The list of Villains of the Batman vs Superman flick has been growing since the announcement, from Brainiac to Mr. Mxyptlk (to be played by Larry David, though this rumor is pretty baseless.) However I feel there are only a few villains that can only handle both Superheroes in one spot. This duo in particular.
JOKER/ LEX LUTHOR
I feel confident with both of these choices. They have found their way into both Metropolis and Gotham at one point or another. Here are some of the many connections to one another's stories.
Joker is a great choice because of his psychological torture and motives. In an alternative Universe in the Injustice Gods Among us, Joker tricks Superman into killing Louis Lane and his/her unborn baby, then he sets off a nuclear explosion which destroys Metropolis as well as making Superman a villain.
Lex Luthor has also had his run ins with Batman and Bruce Wayne. In the Superman/Batman story arch Wayne Industries cut all ties to the government to protest Lex Luthor being voted President. Luthor's response to this is murdering Bruce Wayne's lover Vesper Fairchild, and framing Bruce Wayne for the murder.
Either choice would be great, but what about both of them?
I would really like to see Lex Luthor as the prominent business man turned politician. One of the reason's Lex has been such a great adversary to Superman is he isn't the physical match to Superman (power suit aside). If Superman wants to play by Earth's rules he will have to have Lex Luthor questioning him and challenging him at every turn. How angry do we get at politicians in general? But because of the seat of power and the knowledge that they are democratically elected we can't do anything about it, even if they do criminal actions. Metropolis was largely destroyed by an Alien from another world, who was physically on par with Superman, what are the repercussions? I for one don't believe a villain like Brainiac or any other unworldly being would be appropriate on bench next (since we just had an invasion by Zod.) But a politician looking for over-sight and holding everyone in charge accountable, now that's a good villain. The economy would be affected by such an event and measures to make sure it never happens again, cue Lex Luthor. An up-and-coming business man who starts a Xenophobic movement directed at Superman. Superman has a history of being the golden boy, even in some comics (Dark Knight Returns) he is penned more of a weapon than a hero with his own agenda. But just think how a man like Lex Luthor could use that against him. Painting the hero as a political pawn or a symbol for the country that no one voted for.
I believe if Lex Luthor wanted to crush Superman he would do so by public opinion. To do so he would have to convince the world that Superman was a danger to everyone and that his heart was not in the right place. If it's about the fight for the Soul of Superman than Joker is the man to test him. Joker has consistently proven his motives of testing characters, trying to push everyone over the edge. Lex Luthor enabling Joker to pursue this new target would be an interesting turn of events and cause Batman to be directly involved in Superman's world.
With a super hero film of this magnitude the challenges are immense as well. Introducing the Joker and Luthor as the main antagonists would be challenging. This particular movie will be especially strange as we are seeing a new literation of Batman, though he will be an older, grittier Batman. It is assumed that Batman will need no introduction despite it technically being a new Batman, and Superman being established in Man of Steel will need no introduction. Pairing these two together I expect will be confrontation as the two will be at odds. It would be interesting to see Batman and Superman fighting over ideological issues as well as physically. The problem with a film of this sort is a balancing of power and screen presence. For that reason alone I think there should not be any attempts to introduce Nightwing or Wonder woman.
The casual audience member doesn't know that Dick Greyson used to be Robin and if you haven't introduced Robin as the caped Crusader's sidekick on screen since 1997, a sub-role in a movie starring Batman and Superman doesn't make sense. Wonder Woman doesn't make sense for this film either. The Avengers was a long strategized plan with several tiers and set up films. Sloppily introducing too many characters in one film will divert from the point of a Batman Superman film. Wonder Woman is a brand name that can stand on it's own (and have its own movie for that matter), it's far less risky than say Iron Man, Thor or Captain America was at their introduction.
The Joker is such a difficult character to portray, especially after the amazing performance of the late Heath Ledger. Putting someone into that role after the 2008 Dark Knight film may be too soon but then again 7 years will have passed. Also with a character of his scale it's hard not to steal the spotlight (like the Joker overshadowing Two Face.) I think if properly executed Luthor and Joker would have great on screen chemistry but it would be difficult for one to not up sell the other.
Luthor I think can be established with a good acting choice (I'm still hoping for a Bryan Cranston casting or Terry O Quinn as a close second), but I believe his character has to stand on his own and does not need the assistance of a female counterpart "hench woman" like Kitty Kowalski. If we are making the comic world more realistic an honest portrayal of a Lex Luthor with philosophical motive with political/ financial means would make him a great villain.
It is clearly difficult to put any two villains in one film especially when they are possibly the greatest villains either hero has ever faced. I think that the personalities match and conflict in such a way it would be amazing to have both of these characters in a crossover situation. If there is any time to have the Joker and Lex Luthor in a movie together the time is now. I think the Justice League has to fight a more global fight, ergo alien invasion of some type. I think the Superman vs Batman should focus on Earth and the notion that the two heroes have to work together despite their differences for the greater good, prequel to Justice League.
What do you think?