"Man of Steel" had a terrific opening weekend, but since it's never too early to put the cart before Comet the Super-Horse, director Zack Snyder and producer Christopher Nolan were already hard at work on a sequel even before the film opened. Which begs one major question: Who should be the villain?
After all, if there's any genre in movies that truly lives or dies on the strength of the villain, its superhero films. The good ones all have great villains (the Joker in "The Dark Knight," "The Avengers" foe Loki, Magneto from "X2") while the bad ones. .. don't (sorry, Venom in "Spider-Man 3" and cloud form Galactus in "4: Rise of the Silver Surfer").
So with that in mind, we've scoured our comic book archive to determine which villain would be the best match for Superman in "Man of Steel 2." Because a hero is only as good as his enemy is bad — and when you've got the world's greatest hero, you need to have a villain that's very, very bad indeed.
Over the past three decades, Warner Bros. has tired again and again to use Brainiac as the bad guy in a Superman movie. And every time, the movie that would've featured Brainiac ended up getting scrapped before it saw the light of day. Now, though, his time may finally have come. As a super-advanced sentient robot bent on dominating or destroying humanity, Brainiac has every bit of Lex Luthor's genius with the added benefit of being a physical threat to Superman as well.
He may not be the most obvious choice, but there's just about no villain we'd rather see Superman face off against than Black Adam. When he intones the magic word "Shazam!," Black Adam becomes the world's mightiest mortal, infused with mystical powers that make him more than a match for Superman, who counts magic as his only weakness other than Kryptonite. Black Adam also happens to have a complex moral code, which would make him an intriguing foe, not to mention that fact that it could allow "Man of Steel 2" to be a backdoor pilot for a possible Captain Marvel movie. That's a win-win.
Sure, good ol' Lex Luthor kind of has a "been there, done that" feel to him at this point, but there's a reason he's Superman's most famous and tenacious foe: because he's awesome. Lex is a perfect counterpoint to Superman: he's human, with no powers whatsoever except his own intellect and drive. And yet despite being at such a huge disadvantage against Superman's godly might, Lex always manages to more than hold his own. We'd love to see Lex redone as a serious foe instead of the campy Gene Hackman/ Kevin Spacey versions from the previous films. Done right, we think Lex still has a few tricks up his sleeve. He always does.
A fellow journalist and occasional stringer at the Daily Planet, John Corben was involved in a serious accident and had his body rebuilt into a cyborg killing machine, his artificial heart powered by the rarest element on Earth: Kryptonite. With his ties to both Lois and Clark's personal life as well as his deadly powers, Metallo is a perfect foil for Superman. But more importantly, does that description remind you of anyone? Anyone named, say, Tony Stark? While a DC vs. Marvel crossover isn't in the cards any time soon, Superman vs. Metallo would be the next best thing, especially if they played up Metallo's similarities to Iron Man. Heck yeah!
He might not be as well-known as some of these other villains to non-comics fans, but Mongul has been involved in some of the darkest and most vicious storylines in Superman's long history. Like Superman, Mongul is an alien who possesses incredible strength and toughness, allowing him to go toe-to-toe with Superman. But unlike Kal-El, Mongul is also a colossal dickweed: he drives around a moon-sized spaceship designed solely to blow up planets and takes sadistic glee in psychologically tormenting Superman. He's a dark horse candidate, but he'd be pretty cool.
We love Bizarro. Everyone loves Bizarro, actually, to the point where the word "bizarro" has even entered the English language despite what spellcheck might say. Using Bizarro as the villain in "Man of Steel 2," though, would cause certain problems. For instance, Bizarro isn't necessarily a bad guy, he's just a little, you know, backwards in his thinking. As a result, he's hard to use as the centerpiece of a storyline, as it's doubtful Bizarro could ever pull off any kind of plot or plan. It's possible we could see Bizarro as a minion or dupe of Lex Luthor, but otherwise, it's unlikely we'll ever see him taking center stage on the big screen.
If Bizarro would cause some plot problems, the idea of using Superman's longtime nemesis Mister Mxyzptlk in "Man of Steel 2" would probably give the execs at Warner Bros. a collective coronary. Usually used as comic relief, Mister Mxyzptlk is an imp from another dimension who plays tricks and gags on Superman until Supes can somehow get Mister Mxyzptlk to say his own name backwards. It can lead to some rather funny hijinks, but that seems about as far from Zack Snyder's gritty reboot as possible. Still, there's a slim chance Mister Mxyzptlk could rear his head in a future installment if Warner Bros. decides to adapt the classic story "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?," which features a much darker version of Mister Mxyzptlk. Just don't hold your breath waiting for that to happen.
Finally, there's Doomsday. Though he remains extremely popular with a segment of the Superman fanbase, Doomsday suffers from a major problem: He was designed for one specific story: namely, the "Death of Superman" saga. If Snyder and Nolan decide to adapt that story, then Doomsday is a must. Otherwise, though, he's just too much of a one-trick pony: all he does is get angry, hit really hard and get hit back. He's basically the DC version of the Hulk, only he's a bad guy. It makes for an interesting fight scene, but not an interesting story — and since WB just finished rebooting the franchise, we doubt they'll want to kill off Superman any time soon. Looks like we'll have to turn the Doomsday clock back for now.