if he is supposed to be sympathetic?
    dt
    Here's the thing you can have a villain who is sympathetic and murdered, Mangeto and Veidt both fit that bill and you can have a villain who is not a killer and be unsympathetic by virtue of just being a jerk, which say the FF villain Wizard fit into. Magneto may have a bigger body count then the Wizard, but the Wizard is still less sympathetic then Magneto.

    I think nowadays, the only way to make Lex sympathetic, is to have him realize his petty nature, I don't really disagree that the acts of Post crisis pettiness were out of character, it was just taking the pettiness of Pre crisis Lex and taking them to a logical conclusion.

    I don't mind Lex being a sympathetic villain and I think Lex should not be a total monster, but to make him sympathetic I think Lex has realize and wrestle with his petty nature, its hard to make Lex sympathetic and have him revel in pettiness.
    Last edited by The Overlord; 06-04-2014 at 03:51 PM.

  11. #56
    Legendary Member daBronzeBomma's Avatar
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    In case anyone's wondering who else is left to go on the Live-Action Lex Luthor Hit Parade, take a peek at ALL the previous Lexes* on one pic:



    * = we'd swap out Clancy Brown's animated Lex when a legitimate photo of Jesse Eisenberg as a live-action Lex surfaces



    We've covered Lex Luthor I: Lyle Talbot (1950).

    We've covered Lex Luthor II: Gene Hackman (1978 - 1987).

    Now we're at Lex Luthor III: Scott James Wells (1988 - 1989).

    I remember watching SUPERBOY when it was airing, but not so much its first season which starred Wells. Consequently, I don't have much to go on The Most Forgotten Luthor. Does anyone remember this guy? Was he any good? Hard to find good video on him on youtube.



    Last edited by daBronzeBomma; 06-05-2014 at 01:21 PM.

  12. #57
    Tin Man MikeP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Overlord View Post
    Except I don't think the villain of the story should be the comic relief, especially since Superman was not a straight comedy, the first half of the movie was not comedic, I don't think Jonathan Kent's death was played for laughs, so make playing Lex as comic relief, doesn't him as interesting or threatening as a bunch of other comic book villains, Obadiah Stane was more compelling then movie Lex. Movie Lex's plan was stupid and made no sense, it only succeed because the US military were portrayed as idiots, Lex's plans should not depend on everyone else being stupid.
    Well, I didn't say Superman was straight comedy, it was PART comedy. And it was, there very campy, tongue in cheek elements to it. And I feel Gene Hackman's performance perfectly matched the movie. His Luthor was a sinister sociopath who enjoyed mocking the world around him. He plan didn't just depend on people being stupid, he understood there were idiots running the country and he took advantage.

    As for his plan making no sense, how so? If he succeeded, He would have owned the only land left in California after a major earthquake. Its actually a very good criminal mastermind idea. We're not talking about filling the grand canyon with garbage here.
    I don't see the point of comparing 2008 Obadiah Stane to 1978 Lex Luthor. There are worlds of difference between the two.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeP View Post
    Well, I didn't say Superman was straight comedy, it was PART comedy. And it was, there very campy, tongue in cheek elements to it. And I feel Gene Hackman's performance perfectly matched the movie. His Luthor was a sinister sociopath who enjoyed mocking the world around him. He plan didn't just depend on people being stupid, he understood there were idiots running the country and he took advantage.

    As for his plan making no sense, how so? If he succeeded, He would have owned the only land left in California after a major earthquake. Its actually a very good criminal mastermind idea. We're not talking about filling the grand canyon with garbage here.
    I don't see the point of comparing 2008 Obadiah Stane to 1978 Lex Luthor. There are worlds of difference between the two.
    Lex was a known criminal, seemingly with outstanding warrants for his arrest, how was he going to claim the land he purchased after he destroyed California? If he was planning on claiming the land under a false name, why was he planning on naming things in his new city after himself? It seems like Lex would have been found out as the owner of that land and arrested under one of the outstanding warrants for his arrest. Even if they couldn't prove that Lex caused the Earthquake (there may have been an eye witness who saw Lex at the scene of military conveys carrying the nuclear missiles that were tempered with, they know his female assistant was there.) It would have been very hard for Lex to have made a profit on this scheme. Heck, he likely would destroyed the world economy mistake, which might have rendered his assets still worthless, not many people could have afforded to buy Lex's condos after the entire economy crashes.

    And again, Lex's plan only worked because the US military was presented as being really stupid in that film. Lex's plans should succeed because of his brilliance, not because the authority are written down for him to succeed. One competent solider should have been able to stop Lex's plan dead in his tracks.

    Now I still have give props to Ricard Donner, Superman the movie was the first major super hero movie and it was a good film, he was working without a net, it delivered in many key areas. But for me, Lex was the weak link of the film, I don't find him menacing and I don't find him funny. I would rank Movie Lex pretty low in terms of Comic Book Movie villains, I would rank I lot of obscure villains adatped to film above him: Obadiah Stane, Sebastian Shaw, Whiplash, William Stryker, Deacon Frost. I rank him as being equal with Movie Dr. Doom, another popular villain with a less then successful screen adaption, I would rank him above the real bottom of the barrel villains: Movie Jigsaw, Nuclear Man, Blackheart, the villain from Catwoman, Mr. Freeze, etc, but that's not really high praise.

    This is just my opinion, if some people like Movie Lex, more power to them, I just don't think the comic relief of a movie like this should ever come from the villain, the villain should be played straight to be truly menacing. But this was the major super hero movie, so there was going to be a few pitfalls, its too bad Singer made his Lex a copy of the Donner Lex, I think by 2006 we should have gotten a more serious Lex.
    Last edited by The Overlord; 06-05-2014 at 02:43 PM.

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    Fantastic Member llozymandias's Avatar
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    Luthor (in the Donner/Reeve movies) was a buffoon. Two things in Superman II proved that to me. One Lex returned to wearing a hairpiece after escaping prison. In real life, people (like Michael Milken, for instance) use hairpieces to hide the fact that they have receding hairlines. Or are bald. If you go to prison (or jail) any kind of hairpiece is confiscated. At this point your receding hairline (or baldness) is public knowledge. Thus you have no real reason to wear hairpieces, anymore. Then there is going unarmed to meet Zod & co.. Yes I know, he actually expected them to be his pals. he expected three evil aliens (with Superman's powers) to be nice to him. That is stupid in itself. He must have forgotten that at least once or twice Superman was a bit rough with him. Add the fact that Lex (at this point) knows about kryptonite. An intelligent Lex would have acquired some kryptonite. Or retrieved the chunk miss Tessmacher threw down the stormdrain. Only then would an intelligent Lex meet Zod & co..
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    Read my mind Lois's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lexrules View Post


    Was watching Superman the Movie last night and I just love Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor.
    He's such a fun super villain. *grins*

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