The tech bro/maniacal corporate villain Lex Luthor is going to be in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice isn’t a far-off archetype, not when actual tech CEO bros are actual corporate villains. But a new Fortune “article” (paid viral content) reveals some rather big background plot details, and a little more characterization to Lex Luthor which basically amounts to things we’ve already said.
Let’s break down some of the more revealing paragraphs that you should take away from the latest chapter in hysterically questionable viral marketing.
Alexander Joseph Luthor Jr. is a 31-year-old wunderkind who transformed an aging petrochemical and heavy machinery dinosaur into a tech darling of the Fortune 500 in what some call a superhuman feat.
Stop right there. Superhuman. Get it?
As we patiently wait our turn at the complimentary LexCorp vegan food truck (this day’s fare: pesto-olive pizza with raw almond crust), the son of Alexander Luthor Sr. — Lex Luthor — explains the evolution of LexCorp.
Of course a super villain would be vegan in a 2015 Superman movie. Of course.
And yes, the biggest reveal is that Jesse Eisenberg is Lex Luthor Jr.. This is a new development, as Lex Luthor’s father has either been Jules or Lionel, the latter of whom was the antagonist in Smallville. Even I have gaps in my comic book knowledge, but as far as I know Lex Luthor as we know him has never been a “junior.”
Referring to Alexander Luthor Sr. as a “good businessman” is not unlike calling Napoleon Bonaparte a “competent conqueror.” The East German émigré, who passed away unexpectedly in 2000, arrived on our shores with nothing, but managed to carve out an empire of oil and machinery. By all accounts, he accomplished this feat through sheer grit and ferocity. His enemies, of which there are many, would also probably add “viciousness.”
Being a super villain is hereditary, is what this paragraph is getting at.
“Well, Dad was a complicated guy,” his down-to-Earth son notes as we pass a tasteful display of his world-famous collection of meteorite crystals. “He came from a country where the government, in the guise of protector, had absolute control over the citizens. That drove him. I get it. Heck, I’d hate to see that sort of thing happen over here.”
Down-to-Earth. Meteorite crystals. I can’t take it. I’m both entertained and grossed out by the heavy-handed allusions to literally everything about Superman.
Those who have taken a peek at drafts of the Batman v. Superman script do say that Luthor possesses kryptonite shards, and the trailer kind of gave that away too. But here it’s pretty blunt. To get Batman to v. with Superman, Luthor has to have some leverage over the Kryptonian. Having not read any script online: I’m guessing Luthor will broker a deal with Batman to lend him a few green rocks.
Taking the reins of the family business after the untimely death of his indomitable father, the prodigal son boldly changed the direction of the firm from oil and heavy machinery to tech. LexCorp has quickly become the second largest emerging technology corporation in the world next to Wayne Enterprises.
Partly, the success of this young company comes from Luthor’s willingness to go where Wayne fears to tread. Wayne Enterprises has shied away from military contracts in the last decade.
OK, I’m willing to give it to this part of the article. This is damn neat. Batman v. Superman, being some kind of spiritual adaptation to Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, features a Batman who has “retired” and is about exactly a decade out of practice. He’s older now, and a bit beat up. The Dark Knight Rises did this as well with its Batman starting out “retired” and broken.
I don’t like the idea of Superman having just started out while Batman has been operating and is now retired, but I love this particular nod to Bruce Wayne having given up the mantle.
“It’s a necessity,” Luthor insists. “We live in the most dangerous point of time in all of human history. Statistically speaking, it’s a near certainty that another world-changing crisis is hurtling toward us like a speeding bullet. We have to be ready to defend ourselves. No civilization was ever conquered by having a strong military.”
They have me at “most dangerous point of time” because Superman’s presence signals the DC cinematic universe’s introduction to aliens and all kinds of warped shit. But then they lose me at SPEEDING BULLET. Ugh.
As for the accusations of a few fringe outliers who accuse him of being a “war monger,” Luthor just laughs them off. “I don’t know very many ‘war mongers’ who have a foosball table in the conference room.”
He should have gone with ping-pong.
In the face of Luthor’s self-effacing, easy charm, it’s tempting to see him as “just one of the guys” and not for what he truly is: a giver. Only when pressed does he admit that LexCorp is in the top three charitable corporations in America, just after Kord Industries and Wayne Enterprises. “It’s not a competition,” laughs Luthor. “Besides, I can’t hold a candle to those guys in the debauched billionaire playboy department!”
Holy crap. Ted Kord, a.k.a. the Blue Beetle, exists in the new DC movie universe. He is the billionaire owner of Kord Enterprises, sometimes Kord Industries.
But he downplays the corporate generosity side of LexCorp. “Handouts don’t change the world. The true gift of LexCorp is our products. We are on the cusp of unveiling a technology that will change the world forever.”
When pressed, the youthful mogul will only hint. “It’s about safety. This is a product that will protect you, and everyone, from threats you don’t even know about yet. I don’t want to scare anybody… much. But there are a lot of threats out there, and they’re here today.”
So Luthor is definitely reverse-engineering some Krypton technology, maybe even using said crystal rocks he’s got on display in his freaking living room. Maybe he provides Batman with his amped-up, anti-Superman battle suit?
It’s just lucky for us that, whatever the dangers lurking for us today, we have on our side Lex Luthor, a man of tomorrow.
Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice releases March 25, 2016.