I really want to give Snyder, Goyer and Warner Brothers the benefit of the doubt on this, but I am having a really tough time. I'm not some die hard internet hater. I didn't cry out in venomous rage when Ben Affleck was cast as their Batman... I would rather wait and see. Gal Gadot was not my my first or even second pic to play Wonder Woman, but I think she will do fine (hopefully she follows through on her decision to 'build some muscle' for the role). But this one I am having a tough time with.
First of all, I think Jesse Eisenberg has the wrong look. He is skinny, scrawny and looks really young. Luthor is usually portrayed as being muscular. After all, by his account, Lex Luthor is the pinnacle of perfection for the human race... his body is at the peak of fitness, he is one of if not the most successful man on Earth and his intelligence is second to none. (This in turn fuels his hatred of Superman. The people love the alien and treat him with the reverence that Luthor thinks he should receive.) Now I can let the muscular body go; Luthor is known more for his mind that his brawn. However, Lex Luthor is supposed to be intimidating as knows he holds all the cards in any situation. Even in The Social Network, when Eisenberg was playing the super rich Mark Zuckerberg, he still came across more weaselly than confident. Likewise, his character in Now You See Me seemed to hide behind a wall of self-inflation and arrogance. Above those points though, he looks too young. He looks like a kid! He doesn't look like he would be a ruthless corporate mogul at the command of a multi-billion dollar enterprise. He just doesn't look intimidating to me... or believable.
Secondly, I just don't think Jesse Eisenberg has the acting chops to pull of Lex Luthor. I have seen him in several films and in every one he has that same fast talking monotonic voice. I understand that he has played characters with similar personality attributes to Luthor in both The Social Network and Now You See Me, and he did well in both films. But Lex Luthor is very complex. He needs to come across in a charismatic way in public and like a manipulative bastard in private. I have never seen Eisenberg pull off such a multifaceted performance. I will admit that he has about one more gear than his celebrity doppelganger Michael Cera, but that's not saying much.
I don't want to be the hater (that's Jonny Prophet's job), but I can't get over this weird casting. Does Zack Snyder know something that nobody else does? I had heard a couple of rumored names that would have both been better choices to play Lex Luthor. Bryan Cranston may be a little too old for the part, but his amazing performance as Walter White leaves me with no doubt he would have been excellent. Joaquin Phoenix would have also been great for the role. Anyone who saw him in Gladiator could attest to that.
The reality is, I could name over 20 other actors that I think would have been a better pick to play Lex Luthor than Jesse Eisenberg. Don't think so? Challenge accepted! Michael Fassbender, Viggo Mortenson, Kevin Spacey (yeah, why not?), Bruce Willis, Jonathan Rhys Meyers (it would be like a Tudors reunion!), Johnny Depp, Stephen Lang, Bruce Greenwood, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Billy Campbell, Matt Damon (mostly to have him fight Affleck), Gerard Butler, Joel Edgerton, Clive Owen, Guy Pierce, Jon Hamm, Dominic West, Karl Urban, Kyle Chandler, Ralph Fiennes, Benedict Cumberbatch and Idris Elba.
Yes I would accept a black Lex Luthor played by Idris Elba over Jesse Eisenberg...because at that point, the haters may cry foul but at least I know we would have an awesome Lex Luthor.
By the way, the other casting of Jeremy Irons as Bruce Wayne's butler and confidant Alfred Pennyworth is amusing to me. Beyond his professional scenery chewing abilities, I think Irons will prove the creepiest Alfred ever!