I don't know how to lose. [...] Ha! I'll learn. I don't hate the sinner. I hate the sin. And yours, my friend, is existing.
~ Lex, to Superman, from the Ultimate Edition
Alexander Joseph Luthor, Jr., otherwise known asLex Luthor, is the main antagonist of the 2016 superhero movie Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the second installment of the DC Extended Universe and the sequel to 2013's Man of Steel.
Lex is a megalomaniacal multi-billionaire and CEO of LexCorp. Although he is one of the smartest people on the planet, he has developed an unhealthy fixation with Superman, whom he views not as a hero but as an alien and an intruder. Thinking of himself as the superior one, he is obsessed with defeating and killing Superman through any means necessary, even using Batman.
He is portrayed by Jesse Eisenberg in his first villain portrayal of his cinematic career.
Lex was abused physically by his father Alexander Luthor, Sr., an East German immigrant. The elder Luthor's abuse led Lex to believe God plays favorites to people; the younger Luthor thus developed a deep hatred of God and anyone god-like, such as Superman.
After his father's death, Lex became CEO of his company, LexCorp.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Starting his manipulation
Lex is first seen at LexCorp, being visited by Senator June Finch. Lex reveals to her that he used a small fragment of Kryptonite on the corpse of General Zod, causing rapid decomposition. He asks her for permission to import a larger chunk of Kryptonite for further testing. After the meeting, he then asks another senator for access to the wreckage of the Kryptonian scout-ship and Zod's corpse for further testing, which is granted. Lex then enters the military facility in which the scout-ship is stored. Secretly, he cuts off Zod's fingertips with a Kryptonite blade.
Later, Lex has a business dinner with Finch, who tells him that she is denying him permission to import the Kryptonite, claiming that she knows that Lex is not planning to import it merely for testing purposes.
After finding out that Russian gang leader Anatoli Knyazev has been in contact with Lex, Bruce Wayne decides to investigate Lex and, conveniently, is told by Alfred Pennyworth that he has received an invitation to a charitable function Lex is hosting at his villa. Bruce attends the gala and briefly listens to Lex's speech about gods before heading away from the public to plant a bug in Lex's server room. Meanwhile, Lex has a sociopathic fit onstage and ends his speech before he can damage his image; this seems to be ignored by the crowd, who applaud Lex's speech.
Lex then intervenes in a heated conversation between Bruce and Daily Planet reporter Clark Kent, jovially introducing both men and claiming how he loves to bring people together. After brief small talk with Bruce, Lex invites him to meet with him at some point, claiming that they could work together. Lex is then told by his assistant Mercy Graves that the governor is waiting, so he leaves the two men.
Bombing the Capitol
Do you know the oldest lie in America, Senator? That power can be innocent
~ Luthor to Senator Finch, shortly before the explosion
Lex later pays the bail for Wallace Keefe, a Wayne Enterprises worker who was rendered paraplegic during Zod's and Superman's fight in Metropolis. After bringing Keefe out of jail, Lex provides him with a state-of-the-art wheelchair. Persuaded by Lex, Keefe meets with Finch and convinces her to invite Superman to a Senate hearing at Capitol Hill to meet those he has harmed in his battle against Zod.
Viewing the information he obtained from Lex's server, Bruce finds out that Lex is smuggling the Kryptonite to Metropolis and decides to steal the rock to form it into a weapon against Superman (ironically the same plan Luthor has for it). While pursuing Lex's men, Bruce, as Batman, is stopped by Superman. With Batman prevented from taking it, the Kryptonite is delivered to Lex.
Shortly before the hearing, Lex sends Mercy into the meeting room to hold him a seat. He then approaches Finch, coldly remembering her and how she stopped his plans to build a weapon against Superman because she was weak. Finch storms off after being told that Superman has indeed arrived for the hearing and before she is gone, Lex tells her that the oldest lie in America is that power can be innocent. Despite sending Mercy in for the hearing, Lex doesn't enter himself; instead, he leaves the building while Superman enters it. Although Mercy is perplexed, she remains seated. Moments later, the hidden explosives Lex planted inside Keefe's chair go off, killing Finch, Mercy, and everyone else inside the building except Superman. This leaves Superman blamed by the public, leading him to go into a self-imposed exile.
When Lex returns to LexCorp, he finds that the Kryptonite has been stolen and that a Batarang has been left in its place. The same night, he enters the Kryptonian scout-ship again, accidentally activating it and thus gaining access to its database. With help from the ship's database, Lex analyzes Zod's genetic material. He then cuts his hand and drips his blood onto Zod's corpse. Although the ship's computer warns Lex that the High Council of Krypton has forbidden the creation of the creature Lex is about to produce, Lex overrides this security measure by stating that the High Council is long gone. The scout-ship then begins morphing Zod's and Lex's DNA, resulting in the creation of Doomsday.
Batman versus Superman
Lex sends his men to kidnap Martha Kent. He also has Knyazev capture Lois Lane and bring her to the roof of LexCorp, where Lex is waiting. Lois, who has been able to prove that Lex was involved in the earlier incident in Nairobi, is thrown off the roof by Lex, but is caught mid-air by Superman who has returned to the city. Unbeknownst to both, this was exactly what Lex had expected.
After ensuring Lois's safety, Superman flies back up to the roof to face Lex. Superman threatens to bring Lex in, but Lex, ranting about how Superman stands above everything like a god, reveals that he knows Superman's true identity as Clark Kent/Kal-El and that he wants for the world to see Superman as the fraud he is. Pointing at the Bat-Signal shining in the sky in the distant Gotham City, Lex reveals that he expects for Superman to fight Batman to the death. When Superman asks if Lex really expects Superman to fight for him, Lex confirms it, showing Superman photos of Martha being held captive by his henchmen and hinting that Martha will die should Superman refuse.
When a shocked and enraged Superman falls to the ground in front of Lex, looking at the photos, and demands to know where Martha is, Lex states that he has forbidden his henchmen from telling him, but assures Superman that his mother will die should he attack Lex or try to fly off, his only chance of saving Martha being to kill Batman and to bring Lex his head. Lex gives Superman one hour to complete his task, then flies off in his helicopter. His continuous manipulation of Batman and Superman eventually leads to the titular battle between the two superheroes. However, before Batman can impale Superman with a Kryptonite spear, Lois arrives to clear up the confusion and to reveal Lex's manipulation. Teaming up with Superman to save Martha and defeat Lex, Batman locates Knyazev's mobile phone in a warehouse and takes out his men and the Russian himself, saving Martha.
Releasing Doomsday and Defeat
Meanwhile, Superman enters the Kryptonian scout-ship where Lex is awaiting his return. Upon seeing that Superman doesn't have Batman's head, Lex calls Knyazev's phone but is surprised to hear Batman on the other line and realizes that Martha is safe. Superman tells Lex that he has lost, but Lex disagrees and shows Superman that he has been creating a creature that he calls "Doomsday," bred to kill Superman. Stating that "God is as good as dead," he releases Doomsday, which attempts to attack Lex, but Superman stops it. Doomsday then starts fighting Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, resulting in a battle through the entire city.
After Doomsday is defeated at the cost of Superman's life, Lex is arrested for the terrorist attack on the Capitol and the havoc wrought by Doomsday. His head is shaved before he is imprisoned. In his cell, he seems to have a complete breakdown.
In the end of the movie (although this is included in the extended cut), Lex is seen screaming in his cell about an upcoming threat. Although it is yet unknown what he means or how he obtained the knowledge, a deleted scene which is set shortly before Lex's arrest by a Metropolis SWAT team shows Lex inside the Kryptonian scout-ship in front of a holographic image of Steppenwolf holding three cubes (most likely Mother Boxes, which are mostly associated with Darkseid) in his hands.
Ahoy, ahoy. I did not know you were here.
~ Lex's first words in the movie
You know, dad was born in East Germany. He grew up...eating stale crackers. And every other Saturday, he had to march in a parade and waved flowers at tyrants. So I think it was providence that his son, me, would end up with this. One of my rebuild Metropolis crews found it. A little souvenir from the Kryptonian World Engine.[...] Homeland security? No, ma'am. Planetary security.
~ Luthor, explaining his company's history
We suspected it might have bio interactions, so we took the sample to the AMRIID. Where they keep the remains of the Kryptonian decedent. And, when we exposed general Zod to this mineral, this happened. Profound biodegradation, decaying Kryptonian cells. We concluded the mineral could be weaponized if a large enough sample was found. And then, among the fishes, a whale! Lying at the bottom of the Indian Ocean. Emerald City. Beautiful. Now, Rocky is radio active, but what he needs is an import license.
~ Luthor, revealing Kryptonite to senator Finch
As a deterrent. A silver bullet to keep in reserve to use against the Kryptonians. So, the day doesn't come, madam, when your children are waiving daisies at a reviewing stand.
~ Luthor, explaining to senator Finch why the mineral needs to be weaponized
Yes, Superman. Yeah, but, there are...there are more of them.[...]Yes the Meta Human thesis. More likely than not. These exceptional beings live among us. The bases of our myths. Gods among men upon our...our little blue planet here. You don't have to use the silver bullet, but if you forge one...Well, then...we don't have to depend upon the kindness of monsters.
~ Luthor, mentioning the meta-human thesis
That should be upside down. We know better now, don't we? Devils don't come from Hell beneath us. No, they come from the sky.
~ Lex, observing a painting in his study
The Red Capes are coming! The Red Capes are coming!
~ Lex, to Senator Finch
Books are knowledge and knowledge is power, and I am...no. Um, no. What am I? What was I saying? The bittersweet pain among men is having knowledge with no power because...because that is paradoxical and, um...thank you for coming.
~ Lex, giving a speech to guests at his gala event
Boys! Mmm, Bruce Wayne meets Clark Kent. Ha, I love it! I love bringing people together! How are we?
~ Lex introducing himself to Bruce and Clark
It is a pleasure... Ow! Wow! That is a good grip!
~ Lex introducing himself to Clark
You should not pick a fight with this person!
~ Lex, to Bruce after shaking Clark's hand
You flew too close to the sun. Now look at you.
~ Lex, while studying Zod's corpse
Lane Lo in the morning. Lola in slacks. Lois Lane. Come see the view. Now, the secret is the height. It's the building material. It's light metals, which...sway a bit in the wind. And you know something about LEXCORP metals, don't you, miss Lane? [...] Wow, you're feisty. Unfortunately, that will blow away. Like sand in the desert. [...] That is a three syllable word for any thought too big for little minds. Next category: Circles. Round and round and round they go to find Superman. Wrong category. No, not triangles. Yes, Euclidean triangle equality. The shortest distance between any 2 points is a straight path. And I believe the swiftest path to Superman...is a pretty little road. Mmm, called Lois Lane.
~ Luthor, to Lois Lane, before pushing her off his building
Boy, do we have problems up here! The problem of...of evil in the world. The problem of absolute virtue. [...] The problem of you on top of everything else. You above all. Ah, 'cause that's what God is. Horus. Apollo. Jehovah. Kal-El. Clark Joseph Kent. See, what we call God depends upon our tribe, Clark Joe. Because God is tribal. God takes sides. No man in the sky intervened when I was a boy to deliver me from Daddy's fists and abominations. Mmnnn. 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 you are. With their eyes. The blood on your hands. [...] And tonight, they will. Yes. Because you, my friend, have a date! Across the bay. 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!" And now, you will fly to him, and you will battle him...to the death. Black and blue. Fight night. The greatest gladiator match in the history of the world. God versus man; day versus night; Son of Krypton versus Bat of Gotham!
~ Lex revealing his beliefs and plan to Superman
Mmm, yes, I do. I think you will fight, fight, fight for that special lady in your life.
~ Lex, to Superman
Close, but I am not talking about Lois. No. Every boy's special lady...is his mother. [...] Martha, Martha, Martha. But the mother of a flying demon must be a witch. The punishment for witches, what is that? That's right. Death by fire.
~ Lex, revealing Martha is being held captive
I DON'T KNOW! I would not let them tell me! Now, ah, if you kill me, Martha dies. And if you fly away, mmm, Martha also dies. But if you kill the Bat...Martha lives.
~ Lex, to Superman
There we go. There we go. And now God bends to my will.
~ Lex, after Superman kneels before him
Now, the cameras are waiting at your ship for the world to see the holes in the holy! Yes, the almighty comes clean about how dirty he is when it counts! To save Martha, bring me the head of the Bat!
~ Lex, to Superman
Ah, mother of God, would you look at the time? When you came here, you had an hour. Now it's less.
~ Lex, to Superman
"Late, late," says the White Rabbit. Right, Rabbit? Out of tricks. Out of time. And one bat head short. Ah, that would be the cook. Excuse me. Ah, Gotham Roast. Well done. Hello? Breaker of bad news.
~ Lex Luthor, to Superman as he arrives at the Kryptonian spaceship
I cannot let you win. I gave the Bat a fighting chance to do it, but he's not strong enough. So, if man won't kill God...the Devil will do it! [...] Ancient Kryptonian deformity. Blood of my blood...born to destroy you! Your doomsday. [...] Now God...is good...as dead.
~ Lex to Superman, revealing Doomsday
But the bell's already been rung. And they've heard it. Out in the dark, among the stars...ding dong, the god is dead. [...] The bell cannot be un-rung! He's hungry. He's found us. And he's coming!
~ Lex in his cell
Alexander Luther Sr. † - Father, Mentor, and Abuser
Superman † - Archnemesis, Manipulatee, and Indirect Victim
Batman - Business Rival and Manipulatee
Lois Lane - Exploited Prisoner
Martha Kent - Exploited Prisoner, Intended Victim
June Finch † - Rival and Victim
Wallace Keefe † - Manipulatee and Victim
Kahina Ziri † - Blackmailed and Indirect Victim
Cesar Santos † - Indirect Victim
This version of Lex Luthor is inspired by the Lex of Adventure Comics #271 and real life Silicon Valley CEOs.
Lex is the youngest person ever to be both named Fortune's Businessperson of the Year and included on the magazine's list of the World's 50 Greatest Leaders.
Lex is 31 in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, four years younger than Superman, when in most forms of media, he is either slightly or much older than Superman.
Before Eisenberg was cast, Mark Strong, Bryan Cranston, Billy Zane, and Joaquin Phoenix were all rumored to be considered for the part.
Lex has some similarities to the following villains:
Ichiro Yashida from The Wolverine: They are tech magnates who are fascinated with metahuman individuals, yet they wish to kill one in particular (Lex: Superman; Yashida: Wolverine).
Grings Kodai: They are wealthy businessmen who are willing to manipulate and blackmail others to get what they want and have access to advanced technology. They also wind up being arrested and sent to jail for their crimes.
Chris D'Amico aka the Motherfucker from Kick-Ass series: both of them are childish and nerdy and also ruthless killers and monsters. Both of them are obsessed about killing their arch rivals, and insane to boot. They were also neglected by their fathers and took over the company after their fathers died, although they were arguably worse than their fathers.
Controller X from Godzilla Final Wars: They are youthful, mentally unstable and have powerful monsters under their control and send them to destroy the good guys. They are also Comedic Complete Monsters who wish to control everything.
Isaac Ray Peram Westcott from Date A Live. They are businessmen willing to manipulate others to get what they want, are mentally unstable, and are non-fighters so they mostly rely on the powerful monsters under their control to destroy the good guys.
Major from Hellsing. They are leaders who are willing to commit any bloodshed to achieve their goals and are mentally unstable for it.
Joker by Heath Ledger from The Dark Knight: They are young terrorists who want to double-cross main hero (Lex: Superman & Batman, Joker: Batman). Both threatened to mock and push main heroine (Lois Lane & Rachel Dawes) to fall down. Both are interrogated by their own archenemy where the victims are (Lex: Martha Kent, Joker: Harvey Dent & Rachel Dawes). Both made a bomb in somewhere building (Lex: United States Capitol, Joker: Gotham General Hospital). Both have their own popular catchphrase (Lex: the red capes are coming, Joker: Why so serious?)
Jim Moriarty from Sherlock: Both are highly intelligent criminal masterminds, but are also childish, insane and obsessed with their arch-rivals.
King Candy from Wreck-it Ralph: Both are intelligent master manipulators and are good with technology, but are also childish, flamboyant and mentally unstable. They also seek to destroy their arch-rivals and stay on top by any means necessary.
Prince Hans from Frozen: They are highly intelligent master manipulators and take advantage of situations to achieve their own ends, and they're also sociopaths. They were also abused by their family members, which led to their villainous natures. They also have red hair.
Vector from Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL: They are brilliant and insane villains who manipulate everything and everyone to their advantage.
Tzekel-Kan from The Road to El Dorado: They are deranged and use the gigantic monsters at their disposal to destroy the protagonists; however, Luthor is an atheist, whereas Tzekel-Kan is a polytheist.
Loki from the Marvel Cinematic Universe: They are tremendously intelligent, but also psychopathic and have tragic pasts that led to them becoming evil; they wish to destroy their arch-rivals (Lex: Superman, Loki: Thor); they are very childish; and they eventually become subservient to a higher being (Lex: Darkseid, Loki: Thanos).
Ernst Stavro Blofeld from Spectre: They are superbly intelligent criminal masterminds who are obsessed with destroying their arch-rivals, and very childish to boot. They also get defeated in the end, but survive.
Helmut Zemo from Captain America: Civil War: Both are criminal masterminds who manipulate the heroes into fighting each other and do it out of personal vendetta and revenge. Both also end up being incarcerated by the end.
Lex Luthor promotional art
Promotional for Lex Luthor
Luthor's proposal is denied by Senator Finch
Zod's body is delivered to Luthor
Luthor meets Kent and Wayne during his fundraiser
Lex Luthor with Kryptonite
Lex looking at a rock of Kryptonite
Luthor smugly tells Finch that power being innocent is the oldest lie in America before the Senate building explosion
Lex Luthor cuts his hand.
Lex preparing to push Lois off the building
Luthor pushes Lois down, knowing Superman will come to her rescue
Superman kneels before Lex Luthor
Lex declaring that Superman must fight Batman
Lex Luthor gets his head shaved after being sent to prison