Does WB/DC Have A “No Jokes” Policy for Their Superhero Films?

By August 27, 2014

Last night, Drew McWeeny wrote a piece at Hitfix that makes us wonder what the people at Warner Bros. and DC are thinking when it comes to their upcoming slate of superhero movies. While Marvel Studios soars on the quick wit of Tony Stark and the sarcastic exploits of Star-Lord, it appears that their rivals are taking things a bit more seriously. From Drew’s piece:

Last week was about the fifth time I’ve heard that there is a mandate at Warner Bros. regarding any of the DC superhero films in development, and it’s very simple and direct and to the point. ‘No jokes.’

Drew goes on to essentially say that he hasn’t officially heard a person of power at the studio literally say those words, so there’s always the chance this is more of a loose concept than a strict edict from on high. But generally where there’s smoke, there’s fire, and even if this is just a loose suggestion from the studio, it seems to show a lack of understanding of (or a lack of caring about) the creative process. How can a studio possibly announce two superhero movies a year between now and 2020 and force all of them to have the same tone without knowing what filmmakers are going to take on each project, or even what all of those projects are going to be at this point?


Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy and Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel have a few small moments of humor and levity, but Drew points to the abysmal failure of Green Lantern – a film that is easily characterized as the most joke-heavy movie in DC’s recent history – as the potential reason for this new mandate. Green Lantern wasn’t good, but just because it was heavy on the jokes and didn’t work shouldn’t mean that you slam that door shut for all future movies going forward. Are you really telling me there’s going to be an Aquaman movie without any jokes in it? These are superheroes, for God’s sake. The very fact that they exist (within their cinematic worlds) is ridiculous, no matter how serious you want them to be. Dropping in a handful of jokes to lighten the mood seems like a necessary measure, especially for a studio that seems to be handling these properties as if they’re The Most Important Works Of Our Time.

If Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is any indication, we’re in for a bleak future with these movies, and I can only hope that if this report is valid, the executives at the studio take a good look at their plan and reevaluate the direction they’re taking these movies. We’re about to hit peak seriousness on the DC side of things, and meanwhile Marvel is going to continue to use humor as a way to laugh all the way to the bank.

The following two tabs change content below.
Ben is a writer living in Los Angeles, California. His work has been featured at,,,, and many more sites across the web. Some of his favorite movies include The Rocketeer, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Tombstone, Lucky Number Slevin, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Collateral, Double Indemnity, Back to the Future and The Prestige. Follow him on Twitter: @BenPears.