Say hello to our latest Lex Luthor! James Gunn has found his villain for Superman: Legacy and David Corenswet has found his nemesis on the screen in the form of Nicholas Hoult.
A former superhero himself, thanks to his role as Beast in the X-Men In the franchise, Hoult will become the fifth actor to play Metropolis’ most hated man in a live-action film, joining the long list of names who have brought the iconic comic book nemesis to life over the years. So, no pressure, Nicholas, but you certainly have big shoes to fill. At least we know he looks good with his head shaved, thanks to Mad Max: Fury Road.
Hoult is a talented actor, and Gunn’s casting in the Marvel Cinematic Universe has always been unmatched, so it wouldn’t be wise to bet against him being one of the best Luthors we’ve ever seen. However, some of the following ten performances may be hard to beat. Others … not so much.
10. Kevin Spacey
Lex Kevin Spacey from Superman returns rounds out this list because … Well, it’s Kevin Spacey. What’s more, the now-disgraced actor took a golden opportunity to reinvent the role for the 21st century and simply does his best Gene Hackman impression, delivering a hackneyed and dated performance of super- movie villain.
9. Lyle Talbot
Prolific 1940s character actor Lyle Talbot has the honor of being the first to portray Lex Luthor, appearing opposite original Superman actor Kirk Alyn in the 1950 film series Atom Man vs. Superman. Talbot’s portrayal is a perfect representation of who Lex was at the beginning of his storied history, very much a classic pulp-y scientist.
8. Titus Welliver
As part of it Titans four-season plan to throw in everything but the kitchen sink, Titus Welliver showed up for one episode of the show’s final season—that’s all DC let them use the character for, FYI. With only a few minutes of screen time under his belt, then, the Bosch star couldn’t quite get under Lex’s skin, but he gave a strong portrayal of modern day Lex.
7. Michael Cudlitz
And, for some reason, it’s an unwritten rule that today’s Lex must have a beard. See also the incarnation of Michael Cudlitz from Superman and Lois season 3. What makes the hit CW show stand out is that it brings a new dimension to familiar characters, and that’s on full display with its portrayal of Lex. Uniquely, Cudlitz plays him as a jumping thug, Kal-El’s own version of the Kingpin.
6. Jesse Eisenberg
Look, I’m not happy that Jesse Eisenberg is this high, you’re not happy about it, let’s move on. Being the most significant cinematic Lex of the century so far, Eisenberg has to land the sixth spot. And, to be fair, at least he brought up a version of the character we haven’t seen before – even if that’s because he thinks he’s playing the Riddler.
5. Jon Cryer
Who would have thought that Jon Cryer would make a great Lex Luthor when he was playing Gene Hackman’s dim-witted nephew in Superman: Quest for Peace? Super girl it was a stretch to cast him as his great-uncle on screen decades later, with Cryer retiring from his Two and a half men persona to play an egotistical villain we love to hate. Oh, and you can blame him for the whole “Lex has a beard” trend.
4. Seán Sí
The little-remembered John Shea from Lois & Clark in fourth place? What, I’m a ’90s child, I plead. The first season of the Dean Cain/Teri Hatcher “Moonlight together “Man of Steel” She definitely has the best series, and that’s largely thanks to the constant presence of Lex Luthor as Superman’s enemy and Clark Kent’s rival for Lois’ sake. Shea deserves high praise for helping to recreate Lex as a sophisticated, three-dimensional figure.
3. Gene Hackman
Of course, don’t tell James “I hate Gene Hackman’s Lex” Gunn that he’s ranked number three. Yes, Hackman’s interpretation is a lot goofier than what we’re used to these days, and it took many, many years to be able to see Lex as a real threat again, but you can’t deny how iconic and influence of the legendary actor. there is an expression. Even if he refused to shave his head.
2. Clancy Brown
Now for the Lex that everyone forgets. He may not have played live-action, but Clancy Brown may have given us the most authentic Luthor of the lot across the DC Animated Universe, including Superman: The Animated Series, Justice League, Justice League Unlimited game, and others. Brown’s voice brings out the melodiousness as perhaps the meanest Lex we’ve ever had.
1. Michael Rosenbaum
You saw this one coming, right? Little TownSuperman fans regard Michael Rosenbaum himself — and friend James Gunn, incidentally — as the greatest Lex of them all, and for good reason. Over the course of seven seasons of the beloved prequel show, he took the young Luthor from Clark Kent’s wealthy best friend to the dark, evil businessman he always threatened to be. Thanks to both Rosenbaum’s textured performance and the amount of time he’s spent in the role, he’s unlikely to be outdone anytime soon.
But, hey, Nicholas Hoult, give it your best shot.
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