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Does Warner Bros. Have a ‘No-Jokes’ Policy For DC Films?

Ben Affleck as Batman, shot from new Batman vs Superman film

Warner Bros. may be taking a very serious approach to its interconnected DC movie universe. According to HitFix, several sources contend that boils down to one rule for the projects in development: “No jokes.”

While no cause was given, the website theorizes the largely negative response to 2011’s Green Lantern, and the success of the Batman franchise, certainly could have something to do with it. Critics of Man of Steel will undoubtedly find such a mandate believable, even if the Zack Snyder film did contain a little humor.

Yet, even HitFix’s Drew McWeeny expresses skepticism, noting, “Even in the most serious of mainstream movies, some of the most memorable moments are those points where they let off steam, where a laugh is used to punctuate.”

One of the biggest complaints levied against Warner Bros.’ DC releases is that they come off as dour and, often, hopeless, but Marvel has hit upon the seemingly perfect blend of drama and humor, with characters who crack wise, even as the story is at its darkest point.
Although Warner Bros. has been well served by darker fare like Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies — there’s a “Why so serious?” crack lurking somewhere — and Man of Steel, which, for all of its detractors, grossed $668 million worldwide, it remains to be seen whether a relatively humorless approach would suit the ensemble Justice League or Shazam, a property that tends to work better with a lighter tone.There of course is also the possibility that the DC movies would become monotonous in their grimness, leading movie-goers to pass them up in favor of something a bit more fun.


  • Zach

    “No jokes?” Why else would they cast Ben Affleck?

  • Naven Naidoo

    I think Chris Terrio will include a fair bit of humour in his script. Look at Argo.

  • demoncat_4

    no jokes guess that means no batman film with the joker ever again. or a ambush bug film of any kind.

  • Josiah Silas Michael

    What a dumb article. Am I really supposed to believe that Warner is putting upwards of $200 million on a movie that doesn’t make me laugh occasionally? No witty banter, no snarky comments, nothing?

    Warner should reveal legitimate news once a week so we don’t have to put up with this nonsense.

  • John Harmon

    “…with characters who crack wise, even as the story is at its darkest point.”

    That’s called lazy writing.

  • Mr November

    Jokes are fine, but they have be used in right places and should not be used to in replacement of character development or to keep the audience attention. X-Men Days of Future Past and Spider-man 2 are great examples of superhero film with to some jokes in them used at the right time but didn’t needless insert them at wrong moment.

    The tone of a scene cannot do a 180 for a cheap joke. Iron man 3 did it with Mark 42 falling apart at climax. Thor 2 did it with that Tube scene, GOG did it with dancing at the end. you cannot go from setting up a tension, insurmountable odds or having characters die to a sudden quick joke and then immediately try to swap back to previous tone. the tension is lost and excitement is lost. Its like the moment before Romeo commits suicide after thinking Juliet has died, Shakespeare sudden made Romeo make a lame two half men style joke about how great it is that he’s now single and then suddenly go back to him being so upset that he would want to poison himself to be with her in afterlife.

    Please Form an orderly line of comments saying why I’m wrong about these specific scenes from superhero movies and why you think this long established convention is wrong

  • Mr November

    far too literal an interpretation of this story

  • RobotShlomo

    No, it’s called breaking the tension by humanizing the characters. Otherwise every character becomes the Terminator.

  • Mr November

    Lazy writing and treating your audience has low attention span and therefore needs to made to laugh every 10 minutes or they will fall asleep.

  • Living The Geek Life

    Bits of levity injected at the right time work wonders for a movie and a scene. I have never found the humor in Iron Man or Thor movies to be overdone or inappropriately placed. And GotG made no apologies for being a humorous movie with an irreverent main character. Of course that scene wouldn’t have worked for Wolverine or Batman, but it was exactly who Peter Quill was, and it fit the film perfectly.

  • Living The Geek Life


  • Mr November

    then there’s not point building tension up if your immediately going to throw it away. you want build up tension for climax to get the audience excited.

    If you think jokes are only way of the audience can understand a character your being really naive.

  • RobotShlomo

    I thought that scene at the end of Guardians was great. It played right into the whole tone of the film, and setup the climax very well.

    I think what’s happening is that comic book fans want to be take far too seriously, that they think the only way to do that is to be completely morose all the time. It’s like they’re sitting around saying “Laugh? I’m a DC fan. Laughing is a waste of time. I must be 100% serious at all moments!”. If you don’t have these moments, then these characters don’t become humanized, because human beings do make a joke in times of duress to break tension. You’re so worried about not looking like Adam West, that being “dark and gritty” becomes a parody in itself.

    Some of you guys act like this is something that Marvel invented. It’s happened throughout human history. Saint Laurence while he was being burned on the steps of the Roman forum was asked if he would renounce his faith, and he told the Centurion “Turn me over, I’m not done on this side”.

  • RobotShlomo

    I think people are looking for a “one size fits all” solution when it comes to the tone of characters. And that’s just not possible. Not every character needs to be Batman.

  • Mr November

    Its not about the character, its about the tone. it doesn’t matter if your dealing with Peter Quill or Charles Kane, you spend 10/15 minutes building up tension to immediately throw it away and then try to swop back.

    GOG was funny but at the end that one joke that just didn’t work, it wasn’t justified after all the previous scenes in the climax.

  • Mr November

    tone of the scene… Not tone of the character. you different concepts.

  • Revolver717

    Find the biggest dido and go f—yourself with it.

  • joe35

    Personally, I feel the Marvel movies could use a little less humor. The jokiness in “The Avengers” was really overdone, and the one-liners in “Captain America 2″ were distracting. Marvel’s attempts at humor come off feeling feel forced more than it does natural.

  • Mr November

    I just like good writing in my films. I don’t care if they 100% serious ,100% humour or anywhere in-between.
    If i watched the inbetweeners 2 movie (a comedy) and let say the final had all the character getting girlfriends despite all their stupidity and then suddenly one of character raped the girl. It would be a completely wrong change of tone and would’t work.

    Urgh imagine a Muppet film where at end they all singing and dancing and then suddenly Kermit injects himself with heroin. urgh

  • RobotShlomo

    I didn’t say that. But you’re acting as if EVERY non-DC movie character is Adam West, which they aren’t. Peter Quill is SUPPOSED TO BE A GOOFBALL. That’s why it works.

    If you make a joke during a movie you don’t become Adam West by default. There were well placed jokes in Captain America: The Winter Solider and it didn’t descend into becoming a farce. All that dark imagery, the drowning in skulls. That’s not “mature”, that’s BORING. It’s banging on the same chord over and over, because they’re trying to disguise a children’s character as being “adult” by surrounding it with adult trappings. You can have material that’s family friendly but is treated with a modicum of respect for an older audience, making it nuanced enough that they’ll appreciate it as well. That’s what Marvel is doing, and that’s what Warner Bros. is FAILING to do so far. They just think that if they make something dark and gritty to the point where it scares small children, it suddenly becomes “adult” and some how it grew up with you. That’s far more simple minded than what a film like Guardians does because it panders to the ADD crowd that just wants to see a body count in a movie that’s “just like Batman”. If Warner’s had any confidence in any of their characters, they wouldn’t be taking this approach.

  • Mr November

    I’m Guess you’ve haven’t seen Argo or the Town.

  • RobotShlomo

    You’re giving bad examples where characters are doing things OUT OF CHARACTER, for no good reason.

  • tedburke

    What, exactly has Affleck done tha makes you soil your undies? Daredevil wasn’t the best super hero ever made, but the reason it bit the big one wasn’t because of Affleck. He was fine as the character and acquitted nicely in the action and fight scenes. The problem was the script and the indifferent direction .

  • Dave Geek

    Green Lantern didn’t do badly at the box office because it was too funny. It did badly because it was just plain bad.

  • CeeCeeCee

    I agree. But i think we’re in the minority.

  • Tom S

    As entertained as I was by the Marvel movies, they spend far too much time winking at the audience. It’s way past cute — it’s downright annoying.

  • Farnham Bailey XTmD

    Dear sir, you simply are not that important.

  • Farnham Bailey XTmD

    Dear sir what are you trying to communicate? Precision please. What is a dido?

  • PietroMaximoff

    they must be really angry because of the GoG success…

  • Sal

    I read an article featured on zergnet (that I really agree with) that said that Daredevil wasn’t really bad, it was mediocre but Elektra was so bad that it made peoples memories of Daredevil’s movie associate it with the shitty sequel and remember it as worse than it actually was.

  • Samual

    “Argo” was OK, but nothing compared to Ben’s brilliance in “Gigli.”

  • 5 Eyes

    Argo and The Town are film directed by Ben Affleck, name a film where he is not a director and gave a good performance ..

  • AL

    But characters in the comics do that all the time…….

  • AL

    But if Kermit was a junkie throughout the whole movie and then he did that at the end of the movie it would make sense. The things you just described are all out of character for them. The gaurdians of the galaxy thing was perfectly inline with the character.

  • Zeno84

    Gone Girl

  • Zeno84

    That’s because this is bullshit.

  • tedburke

    Actually, that movie was called “Gone, Baby, Gone”. Not Gone Girl.

  • Zeno84

    Correct you are.