It's funny how one's opinions and viewpoint evolve. I grew up on the late-nineties/early-00's iteration of Lex Luthor: that of untouchable businessman. Not only was it the version of Luthor seen in the comics, but it was the one I knew from all the other media as well. Smallville had a young, but still recognizable evil business magnate vibe. Superman: The Animated Series was exactly that.
But then things began to change. In Justice LeagueLuthor started becoming increasingly less reputable. He started strapping on green armor and blasting Superman with Kryptonite rays. Things followed a similar turn in comics. It started with Jeph Loeb but it ended with Geoff Johns.
Now there's no question that this evolution was in some ways a devolution. After all, Luthor was originally conceived of as a mad scientist/arch-criminal type. But I wasn't sure I liked it. It wasn't the Luthor that I knew.
But as time as passed I've come to think that this is exactly what Luthor should be. Superman and Lex Luthor have to be diametrically opposed. Superman is the ultimate in brawn, Lex Luthor is the ultimate in brains. And it has to be the same on the other side. It didn't really work when Superman was respected by the people of Metropolis... And Lex Luthor was respected by the people of Metropolis.
Lex Luthor has to be hated. He needs that hate as much as the rest of us do. Because it feeds him. It's that "they hate me, but it's really him they should hate! I'll show them, the deluded fools!" that makes Luthor really work for me.
Still, I like that Luthor was once respected. I can imagine that a fall from grace would make a man like him work even harder. Because he's convinced he's right and all the rest of the world is crazy. Or stupid.
And with the things going on in "New Krypton," he might be right...