I have no problem with this morning’s news that Jesse Eisenberg is set to play Lex Luthor in Zack Snyder’s “Batman vs. Superman,” and Jeremy Irons will take over fellow senior Brit Michael Caine’s role as Bat butler Alfred.
At least–as the vociferous Twitter reaction indicates–Eisenberg represents a change-up in the next “Superman” movie. If we must return to this all-too familiar villain–played by a bald Kevin Spacey in Bryan Singer’s much-criticized 2006 “Superman Returns”– at least let it be a radical interpretation. Eisenberg can thank his chilly brainiac roles in “The Social Network” and “Now You See Me” for landing this one.
I’d like to think that Warner Bros. will improve on Zack Snyder and David Goyer’s last by the numbers “Superman” outing, “Man of Steel” ($630 million worldwide is not as much as it sounds for a $225-million-plus production) which veered too far toward jam-packed action, but I remain skeptical. Adding Ben Affleck as Batman is a sign that they recognize that they need to add heft to young Superman Henry Cavill.
Should we bank on Affleck’s professed admiration for this script? He tells Playboy:
“I don’t want to give away too much, but the idea for the new Batman is to redefine him in a way that doesn’t compete with the Bale and Chris Nolan Batman but still exists within the Batman canon. It will be an older and wiser version, particularly as he relates to Henry Cavill’s Superman character. It was a unique take on Batman that was still consistent with the mythology. It made me excited. All of a sudden I had a reading of the character. When people see it, it will make more sense than it does now or even than it did to me initially… If I thought the result would be another ‘Daredevil,’ I’d be out there picketing myself. Why would I make the movie if I didn’t think it was going to be good and that I could be good in it?”
Wisely, the new Warners team has pushed the release date back to May 6, 2016. No need to rush on this one. Get it right.