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Old August 31 2008, 07:19 AM   #31
Dream
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Re: Lex Luthor

Jetfire wrote: View Post
Lex is the Anti-Superman. Distrust, injustice and the American way gone horribley wrong.

JF
There's also the cool Human vs Alien angle.
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Old August 31 2008, 06:32 PM   #32
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Re: Lex Luthor

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I think it's interesting how a lot of the responses focus on how Luthor is a sympathetic or relateable character, considering that John Byrne's stated that his goal when revamping Luthor was to create a villain who was completely and utterly unsympathetic. Someone whose motivations were not even the smallest extent justifiable.

Just as Superman is someone who does the right thing not because of some childhood trauma or other such defining moment but simply because it's the right thing to do, Byrne wanted a Luthor who was a monster for no other reason than because he chose to be.

I guess he failed?
Well, considering how Byrne portrayed the guy in "The Man of Steel," I suppose that's possible... but can you provide a source?

The reality is that no character who's portrayed as a mustachio-twirling-villain is REMOTELY interesting. Can you name ANY villain who is interesting who is that sort of cardboard cutout?

Now, let's talk about the guy who is still probably the best-recognized "sheer evil" character in modern filmmaking. Hannibal Lector. Lector is undeniably evil by ANY measure, wouldn't you all agree? But that wasn't what made the character so effective, was it? It's not like he's the first murdering cannibal in fiction, after all, is it? And it's not like he's the first "charming" villain, is it?

What make Lector so effective as a source of outright HORROR?

Basically, it's that you're allowed to get into the character's mind during the films. The audience starts to "get" Lector... even (on some strange level) to RELATE to him. That's the real source of horror in that character... not "what he does," but that you, as a member of the audience, don't really MIND him taking off the top of a guys skull and braising a bit of his frontal lobe. Tell me, boys and girls, that you didn't have that reaction...

Where am I going with this? Well, I'm saying that a character is effective ONLY if the audience can see things through their eyes. Luthor is only effective if you, the reader or viewer, can see the world through his eyes.

Doesn't mean you have to AGREE with how he sees it. Just that there has to be a logic to what he's doing that makes sense when seen from his own perspective.

Nobody is saying that they see Luthor as SYMPATHETIC or as "the good guy," are we? No... we're saying that the most interesting version of the character is the one where HE sees himself as "the good guy."

Otherwise, he's just a bland, cardboard character, twirling his figurative mustache and tying Lois Lane to the train tracks just for the sake of "being evil." Which makes for HORRIBLE storytelling, doesn't it?
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Old August 31 2008, 09:25 PM   #33
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Re: Lex Luthor

I think you are wrong. I think many people that like Luthor do so because they actually agree with him. We you say things like I respect the character, that says a lot.
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Old August 31 2008, 09:35 PM   #34
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Re: Lex Luthor

I think it comes down to the idea that nobody really thinks of themselves as "evil". Even Hitler must have thought that he was "right" in his own mind. That doesn't make him "sympathetic" by any means.

EDIT: I feel like Jack Kirby, having used a word in "quotes" in every sentence!
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Old August 31 2008, 09:49 PM   #35
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Re: Lex Luthor

Galactus wrote: View Post
I think you are wrong. I think many people that like Luthor do so because that actually agree with him. We you say things like I respect the character, that says a lot.
You can respect someone without agreeing with their positions. I respect anyone who takes a stand, has intelligence and determination and a certain stylish verve. Luthor has all of that and more.

Cary makes a great point about Lecter and the comparisons to Luthor. They're wonderful examples of larger-than-life characters that have a certain magnetic charm. Like a snake moving in for the kill, you can't help but be impressed by their extreme, but perfectly "fit for purpose" natures - true "love to hate" characters.

It's the same as being impressed/awed by the extreme elegance and destructive power of a Titan Missile. Form and function aligned with aesthetic perfection. Luthor, Lecter, Professor Moriarty, Lucifer, Sauron, etc are all similar extreme & chillingly beautiful embodiments of evil. Like a shark, they're terrifyingly beautiful because everything about them is wonderfully fit for purpose. Impressive, regardless of whether you agree with their aims.
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Old August 31 2008, 10:08 PM   #36
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Re: Lex Luthor

^Darth Vader, before he'd ever uttered the words, "I am your father," was an awesomely badass villain. That doesn't mean we were cheering for the Empire.
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Old August 31 2008, 10:31 PM   #37
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Re: Lex Luthor

The Old Mixer wrote: View Post
^Darth Vader, before he'd ever uttered the words, "I am your father," was an awesomely badass villain. That doesn't mean we were cheering for the Empire.
*I* was
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Old August 31 2008, 10:33 PM   #38
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Re: Lex Luthor

You have contradicted me for the last time, blaXXer...! [Tries to do remote Force-choke.]
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Old August 31 2008, 10:38 PM   #39
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Re: Lex Luthor

Surely apart from the Emperor, and his top level croneys, everyone in the empire not only thought that the empire was a good idea, but that the Empire was a force for goodness and light? it's unthinkable the trillions and trillions of Imperial Citizens woke up everyone morning with a thinking it's great to be evil?

It was just the government. Take a good look at your own government.

I liked it Man of Steel, how Luthor assumed that he was about 5 minutes away from banging Lois Lane before Superman showed up. That girl gets a clit-boner from power.
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Old September 1 2008, 12:09 AM   #40
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Re: Lex Luthor

I am sorry but I could not disagree more, especially with the characters that you named. There is absolutely nothing respectable about evil.
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Old September 1 2008, 12:19 AM   #41
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Re: Lex Luthor

^See, now I'm picturing you as a grim avenger of the night on a lonely, two-fisted crusade....
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Old September 1 2008, 01:35 AM   #42
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Re: Lex Luthor

Galactus wrote: View Post
I am sorry but I could not disagree more, especially with the characters that you named. There is absolutely nothing respectable about evil.
That's a great argument... against an argument nobody else has been making.

Not one person in this thread has said "Evil is respectable." Not ONE.

Let me be clear... I do believe in a universal "absolute morality." I believe that there is, literally, such a thing as "good" and "evil" and the two are not simply determined by our own personal perspective. This is the case regardless of whether or not you, personally, believe that this in some fashion derives from a "God" or is just some vague, nebulous "universal truth."

On the other hand, I don't believe that there is any sentient creature (I'm stretching beyond "just us humans" to be more universal!) which is "absolutely good" or "absolutely evil." We're all somewhere in that vast grey area in-between. Every choice we make causes us to move a bit further towards one extreme or the other, but it's not possible for us "mere mortals" to ever even begin to approach the extremes. We just don't live long enough! (This could lead us into theological territory... the whole thing about "eternal life" versus "eternal damnation"... but I'd like to side-step that issue for the moment... fair 'nuff?)

I don't believe that "morality is relative." Right is right and wrong is wrong, regardless of whether you, I, or anyone else happens to think so.

HOWEVER... it's also true, undeniably, that very few people throughout human history have become "villains" because they enjoyed the idea of being the bad guy. As mentioned before, Hitler (the most commonly referenced "bad guy" in recent memory, though by no means the worst person ever, much less particular worse than many people who are alive and well even today!) certainly thought of himself as the "hero of the story" when he looked at what he was doing.

(And, since "history is written by the victors," it's an interesting mental exercise to imagine how history would record the guy had he WON, isn't it? I'm sure that the "excesses" of the Third Reich" would be painted over in history (much like similar events in our own history have been treated!))

Every "bad guy" in the real world you can think of was, in his own mind, doing something "good." Sometimes they were deeply disturbed, sometimes they were megalomaniacs, but they all managed to justify their actions. And they all resented the idea that we "plebians" weren't capable of seeing their "higher calling."

That's why I brought up Lector. And that's why the brain-cooking bit in "Hannibal" was so disturbing... not due to the violence of it, but to the fact that the audience had been manipulated by the filmmaker into secretly AGREEING with it... and thus the audience was horrified, not by HIM, but by THEMSELVES. It's a masterful piece of film making for that reason, if for no other.

Luthor isn't quite so over-the-top. He's all about power... but he's not outright malevolent. He simply thinks that it's his rightful place to run things, and that it's RIGHT and JUST for him to take whatever actions are necessary to ensure that he (being so much more qualified for the job than anyone else) stays in that position.

As I've said several times now, Luthor (at his most interesting) sees himself as the "hero" and Superman as the "potentially most threatening force on the planet."

Now, imagine that there was a REAL "Superman" on Earth. Someone who has no clear agenda other than to play hero (which may well seem like P.R. intended to curry public favor), but who has the ability to literally do anything he, or she, wanted to do.

I'm not saying this is some guy named "Clark" or "Kal-El" or whatever. I'm saying you don't KNOW who this guy is. I'm asking how YOU, PERSONALLY, would respond if something like this happened in real life.

I don't know about you, but I'd want to have a "check and balance" system in place against him.

(In the comics, Superman recognizes the need for this as well, which is why he's given the "last piece" of Kryptonite to Bruce Wayne as a last resort in case he ever goes rogue.)
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Old September 1 2008, 01:58 AM   #43
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Re: Lex Luthor

Galactus wrote: View Post
I am sorry but I could not disagree more, especially with the characters that you named. There is absolutely nothing respectable about evil.
Is Galactus beyond good and evil, or is he the cunt that eats populated planets?

Now, because of you... My mind has created this casual association that Bernie Mac eats planets too.

Napoleon Bonepart, and even Julius Caesar. They should both be thought of as extrhistorical Hitlers. Invading, butchering, pillaging. Not so is it?
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Old September 1 2008, 02:18 AM   #44
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Re: Lex Luthor

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.......
Lex Luthor is both the greatest and worst that mankind can be and that makes him a brilliant character. You may not like what he does, but you can't help respecting him.
This is part of the post I was referring to recently, but there have been similar ones in the past that I have read about Luthor and other villians. There is always this theme of "good" characters are boring and the "anti-hero"/bad guy is so much more interesting. It is those comments that bother me the most.

As for as if Superman really existed, how would real people react. Several people have explored this with Superman clones Icon and Hyperion, for example. I think most people would act like you or worse, whether he was an alien or not. Since there is no universal definition of good and evil on Earth, I am sure a lot of his actions would upset people. I a few criminals would sue him, I am sure some would win.

Me personally, I would not view him any different than they real life larger than life people we have out there. Until he did something I would take him for his actions. That to me is the most interesting thing, what makes someone like Superman and Batman defend a world that does not even want their help. That was one of the things I like about the old Spiderman, his life totally sucked, but he would still pull himself up and put that mask on and take care of business.
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Old September 1 2008, 02:46 AM   #45
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Re: Lex Luthor

Cary L. Brown wrote: View Post
Every "bad guy" in the real world you can think of was, in his own mind, doing something "good."
And we should care what they think...why, exactly?

Just because somebody *thinks* they're doing good, doesn't mean they actually are.

Holdfast wrote: View Post
You can respect someone without agreeing with their positions.
I don't share that opinion.
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