Originally Posted by Llama_Shepherd
Neither Gene Hackman nor Kevin Spacey played Lex Luthor, not really anyway, as much as Tommy Lee Jones played Two-Face.
Also, your line of reasoning makes no sense, almost every comic book that fleshes out a character is based on previous appearances. Here's an example of stories that make Lex a deeper character- Luthor: Man of Steel. It's a story based on the "continuity" of the DCU, but owed no real allegiance to it. It's entirely standalone and explores purely Lex, and why he hates Superman.
The entire reason Lex is such a good villain is because he represents how driven, and unnaturally focused humanity can be when we absolutely despise someone. He represents the shallowest, avaricious, petty and most hateful aspects that humanity has to offer. He is the absolute worst of us and also displays the potential we have in all of us, just like Superman does, he is his antithesis.
And the best thing about that from a narrative point of view is that he doesn't even realise it. He genuinely believes that he is the hero here. The Superman philosophy of Nietzsche dictates that the Superman is the pinnacle of human achievement, the peak- or from the view of the cynic- the end. The end of humanity. Lex has devoted his entire life to trying to make humanity better, and then a god comes in and does it all differently, and openly declares himself to be the end of humanity's progress, and Lex is the only one who can see the harm he is doing, so the responsibility to save them is upon him.
The reason Lex is the most dangerous villain is because, like Joker, he would risk everything to defeat their hero. Zod wouldn't dare lose the lives of all his companions, Brainiac wouldn't lose his collection etc. But Lex would risk the lives of every single man, woman and child on the planet, if it meant he could kill Superman.
And if these films are only 2 hours, I'm already disappointed.