Re: Gene Hackman or Kevin Spacey?
Hackman -- by MILES and MILES and MILES.
I like Spacey in the right roles (e.g. "The Usual Suspects", "Se7en", "American Beauty", "K-PAX") ................ but he was really bland as Luthor, IMO. He had little complexity and barely interacted with the other characters.
Gene Hackman delivered an incredibly stylish, cunning and nuanced performance as Lex Luthor. As far as I am concerned, his performance is Oscar-caliber. He rarely gets the respect I feel he's owed -- even by FANS of his portrayal. He had such an uncanny sense of timing as Lex. And the writing itself was LEAPS AND BOUNDS better. In the Donner movies, Luthor actually has a real relationship with his sidekicks, Otis and Miss Tessmacher, almost to the point that he's a needy child who in someway needs them around to paradoxically feel superior and gain their approval. It's a subtext no one seems to talk about, but if you watch the films carefully and closely enough, it's there. Hackman also had fantastic interplay with Terence Stamp in the sequel. Honestly, his performance remains one of my favourites of all time.