I’m not entirely sure what Zack Snyder is up to.
I don’t know if he feels like he has something to prove after the lackluster “Man of Steel” reception, if he’s trying to surprise the world all Heath-Ledger-as-the-Joker style, or if he genuinely has some vision the world simply doesn’t get yet, but his casting picks for the “Man of Steel” sequel have seemed almost antagonistic.
The amount of obviously great choices available to play Lex Luthor are kind of ridiculous — Bryan Cranston, Benedict Cumberbatch, Edward Norton to name a few. And in fact, if you need a few more, John and I put an article together sometime back. I mean, who hasn’t fantasy casted this character, and in most cases, picked an actor that once you shave his head, could actually be really good in the role?
Enter Snyder and this latest Jesse Eisenberg announcement. I get it. He’s smart, and young, and physically the exact opposite of Henry Cavill which plays in with some forms of traditional storytelling. But the choice just seems kind of desperate. Like some half court heave in the final seconds of a basketball game, or the classic football Hail Mary pass. If it hits, the world will love the guy, but fans sure wish it wasn’t coming down to a crazy play in the first place.
Look, I’ll be honest: I’d hoped they’d take the sequel away from Snyder. When they announced Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne, my disappointment wasn’t related to some anticipated performance level, but rather my first thought was, “He’d be the perfect guy to direct this.” So, do I feel like I can sit back and put my faith in the fact that Snyder knows what he’s doing? Absolutely not. However, I do have some faith in Eisenberg. And if we’re still talking about it, I actually have a lot of faith in Affleck.
In the end, I just feel kind of numb to the decision. Snyder is picking really talented actors that simply don’t feel right. The choices feel defiant, like Snyder needs to prove he knows better than the fans. And I think that’s what bugs me most about the latest casting news.
When Nolan cast Ledger as the Joker, it upset a lot of people — myself included. But no one would have accused Nolan of not having a vision. We may not have liked the vision, but it was coming from an authentic place. We were going to get Christopher Nolan’s take on the Joker, and in the end, the world is absolutely better off for it.
But is anyone getting that from Snyder — the guy who said his Super Man would have nothing to do with the Justice League? Does anyone feel like at the end of the day, this guy really knows what he wants? Or does this feel a little more like when Sam Raimi was forced to include Venom in “Spider-Man 3?”