"You've taken up the sword against your own people." - If not against his own people then who? Zod is a general who marshals forces against what? Krypton knows its not alone in the universe. Jor-El is hardly blown over by the fact Earth is inhabited by sentient people who might worship his son. This tends to suggest Krypton is aware of other peoples amongst the stars besides just humanity (otherwise Jor-El would consider them extraordinary and special just for existing). The prequel comic seems to implicitly declare this by mentioning the Thanagarians. That means there are other alien worlds and peoples out there that Krypton was aware of....
Mainline's forum posts
Q: How do you speak ill of an invulnerable alien who's faster than a speeding bullet, can see your secrets through walls, can hear your every whisper, can incinerate you with just a glance, or disappear you in orbit without anyone knowing?
A: Very carefully.
I don't think a smart Lex can exploit xenophobia the way people are assuming he can... at least, not in a credible fashion. The only way they can speak against Superman is if they earnestly believe he won't hurt them (and have valid support for that belief), undercutting their entire message. Killing Zod sets a precedent that lets the filmmakers refresh the Lex Luthor character so that he isn't tritely trying to discredit Superman in public like he traditionally has done in the last few decades of the comics.
If Lex is Machiavelli, you need a bruiser, so I think Metallo provides the primary conflict so that you don't build up corporate genius Lex just to turn him into a mustache twirler or powersuit psycho in one film.
I think you use Lex to play xenophobia more subtly rather than hate-mongering causation. Lex goes to the governments of the world with Superman at his side and says something like this:
"We are not alone. As we know from that fateful day, the universe contains other souls, some as noble as our Friend here. However, as we all experienced, for every one like our Friend there are many more who might be our enemy. Thank goodness for him, or we would have been crushed under the boot of an alien people with technology and capabilities far greater than our own... but not beyond us. While I'm grateful for my Friend, while we all are, Humanity just barely escaped extinction. The day may come when we have more visitors from the stars and if they come in peace, we will welcome them like our Friend... but if they come to conquer or kill we cannot let the entire burden rest with our Friend. I call upon the people of this planet to step forward into tomorrow. Together, nothing is beyond us." (Except not horribly cheesy and terribly written like that! :P)
With funding and multi-national backing, Lex can advance the transhuman project of making an immortal, superior man of steel / man of tomorrow to serve as a future foot soldier against aliens... foreign or domestic. If Superman is on board, there might even be some "friendly" sparring before it all goes haywire.
The primary themes of the film would be trust and humanity.
I hope Lex endorses Superman because I envision a Lex that is brilliant and recognizes public hatred of Superman is not sustainable.
Even if Lex privately hates Superman and even if this is the perfect opportunity to harm Superman's reputation even further... what does that get him? How does that accomplish anything? He simply makes Superman feel bad and go to ground, making him even more elusive and harder to study or hurt. You have this invulnerable alien that you can't do anything about, so how is hurting Superman's feelings productive? Not to mention, you have to assume apart from the Black Zero event, Superman is doing good. Assuming Lex isn't stupid, he'll take Superman's earnestness at face value and recognize that Superman will continue to act in a way that's consistent with good. That means Lex can only sabotage Superman (which would be hell if Lex got caught), yell at Superman's do-gooding irrationally such that only fringe xenophobics listen, or he can be smart... he can keep his enemy closer. Legitimate businesses / political candidates / etc. can only go so far on hate and Lex would see that.
If Lex endorses Superman, assists in improving Superman's image, Superman is more inclined to be out there in the public, to disclose more about himself, and to subject himself to say insightful experimentation (if Lex poses as a friend wanting Superman to know his own limits so Superman can optimize helping people; you don't want to learn in the field what you can and can't lift, etc). Now Lex is gathering meaningful data and setting up Superman for a fall; he's getting inside Superman's circle of trust to learn how to hurt him physically and psychically... moreover, Lex maintains his legitimacy with the public because he isn't just ranting against an obvious, if dangerous, do-gooder.
As far as film tone, the other important thing about this is that it provides the treachery of man in a way that is not psychotic, wounded, or an easy bandwagon to jump on. If a quasi-legitimate billionaire suddenly dedicates his being to publicly destroying an invincible do-gooding alien, that's insane or woundedness... I want Lex to be authoritative, together, and brilliant. Regarding the bandwagon, there's no doubt that MoS has been controversial and has a number of detractors... you don't want a suave, charismatic, and logical villain actually convince the audience Superman is terrible before Superman's earned the audience's trust. Instead, you use that incredible actor to help earn the public and the film's audience's trust... then when Lex betrays Supes, the audience feels the betrayal too and Lex is the proper villain. You do not want Lex so sympathetic and logical that the audience is rooting for him to beat Supes!
Anyways, the idea needs more work but that's the kernel of it....
As a quick aside, even if Lex has person vendetta against Superman, I do not want that vendetta to be all consuming... I want Lex to be a fully formed character with separate ambitions and machinations. He didn't build his fortune all his life because he was shiftless and waiting for an alien to hate... he has his own goals. So this ties back to my underlying premise, if you come out as a hater, he's shortening his life as a legitimate businessman... instead, I'd like to see him play the long con and, at least publicly, endorse Superman.
Here's another way to look at it... traditionally, Lex knows he can badmouth Superman because he knows Superman will always hold back. How does this Lex know that? Superman's been in business for only a day or so and in that time he's been a part of leveling buildings and killing a super-villain... what kind of death wish would Lex have to have to want to make Superman his public enemy? If his baser self was in Superman's shoes and someone tried to slander him, he'd be in that man's bedroom the next night for a one-way trip to the sun. Lex can only speak out against Superman if Superman has already established himself as not-a-danger, in which case, Lex speaking out is ineffective (everything he spews just proves how much Superman will restrain himself). So I vote for a smarter Lex to sees this as a losing game and tries to support Superman publicly while planning against him in secret.
Ironman is practically built for Japan... Super powered samurai armor providing a magic transformation with a mecha aesthetic and a red headed romantic interest. Not yet done, Hulk... Where hulking out is the new super saiyan mode.
Metallo vs. Superman
There's an expression: "Styles make fights."
Given that we've seen the Kryptonian v. Kryptonian thing a number of times, why not try to broaden the scope of Superman's combat challenges?
1) A battle against a large mecha-suit from LexCorp painted olive drab with plum highlights is both true to the comics and animated series... but also gives Superman something Hulking to fight. 2) When the criminal pilot, Corben an ex-Captain in the American military stages an elaborate escape (filled with practical special effects and traditional action sequences like chase, gunfire, explosions) he manages to evade Superman but is mortally wounded in the process requiring the aid of his sponsor. 3) Luthor, of course, is behind it all and turns Corben into Metallo and has his own stripped down and more agile, less militarized power-suit. Superman has to beat Metallo (which gives us the "versus Kryptonite" beat without the whole film being about it) with his wits and determination rather than raw power and when he wins, he completely tears Lex, the Man, from his suit of Iron, quickly and powerfully. 4) Metallo's not quite dead however, his technopathic essence transcending his corporeal form and becoming an elemental live wire, living lightning, or God of Thunder, which Superman ultimately defeats.
You get styles, you get homages, you get merchandising, you get to see how the franchise can give you more than just Kryptonians rolling around with each other in the air, and you up the scifi ante so that Superman is giving you something unique to comic book films and opens up the storytelling potential in the sequel. A big part of the "magic" of modern Superman is the science fiction aspect which the animated series captured so perfectly. If the only "magic" of Superman is Superman himself and Kryptonian elements then your storytelling potential is uncomfortably narrow.
Don't forget Henry Cavill, cast as Snyder's Superman, went up against Bale for Batman....
Sooner or later - - even if they get denied the chance a couple times - - every actor’s going to play a superhero eventually.
This is how I tend to look at Mark Millar. We say he writes just to sell movies- and it's true- but if you could write comics and get movie studios to option everything you write, giving you a blank check to write whatever you like, is that something a lot of creators are going to turn down? I mean, the man is still exploiting the medium that brought him to the dance. He could just go into full on screen play writing, story boarding, action figures, or producing- become a business man or more lucrative writer if it was just about the money... but instead he's leveraging his success to write more comics. So he likes the medium beyond just the movie money potential.
Some people use the phrase “sell-out,” but that’s not quite right, is it? It’s not that they’re end goal was to get lazy, people don’t wrack their brains and write for days on end because they don’t enjoy what they’re still doing, it’s just that they don’t NEED it anymore, and I think that may be what happened to Frank Miller.
That said, those market forces and that unfettered freedom can mean the work isn't the same as those early "hungry" or "passion" projects.
If the owner is too intimidating then just chat some people up and go for drinks, a game, a comic movie, or something. The common interest of comics should go a long way towards filling awkward silences and building the friendship around it.
If you're too freaked out to do that, then try something a little more reserved like going to a game night at your comic shop. The game will keep things light and the focus of attention... and you can get to know people without that awkward first approach.
If you're adventurous, you could do a shout out on forums like these to do a meet up. Some of my most interesting friends, clients, and colleagues have come from random internet meet ups for 3K runs, volunteer demolition, etc... you could arrange a comic book movie night or something similar and get to know forum people.
Anyways, good luck!
The most realistic super power that doesn't rely on gadgets, magic, tropes, or breaking physics would be fairly mundane abilities... so Barbra Gordon's eidetic memory and hacking skills for example. A lot of hard crime or noir type characters have an abnormal pain tolerance as a trope, but it is also a realistic power (so characters like Marv). Characters with synesthetsia can have extraordinary insight, organization, or senses depending on how their abilities work... a character like The Question has sometimes been shown to have such an ability. Another real mutant ability would be increased endurance, like that of Eero Mantyranta, who's increased red blood cell count made the Olympic committee suspect him of blood doping, but research later revealed him to be- essentially- a mutant.