Lex Luthor Explained

Lex Luthor leaves many confused.  What follows is an explanation of Lex’s motives and machinations, then exploded and examined with in-story support.  Inspired by episode 42 of MOSAIC.

We’ll largely stick to in-story sources, although everything discussed is supported by second-tier continuity like the Forbes feature, Wired interview, World of Batman v. Superman promotional comics, TimeOut travel guides, etc.  For example, it’s fun trivia that Clark and Lex share the middle-name Joseph, but not vital for any deduction or conclusion.

First we’ll outline everything in the affirmative, Lex’s motive, machinations, and moves:

Motive

  • Expose “power can be innocent” as a lie.

That’s it.  Everything essentially comes from this multi-layered motive.  Lex means to enact this motive through several big-picture plans.

Machinations

  • Demonize Superman
  • Manipulate Batman to Beat Superman
  • Gain Exclusive Entrance to Ship
  • Develop Doomsday

The first plan is the main plan.  The second plan arises after it is clear Senator Finch won’t publicly legitimize his position.  The third plan ties everything together and creates the fourth plan.  The first three big-picture plans encompass the Lex’s moves until he learns from the ship, when he calls the fourth as an audible.  The final plan covers his moves in the second half of the film.

Moves

  • Preparation & Planning
  • Africa
  • Import License
  • Fundraiser
  • Bombing
  • Entering Ship
  • Develop Doomsday
  • Distract Superman

These big events encompass the main moves Lex makes in order to accomplish his machinations for his motive.  Let’s break it down as a sequence of events expressed in the affirmative for Lex.

Sequence

  • Forms philosophy that “power can be innocent” is a lie to be exposed due to abuse
  • Has an existential crisis in response to Superman
  • Researches Superman and uncovers his secret identity, Batman’s secret identity, and other metahumas
    • Steals surveillance footage
    • Runs facial recognition software over footage
    • Creates ties within intelligence community
    • Develops ability to smuggle
  • Discovers a sliver of Kryptonite and seeks more
    • Begins public ties with government (AMRIID)
  • Wants to demonize the symbol of Superman before killing him
    • To expose the lie
    • To force the world to make sense
    • To send a message to other metahumans to stay in shadows
  • Enacts his plans once enough Kryptonite is found
  • Sets up Superman in Africa as enacting an international incident
    • Creates narrative for Lex to leverage with Congress
    • Calls public to question Superman
    • Tests Superman’s abilities
    • Messes with Superman
  • Proposes Silver Bullet deterrent
    • Requests import license
    • Granted ship access
    • Granted Zod’s body
  • Takes Zod’s fingerprints but does not enter the ship
    • Doesn’t want to be stopped by Senators who granted access to begin with
    • Doesn’t want to share the knowledge within with the world without
  • Denied import license by Senator Finch
    • Understands Senator Finch supports the “oldest lie”
    • Decides to kill Senator Finch (bomb plot)
    • Prepares to smuggle Kryptonite (White Portuguese plot)
    • Prepares to provoke Batman further (files, notes, and bombing)
  • Invites Bruce to fundraiser
    • Allows pre-selected files to be stolen by Bruce
    • Offers Bruce an opportunity to see same files legitimately
    • Allows Clark access to Bruce to know what he thinks
    • Allows Lex to perpetuate the myth of his father and his public face
  • Bombs the Senate hearing
    • Revenge against Senator Finch
    • Removes Mercy as the only witness tying him to Keefe
    • Stops Superman from speaking and swaying public and committee
    • Stops subcommittee oversight over ship entrance
    • Stops subcommittee from pulling or ending ship access
    • Sullies Superman as powerless and collateral causing
    • Shakes Superman to the core
    • Provokes Batman to anger
  • Enters ship
    • Asks: How to defeat Superman? Learns about Doomsday
    • Asks: Any others like Superman? Learns about Darkseid
  • Decides to develop Doomsday
    • Sees Doomsday as the perfect devil
    • Doomsday becomes endgame
    • Puts clock on the endgame
  • Distracts Superman so Doomsday can cook
    • Kidnaps Martha
    • Kidnaps Lois
    • Distracts Superman with Batman
  • Unleashes Doomsday
  • Communion
  • Arrest

Support

Motive: Expose “power can be innocent” as a lie

The most concise statement of Lex’s psychological origins, motives, and intentions come these lines:

Lex: No man in the sky intervened, when I was a boy, to deliver me from Daddy’s fists and abominations.  I’ve figured it out way back.  If god is all powerful, he cannot be all good.  And if he’s all good, then he cannot be all powerful.  And neither can you be.  They need to see the fraud that you are.  With their eyes.

So because of childhood trauma (the same basis for Batman’s origins), Lex arrives at a world-view which is imposed upon Superman and which Lex feels the world must see.  This is Lex likely at his most truthful and transparent because he’s already shown his hand by kidnapping and taking credit for Batman’s challenge, “Ripe fruit his hate.  Two years growing.  But it did not take much to push him over actually: little red notes, big bang, you let your family die!”  As we’ll see, Lex already knows Doomsday (and likely Darkseid) is coming, so Superman is “good as dead” and this is one of his last opportunities to express himself to the source of so much of his own existential turmoil.

Overall, Lex limits his lies.  He obscures his meaning and intent with double meanings, wordplay, sarcasm, irony, etc. but most of the time he’s either telling the truth or his intentions can be uncovered in what he’s saying.  Which is to say, his lines support his psychology but can’t always be taken at face value.

Machination: Demonize Superman

Lex wants to change the public perception of Superman to align with his own views and deter any other would-be “gods among men.”

It’s clear that Lex appreciates Superman’s public image.  He states, “The problem of absolute virtue.  The problem of you on top of everything.  You above all.  Ah – ’cause that’s what god is.”

While Lex understands that is the public perspective, he believes that to be a lie and a fraud.  Superman is a monster during his silver bullet pitch.  Superman is a devil when his import license is denied.  Superman is a demon when calling Martha a witch.

It’s critical to understand that Lex does not just want Superman dead.  “They need to see the fraud that you are.”  Simply killing Superman might call into question whether Superman was a “power” but it wouldn’t expose “power can be innocent” as a lie.  Just killing Superman while he was publicly perceived as innocent, only removes him as an example of power.  Worse, it invites him to be martyred and replaced by other metahumans who perpetuate the same lie.  This is, in fact, how the film actually ends!

Lex is completely aware of and wishes to deter other metahumans through Superman.  This exchange occurs in his silver bullet pitch:

Lex: Now Rocky is radioactive, but what he needs from you is an import license.

Finch: And why would we want to weaponize this material?

Lex: As a deterrent.  A silver bullet to use in reserve against the Kryptonians, so the day does not come Madam when your children are waiving daisies at a reviewing stand.

Barrows: Last I looked the only one of those flying around up here was Superman.

Lex: Hah, yes, Superman… yeah… but there are more of them.

Finch: The metahuman thesis.

Lex: Yes, the metahuman thesis.  More likely than not, these exceptional beings live among us.  The basis of our myths.  Gods among men.  Upon our little blue planet here.  Now you don’t have to use a silver bullet, but if you forge one, well then, we don’t have to depend upon the kindness of monsters!

In other words, this isn’t merely speculation.  Lex explicitly states it!  He wants to deter the other metahumans with a Superman-specific weapon.

To Lex, Superman is a symbol to and for all these other metahumans.  Note how he interchanges “gods” and “monsters” as equivalent.  Lex categorizes the toleration of Superman for protection as “depending on the kindness of monsters.”  Lex’s reliance on the quote is intentional and multilayered.  The original quote is, of course, “depending on the kindness of strangers” which relates to Superman’s moniker, “Strange visitor from another planet; who came to Earth with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men.”  In substitution, Lex could be reinforcing Superman’s deity “beyond mortal men”, strangeness “strange visitor”, and casting it all as “monster.”  Of course, in-story, we don’t know that the “strange visitor” association exists.

Nonetheless, the underlying work by Tennessee Williams is entirely on point.  Blanche DuBois says the line as a fanciful self-deception, to cope with the traumatic reality.  She calls abuse “kindness” and Lex is accusing Superman’s supporters of the same.

Lex believes humanity has deluded itself into accepting Superman as a kind stranger, when he’s actually the first public monster among others who could arise following his example.

Move: Preparation & Planning

With the above motive, Lex begins to accrue the only kind of power he can accumulate to compete: knowledge.

Lex: Knowledge is power.

Lex learns that metahumans exist, that Bruce Wayne is Batman, that Clark Kent is Superman, that Kryptonite exists, and more.  While a mechanical explanation for how he learns all these things beyond money isn’t necessary, we have plenty of hints and clues into how he does.  We know Lex has ears inside the Central Intelligence Agency because Knyazev knew the CIA was going to be in Africa and Lex knew Lois had been digging into the experimental rounds.  We know that Lex has acquired footage and files from STAR Labs, banks, convenience stores, and more.  We know that Lex is running facial recognition software over it because we see Diana’s face get matched.  So, in short, a mountain of data mined by a premiere tech company is able to uncover insights not available to general public.

Not really a radical concept considering the 1980s Man of Steel comic had a computer do exactly the same thing!  Only the Lex in the comics ignored the answer as impossible; due to his own hubris and projections of who Superman would be.  This film merely extends the logical conclusion of that concept with a Lex willing to accept the analysis.  All of this knowledge proceeds the main action of the film and is generally not acted upon until the discovery of Kryptonite in the Indian Ocean, since Superman is the only public symbol or example Lex can use.

Move: Africa

With the discovery of Kryptonite, Lex can strike back at Superman.  Without it, Superman survives any slings and arrows or slander and libel Lex can spew… and there is always opportunity for redemption.  Lex needs Kryptonite to kill Superman while he’s sullied so the symbol is slain too.  Africa is the first step to that.  It is intended to accomplish three main things: 1) Test Superman; 2) Provoke government oversight into Superman; and 3) Cause public questioning of Superman.

All three goals are accomplished.  Lex is able to measure and rely upon Superman being drawn to Lois in jeopardy.  The incident causes a Congressional Committee to inquire into Superman.  Superman’s halo comes off and people begin to question the collateral consequences of Superman acting unilaterally.  The plan was never to frame Superman for the murder of the General’s men, discussed in more detail in the podcast, instead it was to cause people and the government to question Superman.

Note how logical and procedural the plan is.  If this plan fails, no problem.  Lex simply enacts another one after it.  So long as he isn’t caught he can keep trying.  Insofar as this plan is going to go, he isn’t going to be caught because the evidence is suppressed by the nature of the terrorist movements, by the Nairomi government’s own atrocities, and by the CIA’s involvement inciting the incident.  On top of all of that, Lex has one more fail safe- like marked bills or a dye pack even after defeating all of a bank’s measures- traceable rounds.

Lois isn’t exactly right in her brief to Perry.  It’s not that the rounds aren’t traceable.  It’s that they aren’t traceable by her.  They’re preeminently traceable by Lex.

In fact, Lex confronts Lois about that on the helicopter pad.  Indicating he knows what she’s been up to.  When she says she’s proven his involvement, his retort?  “Unfortunately, that will blow away like dust in the desert.”  He’s not above a cover-up.  The rounds are evidence he can use to track any escaping evidence or subsequent investigation, because the ammunition is only known to and understood by his people.  The ammunition immediately throws up red flags for Lex.  This puts any investigation on his radar first and allow Lex to keep tabs on or clean-up if necessary.  If he used rounds without intrigue there would be nothing to trace or track and an investigation could happen under his radar.  Even if the Nairomi incident is airtight, the rounds allow any snoops to be sniffed out and “blown away like dust.”

The plan works and Senator Finch begins hearings to call Superman in to account for his actions.  Again, if Africa failed, logically Lex just tries again.

Move: Import License

Due to Lex’s Africa move, there’s now an official government-sanctioned narrative of accountability.  Lex can pitch his silver bullet deterrence plan (and ask for ship access as a part of that).

If his import license is granted, that means Senator Finch is on his wavelength.  She sees the need to keep the monsters in check.  She supports his public deterrence of Superman which puts him in his place and sends a message to all the hidden metahumans to stay in theirs.  Lex is okay with this outcome.  It satisfies his motive.

If the United States Government is above Superman, holds him accountable, and finds having a weapon of assassination against him as acceptable, then he’s won.  People see Superman as the threat that he is, Superman is subjugated and not “you above all” and there is no more existential crisis.  Lex can simply stop, his plans and machinations and moves can stop here.  On the off-chance Superman starts to win back the people and the sentiment shifts, well, Lex can always steal the Kryptonite from himself and use it to kill Superman first.  Of course, that’s not what happens, Senator Finch blocks the import license later on.

In the meantime, under the narrative Lex created, it’s reasonable to ask for access to Kryptonian artifacts- the ship and Zod- to research and develop alternatives to Rocky.

Move: Zod’s Fingerprints

Granted access, Lex wants to move faster than the government has been willing to do.  Two years and they’ve cautiously and carefully not entered the ship.  Lex wants the secrets within, but he knows that the Senators are still gatekeepers to his access.  Lex has to play “Mother May I?” to get his import license, to access the ship, or to test Zod’s body.  Entering the ship is another step he’d have to run by their oversight and obtain permission to do.

If he asks to enter, they will either stop him- in accord with the caution of the last two years- or they will demand that he share what he learns inside.  Either way, he loses if he tries to enter now.

Lex secures Zod’s fingerprints for future use.

Machination: Manipulate Batman to Beat Superman

Everything changes once Senator Finch denies Lex’s import license.  It removes the legitimacy from his deterrence plan so Lex has to look to a vigilante that the public has deemed quasi-legitimate.  Aside from personal reasons for wanting Senator Finch dead, described in detail in the podcast, Lex has several practical reasons all based in this understanding: Senator Finch supports the “oldest lie.”

The one thing Lex is motivated by, fighting for, and trying to expose?  Senator Finch believes.  Senator Finch is not going to act as Luthor’s McCarthy to condemn Superman and hold a deterrent over him.  To Lex, Senator Finch is deceived and believes, ultimately, in Superman’s innocence.  That a deterrent is unnecessary and that simply opening clear lines of communication will resolve the issues and uncertainty around Superman.  Senator Finch is an optimist who recognizes that Superman’s power to make state-level interventions and “that kind of power is very dangerous” (a line from the trailers that didn’t make the theatrical cut)… yet believes that a conversation will solve the issue.

Senator Finch’s Position

This is a reasonable and legitimate position.  The advent of democratic world powers and diplomacy has greatly reduced the incidence of war through clear national boundaries and rules of engagement. It makes it easier to understand when or if something can or should constitute an act of war, require retaliation or reparation, etc.  Open lines of dialogue and diplomacy between clearly defined states and entities allow war to be avoided.  However, the advent of globalized entities and institutions like the internet, multinational corporations, and banks can confuse the issue when with, a cyber-attack for example, you can’t be certain whether something is state-sponsored or not and whether it is an attack or not and whether it is worthy of a response, escalation, or what not.

Superman represents a similar question mark.

Does he act with the consent and will of the people?  And therefore are his actions to be interpreted as American?  Or does he act by his own will?  What are his boundaries?  What rules will he maintain or break?  It is entirely justified to call in Superman to account, question him, but still be optimistic that the conversation will resolve the situation without need for condemnation.  Senator Finch wanted Superman to count the cost of his actions, to consider them carefully, and give the country clarity on his intentions.  And ultimately, she believed she’d be satisfied with the answers.

If she didn’t believe that and if she genuinely thought that Superman would either be a threat or that his answers would make him a threat, she would have recognized the need for Kryptonite.  In blocking the import license, she was revealing her position to Lex.  Although Lex doesn’t like her position, he knows that she’s right in a sense.  Lex has seen how Superman has enthralled the people.  Lex knows Superman is just a farm boy from Kansas.  Lex expects that Superman will eventually speak, the Senator will support the “oldest lie”, and his efforts in Africa will be undone.  The questions raised will be answered, the people will again trust and believe in Superman, and Lex will find himself back on the other side of that sentiment.

The only lone crazy one calling for a Superman deterrent.  Once everyone loves Superman again, consider Senator Barrows’ satisfaction in pulling Lex’s ship access for his humiliating Jolly Rancher stunt.  Lex sees all this and so he switches gears.

Batman As Backup

Senator Finch wasn’t going to create a McCarthy-like public spectacle to publicly shame, condemn, and subjugate Superman.  She had blocked Lex’s legitimate access to Kryptonite.

So Lex decides to use Batman to create a public spectacle which will allow him to shame, condemn, and maybe kill Superman.  Senator Finch’s block of the import license sets into motion Lex’s plot to kill her, his intention to smuggle the Kryptonite into the country, and to provoke Batman into fighting Superman.

Although Batman is a vigilante, he’s embraced by the people as quasi-legitimate.  Lex knows that people will accept quasi-legitimate sources.  He sends Wallace Keefe, another law-breaker, a vandal, to Senator Finch who accepts his message as a means to get Superman to count the cost.  So Lex knows that he can send his message with Batman and it will be heard.

Move: Invite Bruce to Fundraiser

Lex knows Bruce is Batman and invites him to the fundraiser to align him with his plan.  Lex invites Bruce, comments about bringing people together and about Bruce and Clark fighting, and he offers Bruce a look at his Research & Development.  Mercy was on the red-carpet waiting for Bruce, kept an eye out for him during the evening, and kept track of him throughout.  When Bruce ultimately unlocks the file, you can see Lex’s thinking and planning based on what is in the file and what isn’t.

Despite knowing everything about Superman and being obsessed with Superman, there is nothing directly about Superman in the file.  There are specifications for Kryptonite (which Batman calls up and uses while forging his weapons) and there are files which resolve the mystery of the White Portuguese (which allows Batman to plan the theft of the Kryptonite).  There is nothing in the files about Batman, despite confirmation at the end that Lex knows the secret identity.  There are, however, files about other metahumans who might follow in Superman’s footsteps if he isn’t stopped.  The file package primes Batman to take down Superman just as Lex intends.

If Batman fails to steal the files, Lex had offered a legitimate opportunity to access them if their corporations should team-up and share information as a fall-back contingency.

Move: Bombs the Senate Hearing

By now, it should be clear that the bombing is not meant to kill Superman or frame Superman, despite these getting raised as objections.  If Superman was killed here, his last act would be as one willing to humble himself to talk with the people.  He’d be martyred and replaced by another metahuman down the road.  Nor was the plan to frame Superman for killing the victims.  A bomb would never create that effect, so it’s irrelevant how or how soon after that Superman is cleared of involvement.  It was never the intent to act like Superman was a bomber given his track record and with witnesses around the world watching the live television broadcast.

Instead, the bombing accomplishes so many things for Lex Luthor:

  1. Revenge against Senator Finch
  2. Removes Mercy as the only witness tying him to Keefe
  3. Stops Superman from speaking and swaying public sentiment or the committee
  4. Stops subcommittee oversight into entering the ship
  5. Stops subcommittee from revoking access to the ship
  6. Sullies Superman as powerless, naive, and collateral causing
  7. Shakes Superman to the core
  8. Provokes Batman to anger

Senator Finch, who stopped him and who promotes the “oldest lie” is killed.  Mercy can no longer to tie Lex to Keefe and the bombing.  Keefe can’t testify and tie Lex to the bombing.  Superman doesn’t get to speak and restore his good name.  The subcommittee who granted Lex’s access to the ship and who acted as gatekeepers to further advancement and oversight to any discoveries made were wiped out, giving Lex full and free access to do what he wanted with the ship.  Whereas Senator Finch saw through Lex’s “weapon of assassination” and was optimistic about talks with Superman, interim oversight- if any- might grant Lex even more access under the deterrence narrative after the bombing since: who knows what Superman would do, how Superman would respond, and what they must do to prepare without Kryptonite?

The bombing shakes the public’s faith in Superman’s ability to save and shows that he’s naive, or powerless, or callous, or worse.  It shows that even with the best of intentions, death follows after him and innocents become collateral, caught in the crosshairs of those who hate Superman to that degree.  Superman is shaken to the core, skeptical about the symbol of Superman, and retreats.  Meanwhile, with a single message, “You let your family die!”, Batman is provoked to anger beyond belief.

Batman breaks into Research Park and steals the Kryptonite… all according to plan.

Move: Enters Ship

Lex doesn’t know what he will find or learn inside the ship but he is rewarded with command and the opportunity to learn from the knowledge of 100,000 worlds.  Lex wants to learn all he can but he naturally asks two questions tied to his underlying motivation.

  1. How can he defeat Superman?
  2. Any others out there like Superman?

Batman has the Kryptonite and if he fails, fine, Lex moves on to his next plan to strike at Superman.  So it’s reasonable that the first line of questions relate to defeating Superman should Batman fail.  In response, the ship teaches Lex about Doomsday.  Of course, all of these machinations are meaningless if the cosmos is filled with similarly-powered paragons just waiting in the wings to replace Superman should he die.  So a natural second line of questions asks, “What is the most powerful thing in the cosmos which might come to our little blue planet?”  In response, the ship teaches Lex about Darkseid.  Lex learns Darkseid is coming and so a ticking clock appears.

Move: Decides to Develop Doomsday

In learning about Doomsday, Lex now knows there is a better example of and for his motivation.  Doomsday is inherently destructive, despised, deformed, and demonic while far more powerful than Superman.  Lex no longer has to try to demonize Superman in order to get out his message that “power can be innocent” is a lie, when he can directly prove it with Doomsday.  At this point, ensuring that the world experiences Doomsday is the endgame.  Prior to the ticking clock presented by Darkseid, if Batman failed to kill Superman, Lex simply bides his time and moves on to his next scheme.  He doesn’t need to reveal his hand to Superman or make Superman fight under duress, he can leave those details to Batman.

However, once Doomsday becomes the endgame, it puts a shorter clock on all of Lex’s endeavors and he has to keep Batman and Superman occupied to give Doomsday time to develop.  Otherwise, one or both of the heroes respond to the activity at the crash site and blackouts and stop Lex from completing Doomsday.  Lex kidnaps Martha and Lois to compel Superman to fight and to distract the heroes from his endgame: unleashing Doomsday.

Once Doomsday is released, Lex’s mission is essentially accomplished and he doesn’t really care what happens afterwards.  Whether Doomsday kills him, whether he gets caught, whether he gets caged, etc.  Once he initiated Doomsday he knew he was caught.  The crash site would be surrounded, his helicopters wouldn’t be allowed into its airspace, and all he could do is commune and wait for the authorities to arrive and arrest him.  Whatever Lex learned gave him the conviction that was fine with him.  Until we learn more, Doomsday is a satisfactory expression of his motivation because it exposes what the ultimate power on the planet would be like.

Summary

  • Due to an existential crisis, Lex seeks to demonize Superman and suppress metahumans
  • Lex knows nearly everything before the Kryptonite in the Indian Ocean is discovered
  • Lex doesn’t know what knowledge and power is in the ship and he wants it exclusively
  • He accomplishes these by creating an international incident which creates a conversation about deterring Superman
  • That gives him access to a State forum and access to the ship, but not entrance to the ship or exclusivity to its secrets
  • The State’s forum moderator isn’t on board, so the plan switches to using the Batman to send a message
  • Lex provides Batman with the tools and information to fight Superman
  • Lex’s bombing removes his oversight to enter the ship, stops Superman from changing public sentiment, and provokes Batman
  • If Lex learns nothing inside the ship and Batman fails, Lex would just start another plan another time
  • Instead, Lex learns of Doomsday, a better and more pure example of a devil than demonizing Superman will ever be
  • Lex also learns everyone is on borrowed time, so Doomsday becomes his endgame
  • With Doomsday as the goal, Lex has to distract Superman with Batman; otherwise, Superman stops him upon crash site activity
  • Lex uses Martha and Lois to force Superman to fight under duress, less concerned about secrecy or sullying Superman now
  • Once Doomsday arrives, Lex’s mission is complete and he doesn’t care what happens

As long as you accept the underlying motivation and existential crisis (something that tech billionaires are strangely prone to), you can follow the logic and reasons behind Lex’s actions and see the careful planning and execution required.  You can see how he had fall backs, contingencies, and ways out.  You can see how he course corrects and keeps to his ultimate motive even as circumstances change.  He isn’t a random force of chaos, except to the extent that he accepts Doomsday as the final say on power on Earth (and that’s only an internal interpretation; add what he learns about Darkseid and beyond and his reasons likely come into focus even more).

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87 Comments

  1. My goodness your work is so appreciated. Thank you so much for this. I can’t wait to read it in its entirety.

  2. Mckinnley Riojas

    Could I perhaps turn this analysis into a video (with Credit given of course) to present to the world this absolutely magnificent.

  3. This is so beautiful. Tangible evidence of the depth within the DCEU. This one villain, in this one film has more depth than every single villain in the entire MCU combined.

    • Agreed
      In fact he has more depth than most MCU characters. The DCEU isn’t complicated, it’s mature and grown up. That’s why the general audience enjoy these films more. However, this film didn’t really have too much joy, I like it, but still it would’ve been nice.

  4. I think you need to include the fact that Luthor was a sociopath (also called a psychopath). He had no respect for authority nor human life and the fact that Superman was seen as godlike posed a conflict with his mental alignment. Note that sociopaths normally have few emotions but will learn to fake emotions to hide their condition. This explains why Luthor had that problem getting out what he wanted to say during that speech at his cocktail party.

    • This explains why Luthor had that problem getting out what he wanted to say during that speech at his cocktail party.

      I don’t agree with this interpretation because he’s gives his entire speech smoothly throughout for several minutes. Where he stutters is specific. Not a general difficulty in expressing himself.

      He falls apart immediate after saying, “Knowledge is power. And I’m… [laughs] no… um… no what am I?”

      He trips up because he actually has power in the form of knowledge. Then tries to play it off like he has none and says, “The bittersweet pain among men is having knowledge with no power”, in a way to try and justify his feelings and pain… but then gets confronted by his own hypocrisy and the paradox of that (having JUST said that knowledge is power).

      Up until that point, he’s talking the entire time without issue. It also lends to the idea that Lex is mostly truthful(ish) which is why this even bubbles to the surface to begin with.

      • @DrAwwkward, I still contend that his overarching behavior was that of a sociopath, and that his true nature was that he felt that he was powerful because of his knowledge (to the point that he could kill innocent people with no recourse to get his way). He was trying to cover that fact with his “power is inocent” is a lie theory, but he sort of incriminates himself in that speech.

        • On principle, we get such a small slice of characters on film, I generally don’t find clinical diagnoses that useful a lens for characters without doing the condition a disservice in most cases. Add to that how we colloquialize conditions, it just confuses the matter and adds stigma to conditions which may not apply.

          Yes, Lex treats lives lightly, but that alone isn’t enough to be diagnosed a sociopath unless you’re using it in so broad a sense that basically every villain who kills is. The single biggest marker against Lex being a sociopath is how long he can plan, how much patience he shows, and how successful those plans are. Then, if you start carving out exceptions or spectrum for his diagnoses then really, how useful is it for projecting anything else about him or getting insights? Why wouldn’t those fall into an exception as well?

          It’s sort of the same reason I err on the side a character speaking or acting reliably in their interests and beliefs… if you start to play the game where you excise this act or that, you’re left with fewer and fewer usable points of data.

          Except to argue a point, I’m generally extremely hesitant to put a character in a box and diagnoses creates a high risk of doing just that.

          That said, those are my reasons for why I don’t use this lens or find it personally persuasive. If you get something out of it that’s great. If you see more markers and believe you can predict or gain insight from that, awesome. I just don’t necessarily agree we have enough to diagnose and am skeptical of the value of such a diagnosis.

          • @DrAwkward, although it is difficult to diagnose, the producers left the clues to lead one to believe that Luthor is a sociopath. According to WikiHow (http://www.wikihow.com/Determine-if-Someone-Is-a-Sociopath), sociopaths are usually charming and charismatic. They often feel overly entitled to certain positions, people, and things. They are manipulative, try to influence and/or dominate people around them to get their way. What is most striking about sociopaths is that they have a lack of empathy especially when they have done something to hurt others.

            This description fits Jessie Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor to a tee. In fact there was a scene in the film where Lois Lane calls him psychotic (which was the old term for a sociopath), and he just brushed it off by saying hat is a 3 syllable word for any thought too big for little minds.” That was the biggest clue right there.

          • Your source article points out psychotic and sociopath are different! I think there’s just as many markers, if not more, that he doesn’t fit which kind of negates the value or point of diagnoses.

          • Psychopaths and Sociopaths do share common characteristics, though (see https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/201305/how-spot-sociopath).

          • Only because, by the profession’s own metrics, they’re ill-defined and discarded and excluded in favor of anti-social personality disorder instead… and again, by the list of metrics, Lex fails to meet several of them making the box not particularly predictive or useful. We’re going to have to agree to disagree. I’m not putting it in my analysis for the reasons already stated. If modern mental health professionals are reticent to use the terms, how much more reluctant should a layperson be in labeling people with antiquated diagnostic terms. “Lunatic”, “maniac”, and “hysteria” are similarly disfavored at this time.

            Instead, they’ve become almost entirely slurs, which is essentially how Lois uses it… not as a clinician, but in that irresponsibly sweeping sense that, “anyone who does this should be diagnosed with that” but Lex correctly responds that the label is the refuge for folks who can’t and don’t understand the person being labeled. In the slur sense, send someone thirty years into the past and explain the present state of technology, entertainment, and the like… and they will be called insane, a liar, crazy, etc. among other mental illness related slurs. The biggest risk with boxing Lex into mental illness is the public’s inability and willingness to reach the reasoning, rationality, and roots of their thinking and behavior, but dismiss it all as indecipherable.

            I completely disagree with the impetus to do that.

          • @DrAwkward, okay, for this debate, let’s not use clinical diagnoses as an indicator. Let’s use the words of the actor himself. Jessie Eisenberg admitted that his Lex Luthor was a psychpath just a couple of weeks ago: https://youtu.be/t6

          • The link you provide doesn’t work but it also doesn’t matter. I can’t “not use clinical diagnoses” because that’s my point. That the term outside of its definition has no predictive power and is just a vague insult. Lois uses it in those terms and so does Jesse. So I won’t concede that point. Jesse also said of Lex his intention was that he be “real, relatable, and human … showing humanity” ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D8q_LJwp0G0 ) which contradicts a clinical diagnosis. So there’s no value to adding a vague insult to an analysis (while hijacking a clinical term to do so).

  5. Excellent article. Really well-reasoned and well-written. Makes me want to see the movie again!

  6. Awesome analysis as usual.

    Two questions though;

    You say how bombing the senate removes Mercy and Keefe, thus removing any links between Luthor and Keefe – yet in the Daily Planet next to the article about Clark’s death it says the Luthor was arrested in connection to the Capitol bombing, so it seems they found the link anyway?

    Also, you say that once Doomsday was released, Luthor’s plan was complete, regardless of the outcome. Surely if Superman kills Doomsday then Lex has lost, since Superman is still the most powerful entity on the planet AND he is still innocent/good?

    One more thing – is it just a coincidence that the Batman/Superman gladiator fight happens on the same night that Doomsday is created?

    • I have a longer answer but going to try to power through as many replies as I can in my lunch break.
      1) Delete scene where Lois continues to track down the mystery behind the bombing. I’d say that testimonial evidence is gone but Lois finds additional proofs. If Lex is actively looking to suppress her, he probably can win, but at the end he was open to showing his intentions so he doesn’t care about the loose ends at that point. He just cared about showing he could tie them up if he wanted to.

      2) That’s an inconceivable outcome to Lex. Doomsday is objectively stronger, the answer given by the ship, and an action need only be rationalized by an actor to be reasonable, not the total exclusion of all other possibilities. It is reasonable for you to get out on the road because you expect to make your morning commute. Just because the possibility exists that you might be killed in an unlikely accident doesn’t make that decision unreasonable. The mere unlikely possibility of Superman triumphing over Doomsday exists, doesn’t prevent him from reasonably concluding “God is good as dead.” That statement is an expression of his conclusion, certainty, and therefore peace at that point. If he harbored doubt about the outcome you raise a good point, but he states it without any such doubt.

      3) No. Not something I can explain briefly, but it works out.

  7. http://www.comicbookmovie.com/comics/dc_comics/similarities-between-batman-v-superman-and-watchmen-a138629 This is an article I posted on comicbookmovie.com and I was wondering if you by any chance agree with me?

    • I think I said in my first impressions that the film is like Watchmen in reverse, by which I mean:

      It is, but a reversal and redemption of the message. In Watchmen, the superman judges humanity weak and tolerates their blood sacrifice in cynically adopting a lie for their sake. In BvS, the superman judges humanity worthy and makes the sacrifice in hope that they’re truly worthy for their sake.

      Alan Moore was basically tearing superheroes a new one by saying how weak they’d be as a product of humanity. BvS continues Jor-El’s MOS statement, our heroes stumble and fall like humanity, but they represent the optimism that we’ll all be better one day.

    • Without even having looked yet, I’ll say this – I picked up similarities too, but my understanding of Lex’s motivations differ somewhat from this excellent write-up. I think that Lex’s plan was a bit like Ozy’s plan would have been if he’d had an actual “alien menace” to work with. I think he fully expected Bruce to lose and for Clark to return with his head.

      At that point, he’d have sent Clark off to some far-blown, bogus location to retrieve his mom, set Doomsday to be released when Clark(or someone) next entered the genesis chamber, then gone into hiding. Keeping Superman occupied with Doomsday would allow him to have his mercs recapture and eliminate Lois as well. In the ensuing chaos, he’d get in touch with his government contacts to dispatch forces to assemble the other metahumans he’d found.

      This, in essence, would have made Lex the founder of his own “Justice League” and the savior of mankind by proxy. I think his file folders with their customized icons even indicate that at some future point he’d even envisioned commercially “branding” his pocket heroes.

  8. I have been frustrated with many people saying something like “Lex was kind of like the Joker.” I haven’t challenged them on this because they usually I mean it as a positive thing, but underneath I think they were probably missing what Lex was doing and just saw it as violent chaos.

    To me, Lex is much more purposeful and high-minded (and yes, still evil) than Joker, and this article shows it. Joker is about chaos and the joy of violence, Lex is about a personal battle with god and power.

    • @Sam I recently re-read all of Morrison´s JLA and Lex had kind words about the Joker to say. His positive outlook on the Joker remained the same during Infinite Crisis and both teamed up in the animated universe too. They are obviously different characters (Lex has some good in him and can make good points at times) and calling BvS´s Lex a Riddle knockoff is equally misguided but all of them share HIGHLY important traits.
      Film Lex though has a lower regard for human life than some (but hardy all!) comic incarnations of him and the abuse he suffered at the hand of his father is right out of the Man of Steel post-Crisis reboot too. That one quickly lost his red hair but the Lex Jr. clone-body (Lol, comiXs logic) had even enough for a red ponytail and a 11/10 beard. The only missing trait to have a 100% comic accurate Lex from the Death of Superman would have been an Australian accent. Hehe.

      I also recently re-read 1994´s Superman/Doomsday: Hunter/Prey (the first sequel to his death and Doomsday´s backdoor origin) and it lines up incredibly well with Snyder´s take. It even featured R-level gore, an utter lack of levity and Superman thought of Lois as his moral center / connection to humanity. How familiar…

  9. @Mckinnley Riojas I found this very podcast through the Youtube videos so getting more out there can only help! One could go vital after all.

    I am kind of amazed how few people got Lex. I will admit that i have read a LOT of Superman comics from 1986 forward (and more as the somewhat dark original Golden age stories), so i have a background most viewers just didn´t have, and BvS is borderline Kubrick-esque in the way it refuses to hold the viewers hand but still…
    Lex gave multiple villain monologues in which he spelled out his motivation! I agree with dnno1 that Lex is a sociopath but even Snyder´s and Miller´s Batman aren´t mentally healthy so the focus should be on their overall actions / goals and not if they need to see a doctor. (They decrepitly do…)
    It also baffles me how many people considered Batlfack in the “right”. Most internet commentators have a basic lack of interest in Snyder´s vision to even think about the films i fear. Oh well.

    PS: Lex appears to be awaiting trial in Belle Reve, so he should reappear soon. I strongly suspect him to walk away mostly undamaged from the accusations facing him. He killed everyone who could link him to his criminal acts (even Mercy!) so his biggest problem may be the Wall and not the US government. A hand washed the other…

  10. @Joey More than you think noticed the parallels. IGN´s (6.8) review opened up with a Watchmen comparison, so did one from Forbes (a rare A+) and even my posted Imdb review made multiple Alan Moore references. A Twilight of the Superheroes if you want but Watchmen had a slightly imperfect cinema cut (the most wildly watched version) and was too much too soon for the “untrained” audience.
    The same thing happened to BvS. It truly pains me to see Snyder compared to Micheal Bay…
    You should read Grant Morrison´s Multiversity: Pax Americana. It´s his “deconstruction” of Watchmen with the original Charlton characters and Before Watchmen done right. (Before Watchmen: Minutemen was exceptional though.)

  11. I think I’m a part of the minority who loved BvS very much. And I believe this amazing article you wrote will help people out there who are still wondering about Lex Jr’s motifs and complexity. Thank you for such an insightful article. Cheers! 🙂

  12. Wonderful analysis. Lex was brilliant in the film. I discovered even some new stuff I didn’t realize before. The film became even better in my eyes. I hope to see your take and Batman and Superman in BvS. As well as Diana, because plenty of people consider meta-human files shoehorned into the film…

  13. Hey Doc, I’ve been a fan of your Man Of Steel dissections, and have been eagerly awaiting your BVS podcasts and articles. I’m pretty much on-board with Luthor’s plans within plans and believe he did want Batman to steal the kryptonite from him as well. That shot on Eisenberg’s face when he finds that Batman took the kryptonite was telling for me. He had a semi-angry look, but it looked fake. And the shot lingers on his face for a beat too long and you can notice he almost breaks into a smile, but the camera cuts away. An when the truck w the kryptonite shipment came back badly damaged, Lex didn’t seem fazed that it came back like this; like he had expected it to be attacked (the insane amount of security and weaponry around it was also telling).

    What I can’t quite figure out though is why he made it really hard for batman to steal it from the truck if he wanted Batman to have it?

    I’ve only seen it once and really want to watch it again, so I’m forgetting the sequence of when this occurs in the movie. Did lex actually plan for Batman to take it at this point but because Superman intervened Batman failed?

    • @Arvin Bautista
      My memory is that the batmobile chase was before the Capitol tragedy. So clearly Batman was even more determined after the Capitol, but maybe Lex too was more keen on Batman taking the Kryptonite afterward. (Also, it could be that Lex had two equally-to-him acceptable plans for the Kryptonite… one involving himself using it, the other involving Batman stealing it.)

      • I took it that Lex both expected and wanted Batman to steal the Kryptonite, but he couldn’t make it look like that to Batman. If it was too easy, Batman would be suspicious. So he had to protect it and just trust Batman’s superior skills to eventually get it.

    • I don’t think Lex had it pinned down to the specific moment. We know that he included the White Portuguese into the files during the fundraiser so Lex could expect a Batman attack at anytime afterwards.

      If you read the Wired article interviewing Lex, he comments on Batman as outmoded. I don’t think Batman was his first choice. I actually don’t think Finch was either. I think it started with Waller, then Finch, then Batman. In each case he makes them “audition” or tests them. Waller isn’t willing to get as dirty as him while Finch is around. Finch isn’t willing to deter until Superman speaks. So the security measures around the Kryptonite could simply be legitimate security… but also a gauntlet to test if Batman was worthy to take on Superman. If Batman can’t even steal Kryptonite, then what chance does he have against Superman?

      More importantly, however, is that Batman thinks it’s all his own idea. If Lex actually tried to team-up with Batman, that might actually bring him to his senses. The difficulty of the heist makes Batman think he’s his own agent and he is.

    • Thanks for the responses guys! Good stuff to chew on.

      “More importantly, however, is that Batman thinks it’s all his own idea.”

      I think it really all boils down to that doesn’t it? Make Batman think it was all his idea, to keep Lex as far away from the mess as possible.

      When I think about the scene when Lex discovers that he’s been “robbed” of the kryptonite, the more that scene is set-up by Snyder makes sense. A lot of the criticism about that scene is usually “why didn’t we get to see Batman steal it?” Even I asked myself that initially. I just chalked it up to lack of budget or, we saw enough of Batman kicking butt already.

      But that scene is about Lex’s reaction to getting robbed. Not how cool Batman was when he did it. And the scene becomes even more important in informing the viewer of Lex’s plans within plans. I know people have issues with Snyder’s storytelling, but I really appreciate the different routes he takes to present us with the story.

    • @Arvin Bautista The theft needed to “seem real” for Bruce to swallow the pill and he would have gotten the rock if Superman hadn´t trashed his car.
      The prequel comics also revealed that Lex had been monitoring Batman for quite some time and they aren´t 100% cannon but they needed to be approved by the film team at the same time so i will continue to view them and the interviews and semi-canon material unless they get retconned or go too far. His surveillance on the JLA seemed equally thorough in the film.

      Brian Azzarello´s Lex Luthor: Man of Steel had a similar take on the first “meeting” of Bruce and Lex. Batman was equally tricked into becoming his “Knight in Kryptonian Armour” but he lost BIG time.
      His equally great (and ultra bleak!) Joker GN from 2008 will inform the Suicide Squad film btw. Can´t wait!

  14. Loved this article and loved this movie!!! It was specifically gratifying to see Superman totally shatter Lex`s concept of “you cannot be all powerful and all good at the same time”. Lex mentions to Clark earlier that “No god from the sky intervened to protect me from the blows of my father’s fists and his abominations”, yet later when Doomsday was born, Superman protected Lex from the fists of his very own abomination despite everything he did to him prior. It’s powerful stuff in little details that makes this film so special to me.

  15. Hey DrAwkward, so from your perspective, once Doomsday is released Lex doesn’t care about his own fate or if Doomsday destroys the world?

    • It’s easier to reconcile Lex’s prior and subsequent actions with that belief as consistent, in my view. I’m not sure I’d say, “doesn’t care” but I’d say he care’s about Doomsday’s birth significantly more than his own fate.

      That said, even his fate in the film isn’t necessarily sealed. Lex does not appear to have been afforded normal civil rights, fast-tracked to Belle Reve which we know doesn’t completely follow due process from the Suicide Squad. Note, however, that Lex Luthor paved the way for the Suicide Squad.

      Senator Finch says, “I have sat here before to say that shadow interventions will not be tolerated by this committee, neither will lies….”

      Lex stopped Superman from speaking so that he didn’t sway the committee and so that they didn’t pull his access to the ship. In blowing up his oversight, he also blew up the congressional watchdog who would have stopped the Suicide Squad.

      “They get caught, we throw them under the bus.”

      What if part of the plan was to pave the way for Waller? What if Lex expected to end up in Belle Reve which Waller presides over and Waller now owes him a favor?

  16. “… Lex Luthor paved the way for the Suicide Squad.”

    This is really interesting! Yeah Finch would likely have tried to stop Amanda Waller. Do you think Luthor was concerned with the Doomsday’s potential to destroy the world?

    • @ebg2465: “Do you think Luthor was concerned with the Doomsday’s potential to destroy the world?”

      No, Lex wasn’t concerned.

      Think about this. When Superman arrives “late” how does Lex react? He’s delighted to inform Superman he’s too late and that Martha’s dead. What’s the only thing that stopped Superman from taking Lex apart earlier? Martha’s safety.

      So what has a highly probable possibility of occurring if you gloat to Superman that he’s late and confirm to him his mother has been burnt alive on your orders? Unless Doomsday was already born and already under your control, you can expect retribution and yet, Lex clearly doesn’t care about those natural possible consequences.

      We’re shown this repeatedly on a number of different fronts if you really dissect Lex’s Doomsday endgame:
      1. No way to hide the energy draw.
      2. No way to hide Doomsday’s destructive behavior.
      3. No way to hide who had access to all the components last.
      4. Confesses to kidnapping Martha.
      5. Confesses to pushing Batman over the edge.
      6. Confesses to the bombing “big bang.”
      7. Kidnaps Lois.
      8. Confesses to Nairomi and the ability to cover it up.
      9. Confesses he knows Superman’s secret identity.

      Doomsday as the endgame resolves all of the above. Assuming that Lex thought he could control or kill-switch Doomsday doesn’t. Assuming Superman’s death was the ultimate endgame doesn’t work either. Lex already has the ultimate leverage. If he retreats, hides away, he can always kidnap, threaten, or leverage Superman’s loved ones or associates again. He can, more effectively find more Kryptonite or recover Batman’s, and just compel Superman under duress to die. Of course, if that’s what he wanted to do, he wouldn’t have confronted Superman directly or confessed so much, because he could continue to strike from the shadows and through proxies if Superman’s death and torment was the endgame. After learning about Doomsday it wasn’t.

      Likewise, having Doomsday under control can’t be the endgame either. Again, as long as Lex doesn’t confess, doesn’t confront, and uses leverage, he can already make Superman kneel. Superman at least has intelligence and interests he can leverage. If it was about controlling a being, he could already do that. We’re not given anything but omission or assumption to believe Lex thought he could control Doomsday. That assumes Lex wants to go on in a rational way, but that doesn’t make any sense with the confessions, kidnappings, and getting caught. Even if Doomsday was 100% his thrall, so what? Even if Doomsday is your bodyguard 24/7, given his method of creation and Lex’s ties to him, it’s mere moments before the military drops a bunker buster or daisy cutter and kills Lex. It’s not like controlling Doomsday means he can rule the world or do anything with that power. The only reason to assume Lex can control Doomsday is to support a narrative of self-preservation… the assumption that Lex needed to go on… but we have every indication that Lex stopped caring about that in the endgame.

      Go back to the beginning. Forget Doomsday rampaging for a second. Say by some deus ex machina Doomsday is stopped in a moment. Lex’s endgame actions show he doesn’t care how or if the world burns because he’s made it supremely likely that Superman is going to kill him, that Batman is going to hunt him in retribution, that Lois Lane is going to charge him with kidnapping, that the Government is going to arrest him, etc. Lex has brought so much hell upon himself irrespective of Doomsday. Which is why it’s a little misplaced to be so distracted by what Doomsday might do next. Even if control or a kill switch would save him from Doomsday, it wouldn’t save him from everything else. Which supports my belief that Lex was beyond caring about everything else at that point.

      Being satisfied with Doomsday is logically consistent with his motive as presented. Lex’s issue was never that good exists in the world. Only that good was “above all” because that conflicted with his childhood; he couldn’t recognize supreme power as benevolent. If something malevolent and corruptible is supreme over Superman, Lex doesn’t care anymore, his existential crisis is over. Whether that’s the U.S. Government (Barrows as proof of corruptible), a vigilante symbol for mankind in Batman (backwards, violent, broken, and mortal), or Doomsday (deformed and destructive).

      • Fantastic reasoning…truly thought provoking.

        Thanks!

      • I haven’t really delved into Lex’s plans or motivations revolving around Doomsday yet, since the results speak for themselves for the most part, but this is a really interesting analysis. I think I assumed that if it were reported to him that Superman was dead he might still have a kill switch for Doomsday’s creation – thus the timer. With Superman dead at Batman’s hands, he would have no need for Doomsday and would simply switch the Genesis chamber off somehow, leaving Doomsday uncooked as it were.

        But your analysis raises the question of whether he even had such a contingency at all, or would have used it if he did. Once he learned what he did from the Scout Ship, was Doomsday now his only goal, even with Superman dead, discredited or both?

        It’s also interesting that you noted that Lex can’t see good being “above all.” This isn’t to say that he doesn’t recognize that one can be good and powerful, just not “all powerful.” Because unlike Batman, I think Lex realizes that Superman is “all good,” which is why he tries to frame him instead of digging up dirt on him. It’s not that he fears he will turn bad, it’s that he knows he won’t – thus the existential crisis. And knowing that Superman is indeed all good, means that Lex truly needs to prove, to himself at least, that Superman is not all powerful.

        If he manages to prove that with Batman’s help, then why would he need (or even want) Doomsday? Based on this analysis, all would be right with the world if Superman died, already tarnished, killed by a lunatic vigilante. An ignoble death to be sure. Even if, as you persuasively argue, Lex had no reasonable expection of getting away with it – his own power and virtue don’t ever seem to be in question or relevant in any way to his dilemma.

        I think that beyond financial power and physical power there may be another type of power in play for Lex himself, one which you pointed out he accidentally lets slip at the gala – knowledge. Lex clearly values power over virtue, but he has no physical power to speak of and his financial power even has its limits (red tape, nosy journalists, etc.). But the true power he exercizes throughout the movie is knowledge – information, manipulations, arguments, experiments. Clearly he has no expectation of escaping even the success of his plans unscathed, so it would seem that the execution of the plans themselves are his endgame – amassing and, more importantly, acting on and acting out knowledge beyond what others may know.

        Interesting. Thanks for the nudge. I’ve been trying to wrap my head around the notions of power and virtue as understood by the three leading men in the film. This certainly helps.

        • @Phil, under the full analysis there is no contingency for stopping Doomsday. As soon as Lex sends Superman away, he’s bound to be caught. Why? The ship starts flipping out, creating strange activity and eventually blackouts. Remember that Lois and Perry have the exchange (something like), “Go to the ship! Superman’s probably there already!” / “Perry, it’s not for a story.” Doomsday as the endgame is the only thing that makes sense at that point, because Lex is going to get caught cooking Doomsday even if he calls it off and even if he gets a report back about Batman beating Superman. For the contingency plan to work, he would have to wait UNTIL he knew the outcome of Batman v. Superman before starting the blackouts… but since he didn’t, it points to the outcome being essentially irrelevant to him.

          Going back to the original article, Batman beating Superman only works if it is solely on Batman’s clock AND Lex lives to promote it and clean up any issues afterwards (not the least of which may be the Batman himself). Batman is the plan if there’s no Doomsday. In that scenario, Lex simply lets their animosity work. He doesn’t get involved by showing his hand, kidnapping, or putting Superman under duress. So if there’s no Doomsday, he lets Batman try and doesn’t directly get involved. If Batman wins, Lex promotes the outcome like he would have promoted Senator Finch had she agreed with his deterrent subjugating Superman. If Batman wins, Lex shows the world this is what humanity thinks of these would-be gods. Remember, that Batman doesn’t assassinate, he fights, so Superman is sullied by fighting, by the narrative of the moment, and his symbol is ruined. That’s something Lex can leverage to suppress the other metahumans. If Superman wins, he’s ruined a quasi-legitimate human hero and representative for mankind. It sullies the symbol and makes Superman ripe for killing or assassination afterwards. So without Doomsday, in the long game, Batman v. Superman is a win-win for Lex (unless they ally in a world where “men made it impossible to stand together”). Without Doomsday, you use the Problem of Evil rubric to show how either outcome can be exploited by Lex to end his existential crisis.

          Yet that doesn’t happen.

          He announced his intentions, his presence, his knowledge, and put Superman under duress. Duress undercuts Lex’s message. Duress is a universally recognized defense for otherwise damning actions. We sympathize with Sophie’s Choice, we don’t demonize Sophie. Nothing Lex does to Superman makes sense with the above plan, but it makes sense if Doomsday has replaced Superman as the messenger for his motive. It doesn’t matter any more if he confesses or pours his heart out or is caught because Superman- and probably the entire world- is going to be dead soon (Darkseid thesis). It doesn’t matter if Superman can excuse his actions as under sympathetic duress, because he’s no longer the focus or the purpose behind Lex’s actions. Lex doesn’t need to demonize Superman because Doomsday is a better devil than Superman will ever be. A corrupted Superman is still only a fraction as powerful as an inherently evil Doomsday or the incoming Darkseid, so Lex doesn’t care about the outcome of Batman v. Superman.

          The main reason Lex continues with Batman v. Superman is back to the top of this reply: 1) Keep Superman and Batman occupied; 2) Get stuff off his chest rather than suffer in silence anymore.

          Again, for his plan to work, Doomsday just needs time. Time Lex acquires by forcing Superman to engage Batman. If he doesn’t do it, Superman or Batman or both come to the lightning shrouded ship and put a stop to his Frankenstein. The fact that Lex reveals his intentions to the world immediately after Superman leaves, proves that point the outcome no longer matters. Therefore, you don’t analyze it under the Problem of Evil rubric anymore. Whether Superman wins, loses, or draws is irrelevant to Lex at that point. Doomsday completely trumps any Problem of Evil analysis on Superman.

          • Yeah, that all makes sense. So it sounds like what you’re arguing is that once he learns of Doomsday, all his previous plans of discrediting/destroying Superman and deterring the other heroes from coming forward are thrown out the window. The mere existence of Doomsday satisfies his existential crisis, inasmuch as he expects it will destory Superman and reign as the highest power on Earth, thus proving that the most powerful is not the most virtuous.

            What do you make of the fact that this doesn’t come to pass? Lex not only fails to reinforce his worldview for himself, but in the process martyrs Superman, redeems Batman, and inspires Wonder Woman to seek out the other heroes – essentially everything he wanted to avoid. Do you think this outcome has an effect on his mental state at the end, or do you think that’s mainly a result of the knowledge granted by the Scout Ship, Darkseid or otherwise?

            Interesting that Zod and Lex share the same intellectual inflexibility – when confronted with evidence that counters your established worldview, destroy the evidence or die trying.

          • @Phil, I think Sam’s got it. I’d only add that Lex doesn’t know Bruce is assembling the League yet, that’s dramatic irony for our benefit. I agree with Sam that Darkseid’s coming probably has a greater impact on him in the moment which is why his lines seem to refer to him mostly. When we have a clearer picture of what he learns or knows it may change our understanding.

            For example, if Lex has a deal with Waller does that change things? Does Lex anticipate allying with Darkseid? Or is Lex trying to prepare and bring together the world against Darkseid? Some of those are more likely than others but it’s interesting to speculate right now.

            Rambling mode….

            One interesting thing about the death of Doomsday is that Doomsday is functionally fungible for Lex’s purposes. What do you need to make Doomsday? A source of genetic corruption, a Genesis Chamber, and a dead Kryptonian host. After BvS, the potential for all of those things still exist! Anyone can bleed over a corpse again. The Scout Ship is still there and still- mostly- intact. And Lex likely knows where Clark’s body is buried. Technically, I suppose, Lex still has hope to bring back Doomsday if he cared to (I don’t think he does, Doomsday is just an idea / message… not a necessary constant reality).

            If I’m the Government, I triple the security around the Scout Ship and- if possible- build fail safes into the city’s power grid so that the ship can never draw that kind of power from the city again.

          • @Phil
            I agree that Lex’s plans with respect to Doomsday end up failing because of Superman’s sacrifice, and that’s a nice way to have the heroes triumph over the villain even when the villain thought he had already won. But in terms of Lex’s reaction to “losing,” I think Lex sees it as only a temporary setback because Darkseid is on the way. Who better than the God of Apokolips to prove that the all powerful are also evil! So Lex may view it as a lost-the-battle-won-the-war type of situation.

          • @Doc – I took Lex’s final scene with Batman, where he is clearly off his rocker, to mean that his mind had been affected either by the amount of information imparted by the ship or the content of it – the primal distilled perfect evil of Doomsday, the existence and/or impending arrival of Darkseid.

            But in contemplating his worldview of power and virtue, and the lengths to which he went to shape the world around him to meet that expectation, I was just wondering aloud if perhaps his inability to do so with Doomsday could also have had an affect on his psyche – when the world stops making sense to someone, they can sometimes snap.

            I get that you guys are taking the approach that it doesn’t matter either way since Darkseid is coming, but he must have known that Darkseid was coming before he started or unleashed Doomsday. So if Darkseid trumps all, why even bother with Doomsday? I guess it’s equally valid to ask “why not?”, I’m just curious what your take might be. I haven’t really decided myself.

  17. It´s fair to assume that Lex expected to get lucky in the scout ship and he maneuvered all his plans around it to a degree. Doomsday and the late in the game scoop on Akropolys were never in the cards but his plan should have had room for adjustments.
    The “Gotham roast” joke was hilarious but a successful death of Martha and other scenarios would have also been a fine outcome for him after 2 years of planning and what i still haven´t figured out is how deep his manipulation of Wallace Keefe went. Lex basically said that he manufactured the notes and they do look serial killer-tastic. The Joker-esque looks of the checks is either an Easter Egg or fully intended due to his knowledge of his “Knight”. He may have even cut off Wallace´s money flow himself to drive the man over the edge.
    He could have also had similar victims who he abused and hoped to snap around a specific dates. Or maybe he started to concentrate on Wallace after his PIs dug deep enough into him to twist his rejected checks into the greater picture.
    I saw the film 3 times but still don´t know what exactly went down between Wallace, Lex and the Victims Found.

    @trollepina The user scores of Imdb, RT and Metacritic are ultimately positive and BvS got a decent cinema score for a B where the Revenant got a B-. MoS had an A- btw. I even saw some critics come around already after a second and more open minded viewing, so who knows. The Snyder-verse may be a Psycho, Star Wars V (or IV) or Fight Club in disguise. NONE of them would have been fresh if RT was around back in the days…
    I like that site btw. but they aren´ t the gospel of the gods.
    http://nerdifi.com/2016/04/batman-v-superman-re-review/ for reference.

    @Heart of Steel The conclusions are already in the toilet but i have no doubt (as of now) that WB will stick to their cards and be constructive about it. The 2 Synder films made more money for them that some would like to believe (Forbes did a counting recently) and how knows how much these advertised the larger brand. Their game is a decade long one. Just look @ Batflack!

    • @residentgrigo, “The Revnant” got a B+. I wouldn use that film as an agument ir a talking point since they are in different genres.

      • You are indeed correct about the B+ for “The Revenant” hups (i though view it as the directors “worst” film, C+ from me) but both are an existential drama, so why not compare them.

  18. Hey, you should register to podcastawards.com. If you are not registered already.

  19. Hi,

    Hi I just find out that zack film-making styles is inspired from kubrick. Here is his famous quote:

    “””The essence of a dramatic form is to let an idea come over people without it being plainly stated. When you say something directly, it is simply not as potent as it is when you allow people to discover it for themselves.”

    I wonder if kubrick movies is also as divisive as zack?? Is zack is in the same level as kubrick in your opinion??

    • I don’t personally want to get into ranking directors (because it would take lots of work to justify the rankings) but I can say that I love Kubrick movies and I love Snyder movies, and for largely the same reasons… the weight and depth and the fact that people can read and write whole books or make whole movies about their movies. Basically, they’re really fun to analyze. They also both have a clear visual style that is maybe not for everyone but if you like it, it’s awesome to behold.

      I think the comparisons between Snyder and Kubrick are more warranted than the comparisons between Snyder and Michael Bay. (And yes, I do believe many of Kubrick’s films were divisive and not always critically acclaimed when they came out.)

    • @Leon, the main parallel between the two that I find is that they benefit greatly from annotation and analysis. Kubrick films can be hard to sit through or riveting on a surface / visceral level. However, when you break down what’s happening, the choices made, the symbolism, the references, the technique, etc. it’s tough not to appreciate what went into them. Everything is extremely conscientious while seemingly effortless in the end. Not every filmmaker’s stuff benefits from that kind of analysis or to the same degree.

  20. I have a question about why lex started manipulating batman for two year prior if batman was not his plan until the license was denied.

    Another question. Lex was wearing the same clothes when he entered the ship first as when he went to the ship in that “montage” when talking to senator barrows. So is the scene of him entering the ship moved forward or is the scene of him going in the place but not the ship moved back? One way has lex knowing about doomsday the whole movie and the other way can be interpreted as shown for context in the lex-senator conversation of access to the ship. Which do you think it is?

    • @Havs; Lex’s interaction with Keefe is a little ambiguous, I haven’t settled on a theory yet. Lex takes credit for “You let your family die!” and “notes” plural… however that comes immediately after saying Batman’s hate was ripe and it didn’t take much to push him over the edge. The overall feeling is that Lex just took some minor steps to pluck already ripe fruit. The only thing that runs contrary to that is assuming Lex sent all the notes… and that’s not a necessary conclusion.

      When Lex meets Keefe, it’s not like he gives him the chair and walks out of the room. The next scene shows him cleaned up and with access to Finch, so clearly there was a period of collusion between Lex and Keefe. Keefe may have shown Lex what he was already doing (sending back checks) and Lex may have just piggybacked on that or asked Keefe to write one note specifically. I’m coming up with this on the fly, but that would reconcile Lex saying he only pushed Bruce over recently, along with taking credit for the more recent notes.

      Regarding the montage, it plays with time so we could place it anywhere. The easiest reconciliation is simply that Lex wore the same thing twice. The only problem with moving Lex’s confirmation forwards is that scene isn’t part of a montage playing with time so we aren’t as free to put it at the beginning.

      • I took it that Lex had been diverting the checks from Keefe, scrawling notes on them, and sending them back the whole time. It’s understandable that Keefe would harbor rage at Superman, but he had no reason to be mad at Bruce – hw seemed grateful to Bruce when he found him in the debris. It doesn’t make much sense that he would refuse the checks, choose to live in squalor, and direct his anger at Bruce when he was really mad at Superman. My assumption is that Lex stole the checks before they even got to Keefe to prime his desperation and rage, and then sent them back to Bruce to prime his. However, due to some convenient oversight, Bruce never got the returned checks until right at the moment of the bombing. Of course, Lex probably had someone inside Wayne’s orgnaization who was stealing the checks, so that person could have held the returned ones back until the right moment. Regardless, I would imagine it was all Lex all along.

  21. Lex only got the chance to enter the ship without supervision after his diversion at the hearing due to the death of all of his enemies during that bombing. The last podcast was about that and Batman´s role was also correctly covered in that episode…

    I would 100% vote for this podcast if i got the chance to do so but it could use a new name, as BvS is even more misunderstood than Mos and we still got like a dozen films in front of us. Oh boy.
    Comics constantly rename / reboot themselves after all.
    PS: Kubrick is the best director ever!

  22. Long time no see Dr.,it’s very nice to have you back. I was just passing by and wanted to ask you something. When the upcoming TV series “Krypton” starts serializing, will you cover it as well?

    Recently, the series that will tie-in to the past of MoS, and henceforth the whole “DC Films Universe” was greenlight for a Pilot, and if it gains traction enough it will most likely extend to a whole season, and if it’s successful then it’ll have more seasons, and so on. I also wanna state how excited I am that we will have 2 Superman-Centric TV Shows running parallel, and that the story of DC Films’ Superman will be so deeply explored.

    Since it’ll be a TV series it will be constantly releasing content it what will most likely be a weekly basis, so I guess a TV series would require more time and attention to study and analyze than films that are several months apart, so I wanna ask if you think that, as of now, could you cover a TV series in the same depth as you cover the films? So far I’ve only seen you cover the Pilot of “Supergirl”, so I’m not certain if covering several 40 minutes long episodes would be capable of fitting in your schedule.

    • @MegaSteel, I’ll definitely watch it if it comes out. I don’t expect it to have a significant continuity effect though so I’m unlikely to cover it.

  23. Do you think Lex is a theist, atheist, or an antitheist?

    • He’s misotheist.

      • And would that imply that he is a theist as well?

        • Maybe, unlike common atheism, misotheism does recognize a “God”, but the person in particular feels an intense and deep hatred towards what it recognizes as “God”.

          If Luthor did personally believe in a God is unclear, he compared Superman to Horus and Apollo, polytheist Gods, but also compared him to the Judeo-Christian God of monotheist religion. So who knows?

    • I viewed Lex as regular Christian in the film. He straight out believed in God/Gods and had high regard for Christian iconography. May it be Satanic or not… His later insight into the universe can´t be overlooked either.
      Lex had a warped view on things and may or may not hate the concept of Gods altogether but he does acknowledged their existence. He even created his very own Demi-God.

      The DC universe always acknowledged multiple religions as 100% real. The New52 Phantom Stranger is Judas, the Spectre had a great/long ongoing by the SS writer in the 90s and The Sandman is also set in the DC inverse but the upcoming Vertigo films won´t be part of the Snyder-verse.

    • BvS is very geared towards Western / American culture, so the Kents are Christian (likely sincere) and there are Christian trappings in the burial of the Waynes (perhaps more cultural). Similarly, Lex Sr. hung art with religious themes prominently and Lex is well-read, so I suspect he was at least culturally raised Christian with at least passing familiarity with it. However, I think his situation made him look for answers everywhere and I don’t think he aligns or defines himself in that way because he has a very specific crisis with respect to Superman’s ascension which, as far as we know, he didn’t exhibit prior.

  24. indeed he is pure evil.
    i think he has all the plan worked out in his mind.

    1st. that superman will kill batman to save his mother. power is innocent – big lie and people will see what a demon superman is.
    2nd. he will burn and kill Martha when superman returns and shows him the head of batman. – to kill and destroy superman inside. and the joy of seeing it right before his eyes- priceless
    3rd. release doomsday to protect him and kill superman. – mission accomplished.

    a true demon in human skin

    • This is all sound an incredible analysis on Lex much of this is the same conclusion I came to with one difference Doomsday. I too believed that Lex was trying to prove the idea of power being innocent a lie, proving the idea of an all good all powerful god a fraud.

      However I also believe Lex was trying prove himself superior to the idea of god, one line I feel supports this, “now god bends to my will”. This is where I think Doomsday comes in, Lex sees Superman as a representation of God a symbol of him. So Lex is creating a monster to kill that idea by essentially creating a being of absolute power who proves superior to what is in essence a symbol of God, by doing this Lex is proving that he is better, god was not all powerful I killed him, I killed god and created the devil.

      That’s some massive megalomania right there but I feel it fits with comic Lex, proving the oldest lie “power can be innocent” but at the same type satisfying his own ego by proving himself better than the god he hates so much. There is a sort of irony here if Lex were a god he would be exactly the kind of god he hates. I feel this fits Lex is trying prove god a fraud and in doing so prove his and man’s superiority to the idea of god. Doomsday plays into that if man creates a being that is superior to the idea of god than Man is superior. He manages to expose the oldest lie through Doomsday and prove his own superiority to the idea he has been struggling against his whole life.

  25. To Dr. Awkward,

    I’ve listened to a bazillion of your MoS podcasts back and forth from work and was, to be quite honest, abysmally terrified that you’d been somehow discouraged by BvS and that we’d just never hear from you again!

    An unfounded belief, to be sure.

    Honestly, the most shocking thing about BvS to me was the express inclusion of Jimmy Olsen as a CIA agent who gets killed immediately. Do you think they should have just left it as “anonymous CIA Agent” instead of killing off Jimmy?

    Snyder has also talked about an extended scene where Superman begins to search for his mother with his Super Hearing and instead hears the anguished cries of everyone in a giant radius and is panicked and bewildered by opening himself up to the world. Do you think that scene should have been left in? What do you think its affect on the movie/audience would have been?

    Glad to have you back!

    Ardent fan,

    DKaavnigd

    • @DKaavnigd, thanks for the encouragement.

      Regarding Jimmy (recycling a prior response):

      You’re actually asking three questions: 1. Whether the character on screen is still alive; 2. Whether the character of Jimmy Olsen could still be alive.; 3. Whether credits, cuts, or director comments are canonical.

      Yes, it’s improbable, but since the shooting occurred off screen and is never explicitly raised again, it’s possible the General fired in his direction, didn’t kill him, and kept his fate ambiguous. Lois not tracking him down afterwards can be explained by his CIA status, she knows there’s no point in finding him since he’ll remain classified.

      Yes, given that the character we saw was a “ghost” or CIA “spook”, there’s no certainty that he was the real Jimmy Olsen, so the character can still potentially appear.

      Depends. Of course, none of this is an issue if you don’t impose the identity of Jimmy Olsen onto the character we see at all. While credits are generally considered canonical, they’re usually a lower tier of canon (and you will often find errors and mistakes in them in other movies) which give way to the content of the film. If something ends up on the cutting room floor it is usually disregarded as canonical… however, if it is added back in a subsequent cut of the film, it becomes up to the film community to decide whether or not it is canon (generally, the rule is it is; unless it contradicts another cut… see Star Wars for examples of added scenes versus altered scenes). Finally, irrespective of what the director says, generally such commentary is not regarded as canonical but strongly persuasive.

      Although initially shocking, turning audience expectations on their head in order to set the stakes for the film is time-honored. While they ultimately didn’t go through with the stunt, except as referenced in the credits. The character is still available for other creators though it’s understandable that many of the character roles Jimmy would accommodate are reasonable shifted to Lois and Clark to enrich their characterization. The main benefit is doing something cinematically the audience thinks is impossible, shedding the “plot armor” as some call it, so we can put aside our pre-conceived notions of who is safe and why. I’m personally fine with it, but it’s a bridge too far for many and probably why they pulled back a bit. The filmmakers also have the benefit of knowing where the story is going (Darth as Luke’s father was lambasted by many fans at the time), so it is a bit of a matter of faith… either that Jimmy would never really have a role regardless or that they have an exit strategy, similar to the open casket burial.

      Regarding the super-hearing, from a plotting perspective they probably could have been a little clearer on the rules of how his hearing work, but that’s such a mechanical piece of exposition I don’t see it working in the film anywhere without really expanding the scene and changing the pacing entirely (which, I suspect may have been how Africa started out; a more involved Superman sequence). From a character perspective, I agree with Zack’s assessment that Superman had to learn not to look, which is ultimately encapsulated in the bombing scene, and bringing it back may put unforgiving audiences off too much. The reality of that power hits Superman like no other (people immediately want to compare it to Daredevil, but his far more finite in power and ability, which forgives his inaction), but audiences didn’t seem like they were in a forgiving mood with BvS so it made sense to leave out.

      • Noting against Jimmy but this isn´t his first death. I ain´t a fan of Smallville but they killed him too and then replace him with his brother. That´s having your cake and eating it too!
        Syner himself called Jimmy´s death the “death fo innocence” and i view it as a valid throw down of the gauntlet to reconfirm the possible danger of his world. Fair enough. He also joins Hamilton in death, so we have been here before.

        The cut scene of Superman trying to find his mother with his X-ray vision should have been in the cinematic cut, regardless of the darkness. The Dardevil film (the director´s cut is a decent flick) has a similar scene and its the film´s clear highlight.

        • What I got from that scene where Lex told Superman that he had his mother was that the villian not only proof that she was his captive, but also discouraged him from trying to find her since she was bound an gagged. I know that there are those that say he could listen for her heart beat, but the sound of an indivual heartbeat is not unique. Finding Martha Kent was akin to finding aneedle in a haystack and probably why he ddidn’t bother to try. The director probably thought as much and left the scene where attempted to do so on the cutting room floor.

          • Zack Snyder has actually talked about this. He left the scene out because it went to a dark place – I believe it will be in the R-rated cut. I think keeping in the themes of these heroes being grounded in our human reality, I assume that once he opened himself up to the city, it would not be the noise that overwhelmed him, it would be what he heard. Horrible, unspeakable acts happening behind closed doors, etc. Zack is definitely capable of going there, but I imagine something that dark (whilst absolutely logical within the DCEU so far, we have seen that it is a real world, with real, horrible problems such as human trafficking) involving Superman would have been seen as a definitive “bad association” problem with audiences.

            It raises a very important issue that hasn’t been tackled on film with this character so far though – where does Superman stop? Where does he draw the line. Very similar to “when” he should act, is also, with his acute senses, is when he should even look. A heavy, brilliant idea that I would love to see emotionally explored. I think it would provide an excellent foundation for a Superman scene, where perhaps he confides in Bruce, or Lois, or Diana – they could ask him if it’s difficult – he could respond with a heartfelt, stoic and strong response that helps us admire and respect him as a character.

  26. Can you guys explain more 1. why the bombing event provoked Batman to kill Superman, and 2. how it links to the words on the checks that brought to Bruce (e.g you let your family die)?
    PS: my own understanding: Bruce thought that the existence of Superman makes all criminals more brutal than before as he be their worst threat (though Superman hasn’t been seen to intervene in any crimes before, except for Lois’s kidnapping event and Batman’s kryptonite hunting event). In this case, Keefe was a criminal turning from a raging victim. And all those blaming lines to Bruce are the expression of his anger.

    • @PTK, it’s another series of innocent deaths that are Superman-related where Bruce feels powerless… made worse by the fact this one might have been preventable (either by catching Keefe earlier or by securing Kryptonite sooner). Remember Bruce doesn’t explicitly blame Superman for anything he actually intended during the BZE, he blames him for the effect of his presence (bringing war and collateral)… a sentiment he shares with Keefe.

      Maybe if Bruce had called in an evacuation earlier. Maybe if Bruce had caught onto Keefe’s issues earlier, Bruce feels he might have been able to stop the bombing. He can’t do either of those anymore, but he can stop any hesitation he has about removing Superman as a target. If he hadn’t licked his wounds and just gone after the Kryptonite earlier and gone after Superman sooner, maybe no one in the Capitol had to die… that guilt spurs Bruce to immediate action.

    • I know for me personally, it’s just Bruce’s seeing the bombing as further proof that, complicit or not, Superman is a focal point for chaos and death, that by virtue of his very existence, he provokes acts of extremism. It coupled with his finally seeing the notes were the straws that broke the camel’s back, so to speak.

      Also, I’d like to point out that the span of time between his theft of the Kryptonite, his fashioning it into weapons, and the additional preparations leading up to the final confrontation, is vague – intentionally vague, I think. The next phase of Lex’s plan hinges on Bruce seeking out that confrontation, which means Lex has had his mercs surveilling Lois, Martha, and most likely even Bruce to a degree.

  27. I’d like to add that my appreciation of Lex as a tragic figure in a way is underlined by the line that I only recently started to decipher. We all know in the extended cut he says he ‘hates the sinner not the sin’ However an even more important cog in Lex’s psyche is his genuine sorrow when he cut his hand to add his DNA to Zod’s his exact words were ‘You flew too close to the sun, now look at you’ According to Greek myth Daedalus the father of Icarus crafted him wings to escape the labrynth. In the myth they both set off to fly but Icarus due to hubris and showmanship flew closer to to the sun that melted the wax holding his wings , and he therefore fell into the sea. My interpretation is twofold the first is basic in that Lex the master craftsman in this scene is attempting to create something more powerful than Zod ,which will not fail like Zod did. However the more powerful interpretation underscored by Lex’s emotion in the scene is his absolute beleif that power consumes,corrupts and destroys everyone. If we take the metaphor of the Labrynth for the earth, then he views deities,angels in this case Kryptonians as above our world seemingly impervious to harm or hurt that is a human trait yet somehow despite this even such imaginary or real beings with all their power are corrupted and destroyed by it just like mere mortals are.So there is no escaping this labyrinth .He knows this and that is why he says it with pain. He knows Zod was a megalomaniac, and he no doubt believes all with power sooner or later become like Zod. This does not negate your explanation DR.Awkward that he saw Doomsday as the ultimate proof of his belief system(that power corrupts and destroys),nor did his knowledge of Steppenwolf/Darkseid who will spell doom for everyone. Yet I think it shows that Lex is a tragic figure in that he only believes in dark side of power,and being human he knows we’re all driven by dark selfish,destructive impulses that cannot be expunged his suffering at the hands of his father twisted his mind into believing that power destroys everyone. So he has lost faith not only in humanity but all forms of good. The way he rants at the end to Batman shows that just like the Joker believed in anarchy, he believes the more powerful a being is the more evil he ought to be. Zod,Doomsday,Darkseid are real examples and to him Superman would inevitably follow suit.Mind you I’ve recently been pondering that while Batman received his vision from the Flash.I can imagine Lex received many such visions from the teachings of Zod’s ship.Kryptonians and other powerful races subjugating, warring and exterminating on different planets and star systems.So just like finding sentient life would probably take down humanity’s self importance down a notch.The realization that superior races are as base and primal as humans could completely destroy human belief in a greater good,ethics,morals and the like.

  28. Mckinnley Riojas

    Well my video is finally uploading since i was waiting for the release of the blu ray and i credited you Dr. Awkward thank you for allowing me to make a video. I’ll post a link when it’s finished uploading.

  29. Mckinnley Riojas

    Its up an called An Analysis on Lex Luthor

  30. I think once Doomsday is released Lex’s plan is that Superman is killed by Doomsday and then he develops a kryptonite weapon that the world uses to take Doomsday down which now cements Lex as the person that saved us from these devils. It’s clear from the size of the kryptonite and how much Batman uses that Lex has retained a large portion. With Darkseid it’s an issue of time, but since he doesn’t know how long he could easily think it may not be this life time.

    • I don’t think Lex retained a large portion of the Kryptonite mostly because we’ve seen what the whole thing looks like, we saw what was stolen, and we saw Bruce call up specs / scans of the sample. If any of those three didn’t match we could say Lex kept a large portion. Since they do, it would have to be a phantom piece we never see. Which is technically possible, but we have no indication of more K in play. During my business trip, I happened to have a chance to attend the WB Studio Tour… you can see the spearhead is the size of the full fragment, so Bruce used up the entire thing he had the specs for.

  31. Big fan of your podcast and insight into the dceu Dr Awkward, I love this analysis but i’ve been facing a conundrum…
    Any insight as to why Lex went through with manipulating Clark against Bruce if he was ultimately going to kidnap Martha and force Supes to fight?

    • Thanks for listening. My position is that the decision to kidnap Martha came only after Lex accesses the Genesis Chamber AFTER the Senate Bombing. Prior to the entering the chamber and learning from the Ship, Lex has no idea he’s going to unleash Doomsday. So the plan is to bring Superman and Batman to blows through gradual manipulation to sully Superman in a more convincing manner. Once Lex learns about and decides to use Doomsday, Superman’s willing participation is irrelevant and he can move the time table up and put Superman under duress. Whether Superman is compromised is somewhat irrelevant, except to add to his suffering (Lex’s personal grudge) and to distract him from Doomsday’s birth, because Doomsday is a better example of the horror Superman was supposed to represent.

      In short. Lex didn’t know he was going to kidnap Martha. How could he? That part of the plan didn’t arise until learning about Doomsday later.

  32. The analysis is excellent but I have a theory I’d like to share.

    I’m proposing the theory that Lex had no idea Batman was onto the White PORTUGUESE before or after the dinner party, nor did Lex originally intend to want Batman to steal to the kryptonite.

    Keep in mind that I absolutely love this movie and have seen it a dozen times.

    First, at the beginning of the movie we find out Bruce is investigating a “white Portuguese bringing a dirty bomb (kryptonite) into Gotham”
    His first lead brings him to the Russian KGBeast, from which Bruce steals info. The next morning Bruce tells Alfred that Lex is connected and he must break in as Batman, Alfred shows him the invitation to the party as an alternative. The scene directly before this, Lex is meeting with the Senator June in his father’s study. This is only the night before Bruce speaking to Alfred in the morning. June denies Lexs import licence.

    —-First off, if Bruce was invited to the party to steal the information and we know mail takes at least 24 hrs to deliver then Lex must’ve invited him long before June denied the licence. This leads me to believe Lex didn’t invite Bruce to steal information because Lex didn’t know his licence was denied yet.
    —–Secondly, at this point how does Lex know Bruce is investigating the White Portuguese? Or how does Lex know he hacked KGBeast’s phone leading him to Lexs house? If Bruce didn’t hack that phone then he would’nt have gone to the party to steal from Lex, right?

    At the party Mercy is on the red carpet when Bruce pulls up and she does watch him go downstairs and she does interrupt him hacking the computers but I’m not convinced she is purposely keeping an eye on Bruce.

    —First Mercy at the red carpet. I simply play this as a coincidence. She is Lex’s assistant and I’m sure she is some what of a coordinator for the event so it’s perfectly normal for her to welcome the guests arriving since some big names were attending. Yes, she looks up when Bruce arrives but EVERYONE does in that scene because he’s a big shot celebrity.
    —Second, Bruce walks away while Lex gives a speech. He walks by Mercy to go downstairs. Of coarse Mercy (may I remind you she is Lex’s assistant and coordinator) is going to be suspicious when seeing bigshot celebrity Bruce Wayne walk down to the kitchen, an employee only section. So it’s perfectly normal for her to follow him.
    —Thirdly, if Lex and Mercy does want Bruce to hack the computers then why does Mercy interrupt Bruce hacking the computers?? It doesn’t make any sense. Why not just let him be alone for 7min to steal it? Instead he walks away and Wonder Women steals it.
    —Lastly, once again, how does Lex know Bruce found out Lex is involved with the white Portuguese to make Bruce want to go to the party to hack lex? He doesnt.

    Since there was no information about Batman or Superman on the files people assume this is another indicator that Lex planned to have Bruce steal the files. I don’t believe it.

    —First off, Bruce knows Lex is trying to import Supermans one weakness yet on the files there isn’t one thing about Superman. Bruce doesn’t need files to know Lex is planning something against Superman because he already knows. And just because there is no files of Batman doesn’t mean Lex withheld it from the hacking. I mean, once you know Bruce is Batman why would need to make a computer file for it? That’s just something you remember. Now let’s ignore those points for the sake of argument. It’s good to remember Lex has two main properties..his home (this is where the party takes place) and his research center (this is where Batman steals the rock). If Lex does have more information about Supes/batman/or just the plan in general which location do you think Lex would store that information? Obviously the research center. So if Bruce did steal information from Lexs house (without Lex knowing) then it makes sense why there wasn’t more on the files. Remember the Russians phone was “transmitting blackedout data to lexs house” so it makes sense why he found information about the white Portuguese at the house instead of having to go to the research center.

    If Lex wants Bruce to steal the kryptonite why make it so difficult for him to get it?
    If Lexs bombing on the capital (along with Wallys returned paychecks written on by Lex) was suppose to push Bruce into stealing the kryptonite from the research center then how did Lex know Bruce knew the rock was at the Research center? Lex didn’t even know Batman planted a tracking device on the semitruck. Just like how Lex didn’t even know Bruce hacked the Russians phone to lead him to Lex in the first place.

    Also it’s important to notice Lexs facial expressions when he sees the rock missing. He’s definitely not happy. He looks like he’s thinking hard for a new plan, which is to kidnap Martha to control Superman, instead of using Kryptonite.

    I don’t think Lex manipulated Bruce throughout the whole movie until letters magically showed up the day of the bombing. For instance, how did Lex return all of Wallys checks from up to a year ago if Lex just met Wally a few days before the hearing? Obviously Lex somehow forged it and planted them inside the payroll department days before the hearing (he has many connections) and this explains why Bruce says “Greg, how am I just now finding out about this?” And then Greg says “I’ll get to the bottom of it”..which implies something unusual made this happen.

    So if my theory is correct we are left with 1 question.

    Why did Lex invite Bruce to the party? Lex was obviously interested in working with Bruce. But if we dig deeper as to why Batman, Superman, and Wonderwomen were at the party we can see the reason for it.
    Lex is all about references and symbolism. If you listen to his speech you can clearly see why he wanted 3 powerful people before him. “Having knowledge without power is paradoxical” He knows all of their identities and more knowledge than them yet has less power than all of them. Them being there is purely a symbolic moment for Lex.

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