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Milk the Franchise | November 23, 2017

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Cut Jesse Eisenberg some Slack. "Man of Steel 2" can’t be Worse

Cut Jesse Eisenberg some Slack. “Man of Steel 2” can’t be Worse
Ron Seifried

Because comic fans were not entirely enraged with Ben Affleck as Batman in the upcoming “Man of Steel” sequel, they are practically frothing at the mouth with the recent announcement of Jesse Eisenberg (not Bryan Cranston) as Superman’s #1 human enemy Lex Luthor. Add in the fact that uber nerds are not entirely pleased with the casting of sexy Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, this is building up to be a recipe for disaster with devoted fans.

Are we rushing to judgement? Ever since Jack Nicholson was the Joker, comic book villains have been hyped as Shakespearean performers in worthy of all the accolades of an accomplished thespian.

When Heath Ledger was confirmed to play the Joker, die-hard fans condemned the decision based on”A Knight’s Tale” and other early Ledger films. Ledger’s Joker is now considered the all-time best of feature film super-villains, a part we can no longer see anyone else take on.

But for every Heath Ledger as the Joker, there has been the Uma Thurman as Poison Ivy counter argument. Fact is, the public has no idea what the script is about or how Eisenberg did at his screen test. “Man of Steel 2” has a professional casting team that does not speculate like fan boys, but carefully analyze all the elements of a project. These teams do not review the one iconic film of an actors a career but a complete body of work, which in Eisenbergs case goes back 18 years. He has been nominated for a few awards, including “best frightened performance” for “Zombieland” so let’s cut the guy some slack.

I like Jesse Eisenberg, a fine actor who gave a decent performance in “The Social Network.” By putting him in the same category as past Luthor’s Gene Hackman, Kevin Spacey and Michael Rosenbaum,  the inevitable comparisons are being made. Does he resemble more of a mature Michael Cera or is there a breathtaking over-the-top performance looking to break out?

Director Zack Snyder had this to say: “Lex Luthor is often considered the most notorious of Superman’s rivals, his unsavory reputation preceding him since 1940. What’s great about Lex is that he exists beyond the confines of the stereotypical nefarious villain. He’s a complicated and sophisticated character whose intellect, wealth and prominence position him as one of the few mortals able to challenge the incredible might of Superman. Having Jesse in the role allows us to explore that interesting dynamic, and also take the character in some new and unexpected directions.”

Based on Snyder’s statement, it looks like Luthor will be a 21st century  technical evil genius looking to take over the  world, and who better than the guy who played Mark Zuckenberg, an introverted social misfit looking to take over the Internet?  He was so good as Zuckenberg, it was almost impossible not to hate him. Maybe this is perfect casting.

I was not entirely pleased with 2013’s Superman reboot “Man of Steel.” A radical new take of General Zod’s and his mini army of pissed-off Kryptonians, Superman destroying small towns resembling a barroom brawl, Jonathan Kent’s lack of morality and a whiny Clark running away from his destination for a over a decade .There’s more, but you get the point.

Because of my initial disappointment with “Man of Steel,” expectations are already pretty low. With the addition of Batman and Wonder Woman (and maybe more), the franchise is looking to go toward the direction of a Justice League of America series, and that may be a good thing.

With the exception of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, DC Comics has been scrambling to come up with a viable alternative team of super heroes.  Marvel has been printing money with the X-Men, The Avengers and Spider-Man franchises, and more will certainly come in with the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy film and Fantastic Four reboot.  DC Comics is looking to shake thing up a bit with their long dormant storyline. Only time will tell if it will be worth it.

And Oscar winner Jeremy Irons will be Alfred the Butler, so this film will not be a total disaster.

Some filming has already begun and the yet titled sequel will be out May 6, 2016.

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