Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Batman v Superman: Inside the Mind of Lex Luthor

1) Lex cares about the world.

-Lex proposes a plan for "global security"

-Lex spearheads the rebuilding of Metropolis with his "rebuild Metropolis crews"

-Lex donates money to the Metropolis Library and hosts a fundraiser

-”We don’t have to depend on the kindness of monsters”

-”Look at us.  This is how it all caves in.  Civilization on the wane, manners out the window.”  This quote shows Lex’s concern for humanity and also indicates he feels he and Batman, both Men, should be fighting on the same side against other worldly tyrants.  As Lex says at the fundraiser, “You should hop the harbor more often.  Maybe I can show you my labs, partner on something.”

-Lex believes that Man can take down God.  He gives Batman a fighting chance.

2) Lex cares about his image.

-Lex puts on a purely superficial presentation to the Senators upon their arrival at LexCorp

-Lex goes out of his way to act charming and witty during the fundraiser

-Lex eliminates anyone who can tarnish his name, specifically during the Capitol bombing.

-Acts humble about having his name on the marquis

-Lex stutters at the thought of the world thinking he’s insane.
-Although he doesn’t follow through, Lex makes it known that he is at the Senate to tell his story about being willing to finance a Kryptonian deterrent

-He’s arrogant to think he can’t lose (which happens to also be his weakness).

3) Lex cares about power.

-Lex: "And now God bends to my will."

-Lex: "I don't know how to lose."

-Finch: ”He’s been using the committee as his puppet theater.”

4) Lex fears a world run by metahuman tyrants, namely Superman.

-Lex: "Every other Saturday [my father] had to march in a parade and wave flowers at tyrants"....”Why would we want to weaponize this material?”  ”As a deterrent.  A silver bullet to keep in reserve to use against the Kryptonians so that the day does not come madam when your children are waving daisies at a reviewing stand.”

-Lex: "Homeland security?  No, no, no, no madam, Planetary Security"

-Lex: ”The problem of you on top of everything else.  You above all.”

-Lex: ”If god is all powerful, he cannot be all good.  And if he is all good, he cannot be all powerful.”

-Lex: "Devil's don't come from Hell beneath us. No, they come from the sky."

-Lex: "You know the oldest lie in America, senator? It's that power can be innocent."

5) Lex plans to prove the world has reason to fear metahuman tyrants such as Superman (in part by exposing that "power can be innocent" is a lie)

-Lex’s “silver bullet” is dismissed because no one believes him that there are others with powers like Superman to fear.  

Senator: “Last I looked the only one of those flying around up here was Superman.”
Lex: “Haha, yes, Superman.  Yeah, but there are uh, 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.  God among men upon our little blue planet here."

-Lex: ”...if Man won’t kill God, the devil will do it.”  Lex acknowledges that Superman is viewed as a god by the people, and that Doomsday would be viewed as a devil.  The world views devils as bad and that they must be stopped.  By unleashing Doomsday, Lex is giving the world a devil of Kryptonian origin to justify his silver bullet, to justify the need for such a thing. Something that he has personally been pushing for openly.

-Lex unleashes Doomsday with full knowledge that Batman has the Kryptonite which could be used to defeat Doomsday.  And it’s very likely he even knows Batman created a spear from surveilling him.  In any case, Lex has made it known that he has the means to create a kryptonite weapon and the government would follow the yellow brick road back to him.

-Lex: They need to see the fraud that you are. With their eyes. The blood on your hands. And tonight they will." Lex hopes and expects Batman to kill Superman. If Batman fails and Superman kills him, Lex exposes Superman as an evil fraud with blood on his hands and proves there is reason to fear him and to put an end to him. If Batman succeeds and kills Superman, Lex is allowed to spin a tale of Superman unleashing his Doomsday into the world framing him as an evil fraud with blood on his hands that Batman was forced to kill. Superman would not be alive to defend himself or to expose Lex as the puppet master.


  1. Alessandro, love the podcast and what you guys are doing! I'm still traveling (I HAVEN'T seen the Ultimate Edition yet!), but figured I'd reply to your tweet as a friendly rebuttal.

    I think if listen to my Lex podcast, you'll see there's a ton of different interests / motivations. However, in response to it being too complicated, as a rhetorical device, I summed it up with my selected quote... simply to appease those who claim it can't be summed up. If that was ALL I believed it was, I wouldn't have needed to follow-up the line with tons of explanation and I wouldn't have later called the post "incomplete and deceptively titled!"

    The "need" to sum it up in a sound-bite is technically external to the story, but arguably "best practices" for storytelling... in this podcast at the 46:35 mark, Goyer says: "If you can't sum [the character motivations] up in one line then your script is on shaky ground."

    In truth and reality, it's not necessary, but simply to satisfy the rhetoric of that kind of argument, I structured the post accordingly. So only in that rhetorical sense, I think we can put all your motivations / interests BACK into the lens of "exposing power as innocent as a lie." Again, not necessary, not "truth", not even serious, but just as a rhetorical exercise...

    1. Lex cares about the world not recognizing power as a lie, but doesn't ACTUALLY care, because he's willing to slay a planetary savior, unleash a planetary beast, unravel the seat of government, and is perceived as someone who would "let them eat cake." For all we know, he's the one that invites Darkseid's forces to Earth. Alternatively, you can argue that he actually cares, but he's interpretation of caring is that they "see with their eyes" and actually accept his message (as more important than their well-being in other regards). To the extent that he does good, it applies to the next point....

    2. Lex cares about his image because it keeps him credible so that the means to his message isn't compromised and the message isn't about him but its content. That's why Lex isn't one of the talking heads denouncing Superman directly in the media. He wants to appear to be above the fray and impartial to it and let others, more credibly, show Superman to be a fraud.

    3. Lex cares about power insomuch as that it allows him to spread his message and reinforces his belief in it. I'm sure all these lines are from the Ultimate Edition, so I don't exactly have context, but the central origin for Lex's belief is his sense of powerlessness while abused by his father. Therefore, he's always seeking power to never be in that position again and it's why he has an existential crisis when Superman does exactly that... so he seeks power (knowledge) to undo that circumstance.

    4/5. Lex uses the fear of power to spread his message, but he isn't actually afraid of power so long as it isn't presented as innocent... Lex knows the government is corrupt (Nairomi gov't double-dealing, Lex's own spies inside the CIA, Sen. Barrows bowing to him, etc), Lex knows his father was corrupt, Lex is himself corrupt, Lex knows Batman is corrupt(ed), etc. Lex is OK with Doomsday being unleashed, fearless in the face of Batman branding him, etc. because the top dog of power that he now knows about (Darkseid) fits with his world-view.

    I've seen the "sin / sinner" UE quote around and I think it reinforces the point that Lex doesn't actually think Superman would be evil, is evil, or is anything but a momma's boy, Clark Jo from Kansas... but what he represents symbolically and publicly matters more than who Clark actually is as an individual person.

    Anyways, "reasonable minds will differ"... I don't think I heavily disagree with anything and find it all within reasonable range of interpretation.

  2. DrAwkward, I appreciate your commenting on my blog post and the fact that you took the time to respond. You've certainly given me some things to think about, and I should probably give your Lex podcast a listen. I can sort of see your point about summing his motivations to that one-liner, but I have to wonder if the world ever considered Superman innocent. And I don't think Superman every claimed to be innocent. So it begs the question why Lex feels the need to expose Superman as not being innocent. Perhaps I've misconstrued some of your comment, and I will certainly reread it several times as well as give your materials on Lex a closer look. At that point I will decide if my argument deems a further friendly rebuttal 
    But I would just like to quickly make a few comments, not necessarily in rebuttal, but in reaction.
    1. Lex is willing to sacrifice for the greater good. He cares enough about the world to break some eggs in order to bring it to his vision of a better world. He sees Superman as a hindrance to progress and self-reliance and needs Doomsday to convince people of his way of thinking.
    2. In a way, we all care about our image to be credible. If we walked around smelling and looking like bums on the street we likely wouldn’t have many friends. But Lex goes above and beyond.
    3. “And now God bends to my will” is in the theatrical cut when Superman is kneeling before Lex on the helipad. I can kind of get behind your assessment about Lex desiring power because of his father, but in a way it contradicts the idea that he wants power to spread his message.
    4/5.As I mentioned, I don’t think the world has ever really thought Superman was innocent nor has Superman presented himself as innocent. I think Lex doesn’t like the idea that a being like Superman can have control over him and the world hence the reviewing stand references and the “above all” comment he makes. The point isn’t that Superman is evil, but that he can take sides. Who is to say what Superman views as right and wrong and which side he’ll take in anything. It plays into the Civil War happening in Nairobi where Superman forces the US to take sides. What if the US decides to attack China in the future because of their manmade islands in international waters? It’s not as clear as evil vs absolute virtue. It’s about Superman not having anyone to answer to and being in a position to take any side he chooses.

  3. Only rhetorically again (not this way or the highway), on the innocence of Superman...

    "The oldest lie in America Senator?" (talking about a weapon of assassination against Superman)
    "Cannot be all good... and neither can you."
    "They need to see the blood on your hands."
    "The holes in the holy."
    "How dirty the Almighty is when it counts."
    "And your [sin], my friend, is existing."

    All these statements are meant to impute corruption to something implicitly innocent. He says it to the Senator because she's giving Superman a pass (not accepting his deterrent), so he tells her Superman's innocence is a lie (if not interrupted) and that he's a devil (coming from the sky). He says Clark cannot be all good and is upset with that Status Quo which is why he put into motion all his schemes. The reason they need to see blood on his hands is because they see he has no blood on his hands. He needs holes in Superman because he's holy (innocent, without blame or fault). He needs to be dirty because he's Almighty and clean (innocent). When Lex enumerates his sin, the only one he has is existing, Clark is otherwise innocent. So given that status quo and perception, Lex is driven to change it as a basic central (and traditionally classic) motivation.

  4. In case it bears repeating, I agree with you in principle. That a complex and deep character will have many different motivations, interests, and principles. Some benevolent. Some contradictory. More than one thing driving them just like any normal real-world person isn't just a single-sentence motivation.

    However, purely for the purpose of addressing critics who claim Lex's motivations are too complex to be understood, too obtuse or confusion, too numerous and overwrought, I adopted a rhetorical position that it can all be summed up with that one quoted line which envelopes power, lies, and goodness... so you can- at least for argument's sake- hang practically any want, need, or motivation on those broad categories in the quote.

    For example, everything about image, perception, and the public can be put in the "lies" (and exposing thereof) bin.

    Rhetorically, it doesn't matter if Superman says he's innocent or if the world thinks he's innocent. For the purposes of Lex's motivations, what's necessary is that Lex THINKS the World thinks of Superman as innocent. We can infer that Lex believes that because he instigates the African Incident to change the narrative surrounding Superman... implicitly, that prior to instigating the incident, the public held an opinion different than what the incident created as the default / status quo in Lex's mind.

    At first, Lex thinks the government / people / world is with him. Look how quickly they turned after his orchestrated events! Look at Senator Finch saying, "We hold him responsible." Look at Senator Barrows agreeing to all of Lex's demands and them both listening to his pitch to deter Superman. So he believe he's winning and things are going his way until Finch denies him his import license.

    If Finch (Lex's insight into how the gov't, public, world views Superman) doesn't believe Superman is innocent, why would she characterize his peaceful deterrence plan as "a weapon of assassination?" When Finch declines the import license, she's revealing to Lex that ultimately she doesn't fear Superman like he does (maybe not perfectly innocent, but not as someone with blood on their hands, holes, dirt, sin... a monster, devil, or demon. So he badly wants to say the line, but she interrupts him and he has to wait until later to say it.

    With respect to the "taking sides" part... I think that's less an expression of Lex's fears and more a statement of Superman's divinity (which can either fall into the "power" bin or the "innocent" bin depending on how you parse it... maybe even the "lies" bin if weighed against impartiality-as-truth). Lex isn't saying he fears the partiality of gods, but that partiality / tribalism / taking-sides is a characteristic of gods (so he lists a series of gods with their own tribes)... and just as Superman is about to prefer Martha over Batman, take sides with her over another, Superman is a god subject to the Problem of Evil, being viewed as all-good (innocent) / all-powerful (god) which is a lie (expose the oldest lie).

  5. To paraphrase Lex's speech to Superman which echoes themes throughout the movie:

    In the world there exist decisions that are inherently skewed toward being moral or immoral; too far in either direction can be harmful because the consequences are a matter of perspective. What is good for one may be bad for another. Superman does not define these lines of morality, but has reign over everything in between.
    Superman decides, with his supreme power, how and when to act and interfere without limitation. He decides who lives and who dies. But it is through our suffering that we grow stronger, as individuals, and as a species. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Superman interferes with this Darwinian progress.
    If a supreme being has complete control and influence over people and events, he cannot be beneficial for them or act in a way that is morally sound for everyone. And even if this supreme being wishes to benefit everyone and act in a way that is morally sound for everyone, it is impossible for him to have such complete control and influence over people and events therefore he could only help a select number and inadvertently create an imbalance.
    The people need to see the deception that Superman is good for the world. They can’t be told, they must come to that realization on their own, that Superman’s interference with human history is a death knell for humanity.

    I suppose exposing “power can be innocent” as a lie is in there, but ultimately it seems to me that his goal is to expose the problem with godly intervention and eliminate it.

    I don't think the incorporation of Injustice into the movie was a coincidence or done for the fans. In that comic Superman becomes a tyrant over humanity because he thinks he knows what is best for them, but in actuality he is hindering them, like a protective parent, from developing and learning from their mistakes. Lex specifically makes mention of tyrants and reviewing stands. I think Lex fears this Injustice future.

    I think we are both justified in our explanations and views, but we differ a little which isn't a bad thing. If anything it proves how artful this movie really is :)

  6. DrAwkward,

    After some consideration and further analysis, I've come up with the following explanation of Lex's motivation which I intend to incorporate into the JLU podcast:

    Lex says to Superman: “Problems up here. The problem of evil in the world. The problem of absolute virtue. The problem of you on top of everything else. You above all. Because that’s what God is.”
    “What we call God depends upon our tribe...cause God is tribal. God takes sides. No man in the sky intervened when I was boy to deliver me from daddy’s fist and abominations. I figured out way back if God is all powerful, he cannot be all good. If he is all good, he cannot be all powerful. And neither are you. They need to see the fraud you are. With their eyes. The blood on your hands. And tonight they will.”

    To paraphrase this:

    In the world there exist decisions that are inherently skewed toward being moral or immoral; too far in either direction can be harmful because the consequences are a matter of perspective. What is good for one may be bad for another. Superman does not define these lines of morality, but has reign over everything in between.
    Superman decides, with his supreme power, how and when to act and interfere without limitation. He decides who lives and who dies. But it is through our suffering that we grow stronger, as individuals, and as a species. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Superman interferes with this Darwinian progress.
    If a supreme being has complete control and influence over people and events, he cannot be beneficial for them or act in a way that is morally sound for everyone. And even if this supreme being wishes to benefit everyone and act in a way that is morally sound for everyone, it is impossible for him to have such complete control and influence over people and events therefore he could only help a select number and inadvertently create an imbalance.
    The people need to see the deception that Superman is good for the world. They can’t be told, they must come to that realization on their own, that Superman’s interference with human history is a death knell for humanity.

  7. This echoes themes presented throughout the movie by Jonathan Kent in his story about protecting his family’s farm from flooding resulting in the Lang’s farm flooding, and by the Senate witness of the African incident who comments that Superman doesn’t answer to anyone, not even god and asks how Superman chooses who lives and who dies. Note that in the Extended Cut we learn that these lines by the witness were scripted by Lex. And twice in the movie Superman acts to save a woman that he loves which would have resulted in others dying, an example of Superman’s taking sides which Lex had set out to show the world.

    Lex mentions there was no Superman to save him from his father’s fists and abominations. It does tell us how fractured he is due to his father’s abuse, but his purpose for saying this to Superman is the matter which warrants consideration. The logical significance of this within the context of his speech is in the fact that he survived those hardships arguably making him stronger for it. And the fact that there was no Superman to save him when he was a child exemplifies the fact that Superman can’t save everyone. God helps those who help themselves, because there is no divine hand to manipulate the strings, it is in Man’s own hands to decide its fate, yet people and mankind will become complacent by Superman’s presence. The fact that Superman is now saving people creates an imbalance in the world.

    If God favors one army over another, then the clashing army will suffer losses as a result. Each life that Superman chooses to save is inadvertently another life that Superman chooses not to save. Therefore, with each life Superman saves, he is taking sides. According to Lex it is unacceptable for a being to have such power to tip the scales, hence when he says “I don’t hate the sinner, I hate the sin, and your sin is existing,” he is saying that Superman’s very existence is a transgression against the rules of nature.

  8. Earlier in the film Lex told of his father waving flowers at tyrants every Saturday. He also expresses the purpose of his silver bullet is to prevent the same scenario from happening to our children. It is no coincidence that Batman’s ‘knightmare’ consists of a world not so different from the Injustice comics in which Superman becomes a tyrant over Man because he feels he knows what’s best for them. In actuality in this potential future he is hindering Mankind, like a protective parent, from developing and learning from their mistakes, and taking away their free will, something which even God cannot take away. This shows a clear connection to Lex’s mention of waving daisies at a reviewing stand and insight into Lex’s fears about a being like Superman interfering with Darwinian evolution.

    If a parent prevents a child from touching a hot plate, they will never learn not to touch it. If they do the child’s homework for them, they will never learn. If they carry their child everywhere, they will never learn to walk. If the parent does everything for the child, the child will rely on the parent for everything to the point where they will not know how to exist without them. This interference in the child’s development is unnatural, just as Superman’s interference in mankind’s development is unnatural.

    Before the capitol tragedy, Lex tells Senator Finch, “You know what the biggest lie in American history is? That power can be innocent.” When you consider Lex’s speech to Superman it encompasses that very statement. As Man of Steel Answers points out, Lex’s ultimate goal is to expose this to the world, and about Superman in particular. I would even go a step further and say power is not innocent, but for sake of consistency, Lex’s statement captures this notion.

    Let’s take a moment to establish what that statement means. Power, the capacity to direct or influence the course of events, is NOT innocent, not without culpability for action that is considered bad or wrong. According to Lex, Superman IS culpable for actions which result in bad things, and every action is good for some and bad for others. Accordingly, every action by Superman has a negative consequence whether directly, by acting in the interest of one party at the expense of another such as in Jonathan Kent’s story, or indirectly, from inaction. Furthermore he implies that Superman’s actions directly affect the course of human history and therefore are bad for humanity. Concordantly, Superman, with the power he possesses, is not innocent in that his action or inaction has a cost, one that is paid by Mankind.

  9. As you can see, I've come around to agreeing with your motivation for Lex, although with some difference. I havent gotten around to listening to the podcast, but I do disagree with some of your points regarding Lex's plans found on your website.

    For starters I don't think Lex obscures his meaning at all. He means exactly what he says. Its just convoluted like he and his plans are.

    Also, I dont think Batman was a backup plan. It was two years in the making. Thats an awful long time just for a backup plan. It also tells us Lex was planning to use Batman much earlier than when Finch turns Lex down. There is also the use of Martha in this plan which echoes using Lois in Africa. Lex is forcing Superman into situations where he has to act selfishly at the expense of others. He is taking sides and choosing who lives and who dies just as Lex had the witness say.

    Lex wanted Superman dead from the start. Even if the government had been on board with creating a silver bullet, they would have never authorized the use of it. Therefore Lex was always counting on Batman to kill Superman. And if he failed, Superman would have killed to save his mother showing he takes sides and is not innocent.

    I also dont think Lex's goal is to see what knowledge and power is in the ship. Gaining access to the ship was a means to try to advance his plan against Superman by learning more about him. Know thy enemy.

    Doomsday is a bad example of power being innocent because of his destructive and devlish nature, so that is not his purpose. Zod would have already played that part. He was an example of what ultimate power on the planet would be like. Superman is the only one is questionably innocent.
    No, Doomsday serves three purposes. He is a backup plan to kill Superman, he is a pawn to frame Superman as releasing a Kryptonian threat, and he acts as a real Kryptonian threat to justify his silver bullet. Using Doomsday in this way is similar to Lex's plot in the comic Superman: Birthright in which he frames Superman for a Kryptonian invasion. Given much of Lex's characteristics are similar to those in this comic, it is reasonable to think his plans would also be similar. It also makes more sense than Doomsday just being a last ditch effort. Because once DD arrives, Lex is vindicated by the need for Kryptonite.

    I dont believe Lex is willing to die. He never has in the comics, and I see no indication that is the case in the movie. Why would he continue learning from the ship if he didnt care about surviving? Lex is a survivor. It's plausible he even thought he'd be able to control Doomsday given it contained his DNA. But ultimately he knew the Kryptonian DNA would make Doomsday vulnerable to Kryptonite which Batman had made into a weapon.

    1. In reply to the differences:

      Obscuring: Same difference? If Senator Finch doesn't understand what he means or catches his references isn't he obscuring his meaning? The whole introduction of that point, however, was mainly to address Sam's theory that Lex might have been lying about being abused. My reply to that was if we started to doubt Lex's statements we're denying ourselves more evidence to use.

      Backup - I don't necessarily see the result as proof of intention. It took 18 months to find Kryptonite, but by the same token it took 2 years to uncover Flash, Cyborg, etc. So he has an ongoing dossier of projects and investments he can tap as appropriate. He probably has plans regarding Waller which he can tap... and we won't be surprised if he reveals down the road he has other machinations already in motion.

      Dead Supes - This is sort of the same as above. What do we consider central to his motivations versus collateral? It's open to interpretation. The knowledge of and toleration of other metahumans makes me believe Superman's death is a collateral interest... that and the ability to assassinate him earlier. Conversely that means Lex has the capacity to live in a world where Superman lives (at least prior to learning about Doomsday / Darkseid).

      To avoid pedantry, I'll skip to Doomsday...

      Doomsday - Example power being innocent is a lie (not "power being innocent"), don't forget the lie part! Zod doesn't serve this purpose because Superman beat him... so Superman was a supreme power over Zod. Doomsday's spec sheet meant Doomsday was all-but-guaranteed to defeat Superman and thus claim the top-spot of supreme power and establishing such supreme power is not innocent (but "devilish" as you say). At least until Darkseid, at which is a little too late for Lex to revel in "I told you so!"

      Doomsday isn't the backup. Doomsday isn't a frame job. Doomsday isn't a justification. These are all supported by Lex sacrificing his freedom and revealing his machinations. If Doomsday was just a contingency and a frame job, Lex would have continued to use proxies as he had already done the entire film. There was no need to personally throw Lois off a building, confront Superman directly, or stick around after Doomsday was unleashed. All of that results in the blame falling squarely on Lex, removing any anti-Superman benefit... which Lex only cares about if Superman is the supreme power (Doomsday and Darkseid negate that).

      He had no expectation he could recover any Kryptonite, that there was any left, or that any could be used to stop Doomsday. For all he knew, Batman turned it all into grenades and Superman threw the bandoleer of Kryptonite grenades into space.

  10. Lex being as willing to die as Superman not only puts him on equal footing, but it explains plenty of incongruities in his plan otherwise.

    Why not have an underling draw Superman out and provide the conditions for the ultimatum without confessing your crimes and involvement?

    What was Lex expecting to happen when he called Knyzev expecting Martha's death in Superman's presence... when her life was the only thing that stopped him from lancing him with heat vision before?

    How could Lex unleash something that destructive? Why did Lex stick around to be arrested and caught? Etc.

    If Lex valued life over his mission, he wouldn't have been communing period, he would have high-tailed it out of there while the city was still overwhelmed by blackouts, Doomsday, etc. Lex's mission is bigger than Superman, which is why he's essentially indifferent to the fights themselves... despite hyping it up for Superman, he doesn't take measures to watch the fight against Batman or Doomsday. He'd much rather learn more from the Scout Ship which proves he's compelled not about Superman or "know thy enemy" but by something larger than that... and larger than his own life or freedom. Superman giving his life doesn't mean he doesn't want to be with Lois. Likewise, Lex being willing to give his life doesn't mean he doesn't want anything.

    If Lex were purely fixated on Superman and "know thy enemy" where better to gather that knowledge and data than to observe Superman's fights? Instead, where was Lex? With Doomsday, with the Scout Ship, communing... thus showing his priorities and interests above and beyond Superman and his death.

    1. The easiest way to think about it is this: What if Batman kills Superman, what costs has Lex already incurred?

      Lex has already functionally confessed to Lois who is at liberty. Lex has already triggered a city-wide event attracting the world's attention. He does nothing to monitor the fight except give Superman a deadline in the presumption that Superman is dead if he doesn't show up on time. A presumption that isn't even necessarily true. Superman could be alive even at the expense of Martha.

      So if the point of everything he was doing was to kill Superman, he's already irreversibly put himself into hot-water for nothing. If Superman is presumed dead (being late), Lex is still going to be arrested, brought up on charges, his access to the ship denied, and all that and Superman might not even actually be dead (hypothetically, you can imagine Batman losing but still making Superman too late). That doesn't make sense of Superman's death is the end goal.

      But if Doomsday / learning more from the ship is the ends, it does. It's still costly, but it makes sense because Lex is the only one who can access the ship and he can only get the knowledge in-person. That's why he's stuck there, but the exchange is worth it to him.

  11. Excellent tete-a-tete we have here. Thanks for participating in it. It is my hope that our discussion at least broadens ours and people's views of the movie. Allow me to respond.

    Obscuring: According to you “Lex limits his lies. He obscures his meaning and intent with double meanings, wordplay, sarcasm, irony, etc…...which is to say, his lines support his psychology but can’t always be taken at face value”

    If Senator Finch doesn’t understand what he Lex means or catches his references, it doesn’t mean he’s necessarily obscuring his meaning as much as he thinking and speaking at a high level than her. Geniuses aren’t always aware of the level ineptitude of those around them. As you say, most of the time Lex is either telling the truth or his intentions can be uncovered in what he’s saying, but while he may be hiding his intentions, its not with purpose that he is hiding the meaning of his words.

    Backup - According to you it is Finch’s blocking of the import license which leads Lex to provoke Batman into fighting Superman. If I’m understanding you correctly you are suggesting that Lex has been spending that past two years manipulating Batman at the off chance the US Government does not approve his silver bullet. But this doesn’t make sense in that from the point Lex begins manipulating Batman he doesn’t know if and where he will find Kryptonite, possibly even in Metropolis, nor does he have any reason to believe the US will approve killing Superman with the silver bullet even if they approved of its creation which is the culmination of Lex’s planning. Batman has always been Lex’s plan to eliminate Superman and expose him for the fraud he is by forcing him to choose between Batman and his mother. The US Government agreeing to Lex’s silver bullet would not expose Superman’s power as not innocent.

    Dead Supes - I don’t see Lex tolerating the other metahumans which is evident in the fact that Lex exposes them to Batman. Lex, via the witness’ words and Goyer’s choice of words for Finch’s invitation to Superman, on top of Lex’s speech to Superman, indicate an intolerance for Superman’s very existence. “I don’t hate the sinner, I hate the sin. And your sin is existing.” This counters your proposal that Lex has the capacity to live in a world where Superman lives. He most certainly wants Superman dead which further validates my argument that Lex always intended for Batman to kill Superman.

    Doomsday - Although Superman did beat Zod, it doesn’t preclude the fact that Zod had the same “supreme power” as Superman. They were on even ground, Zod losing by circumstance not by skill/power. Zod serves the purpose of showing power being innocent is a lie because he was not innocent. He was responsible for countless deaths. While I hate to nitpick, we don’t really know Doomsday’s “spec sheet”. How can we really know that Doomsday was all-but-guaranteed to defeat Superman, and how can Lex know that? We don’t know what information the AI has given Lex about Doomsday, nor does the AI know anything about Superman given its programming prior to Superman’s existence. There is also the matter of what supreme power is not innocent means. In the context of this particular argument surrounding Zod and Doomsday, it doesn’t match the explanation Lex gives for its meaning as I explain in my paraphrasing of Lex’s speech to Superman. Zod and Doomsday are examples of how supreme power can be evil, but not examples of how supreme power cannot be innocent.

  12. Lex reveals his machinations to Superman only with the expectation that Superman will be killed by either Batman or Doomsday. Lex would not have shared his access and knowledge of the scout ship, nor was there a need to use a proxy to create Doomsday given the subcommittee overseeing access to the ship was eliminated as you pointed out. He didn’t sacrifice his freedom. Superman was the only one who could testify to his wrongdoing, and he was expecting him to die. Lex couldn’t have anticipated, or at least didn’t anticipate, Superman, Batman, Lois, and Diana communicating with each other and deciphering that he was behind Doomsday. Perry even says to Lois when she asks for the helicopter that Superman is likely at the scout ship. It all led to framing Superman for unleashing Doomsday.

    Given my explanation about how Batman was not a backup plan, and Lex’s intolerance of Superman’s existence leading him to want Superman eliminated, Doomsday was obviously a backup plan to Batman’s killing Superman, and with Superman gone Lex would be in control of the narrative.

    We still have no knowledge based on what the movie shows us on whether Lex kept any Kryptonite for himself. But he knew that Batman had the Kryptonite. Barring his own ability to retrieve the Kryptonite from him, he need only direct the US Government in Batman’s direction to acquire the Kryptonite necessary to defeat Doomsday. We have no reason not to think Lex is still keeping tabs on Batman in the same fashion he discovered his identity which would lead him to know about the spear. We don’t know the full extent of the effect of Kryptonite on Superman and therefore can’t assume he would even be able to throw it into space. Furthermore, we have to consider the knowledge Lex had when he commenced creation of Doomsday which is to say he was expecting Batman to be victorious which would mean the Kryptonite would still be whole and on Earth.

    Why not have an underling draw Superman out and provide the conditions for the ultimatum without confessing your crimes and involvement? Because as we see Lex’s behaviour throughout the movie he is confident and cocky. Lex was convinced this encounter would be the last he’d ever have with Superman because he was sure one way or another Superman would die. (And technically he was right).

    What was Lex expecting to happen when he called Knyzev expecting Martha's death in Superman's presence... when her life was the only thing that stopped him from lancing him with heat vision before? Unfortunately we can’t know for sure what was going on in Lex’s mind in that moment, but it’s likely that, given Superman didn’t kill Batman, he knew Superman wouldn’t have it in him to kill him. And at the very least he needed only to delay Superman from killing him for a few seconds until Doomsday hatched.

    How could Lex unleash something that destructive? It’s not anything Metropolis hadn’t already overcome with Zod. And it was something that he would benefit from by being vindicated due to the need of his silver bullet, and by having his company rebuild from Doomsday’s destruction as he did with Zod’s both in financial gain and by raising his reputation.

  13. Why did Lex stick around to be arrested and caught? Etc. As I mentioned, Superman was the only one who knew Lex created Doomsday and he was supposed to die. He couldn’t have anticipated Superman, Batman, Lois, and Diana communicating. His presence in the ship does not in itself condemn him. It is the narrative by Lois and the others that testify against him. Had he had control of the narrative after Superman’s death, the world would have seen the unleashing of a Kryptonian threat and linked it to Superman with Lex to guide the narrative in that direction. His being in the scout ship could have easily been played off as a victim. There were no witnesses to his actions or subcommittee to oversee his plans.

    Lex’s access to the scout ship was INITIALLY about knowing his enemy. Once his plans were in full force he took the opportunity to learn more. We have no indication that Lex communicated with Steppenwolf or Darkseid. From what we know about Kryptonian technology and of the upcoming Justice League movie, what Lex sees is a holographic projection of data, not a communication with other wordly entities. He had no reason to observe Superman’s fights because he was convinced Superman was “good as dead”.

    As Lex says to Lois, all her evidence would blow away like sand in the desert. She had not proof of anything, nor was she witness to anything. Once again, lets not forget there is no evidence of Lex’s wrongdoing. It isn’t until Superman details Lex’s plot to Batman that Lex has lost his defense. Yes, Lex wanted Superman dead, but he also wanted to justify the need to fear beings like Superman and the need for his silver bullet in response to being told “there’s only one of those flying around up here and that’s Superman”. Lex created another “one of those” to prove the world wrong, that they had reason to fear more of Superman and his kind. I agreed with your motivation to expose power can be innocent as a lie. I maintain that. And because of that Superman had to die. If Superman had been killed by Batman, the world still wouldn’t have been completely convinced and seen with their own eyes that Superman was a fraud. Hence framing him for Doomsday.

    a)Batman kills Superman. Lex frames Superman for Doomsday preventing him from being a martyr.
    b)Superman kills Batman. There is blood on his hands and Doomsday kills Superman.

    Both scenarios expose that power can be innocent is a lie and results in Superman's death.


  14. To be clear, the reason Lex needs the Senate's approval for an import license on Kryptonite is because being of alien origin it is not covered by the CFR or IMDG guidelines for shipping radioactive materials because it has no classification. The Senate would need to approve the transportation of said substance or Coast Guard and Customs Border Patrol can reject or seize the cargo. The business man that he is, Lex is trying to appeal to the Senate's homeland security efforts to justify the legal importation of the Kryptonite. He is not asking permission to create the silver bullet deterrent or necessarily for the government's backing of such a plan. Senator Barrows takes it upon himself to get Lex access to Zod and the scout ship because he agrees with Lex's idea of needing to keep Superman in check and wants to help him how he can. Since Senator Finch blocks the import license Lex is forced to smuggle the Kryptonite into the country. But it was always intended for Batman, a plan two years going.

  15. Lex believes that Superman will defeat Batman I'm sure. Although he provides Batman with the tools to have a fighting chance, that's only to give Batman enough "hope" to engage in the fight. Batman is presented as a resourceful crime fighter over a long period, but just in Gotham. What evidence is there to honestly think that this low level crime fighter, even with kryptonite (that needs to be energised to be effective) could kill Superman? No, Lex first and foremost believes Superman will win that fight.
    This makes sense because if Batman wins then there's no trace back to Lex and Superman is not all powerful,but that's just a bonus he doesn't count on hence he creates Doomsday.
    The point of his manipulation of Batman being 2 years in the making is that it was always Lex's primary goal to have Superman kill Batman and end his innocence to the world. Superman killing is the only way for the world to see he is not all powerful and all good. Only after he enters the scout ship and learns that he can create Doomsday does he decide that he will kill Superman regardless od the outcome.
    Let's play it out if the scout ship wasn't able to present a way to kill Superman. I believe at this point Lex would have then gone to the government and gotten official approval to weaponise kryptonite meaning he still has some. He would have to deal with Lois and Superman knowing his plans,but his line to Lois about blowing away indicates he has thought that through. Everything changes once he enters the ship and decides that he will bring forward Superman's death by creating Doomsday which makes sense to him because it is the higher power and ia not all good.

  16. Glenn R, I agree Lex always intended Batman and Superman to fight. I'm working on a comprehensive analysis of Lex's plans from start to finish which I plan to post as soon as I'm done.

    1. Excellent. Between yourself, Sam and Doc Awk, I get my fix. Hanging for the review of the senate bombing scene.