Rumor: Does Warner Bros. Have a “No Jokes” Rule For Their Superhero Movies?

There's no laughing in superhero movies!!

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Saving the world is SRS BSNS.

Look, this is totally a rumor with no one going on the record, but before we get any further let me just say we’re only posting about it because it sounds COMPLETELY PLAUSIBLE.

HitFix have this to say on the matter:

“No jokes.”

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.”

It’s not a big leap to make when considering Warner Bros. recent comic book adaptations and HitFix points to their Green Lantern film as the straw that might have broke the camel’s back:

One thing you’d have to grant “Green Lantern,” whatever your feelings about it as a movie, is that they’ve got lots of jokes in that movie. They are resolutely unafraid to make jokes. Green Lantern/Hal Jordan/Ryan Reynolds (there is no discernible difference between these three identities) makes jokes throughout the film, and the trailer featured plenty of them. There is a wise-ass attitude to a good chunk of the film that is very much on purpose. Every one of the guys they looked at to play the lead in the film had to be as well-liked as a comic performer as an action star.

Now in my opinon, that’s where they went wrong. Green Lantern didn’t need to be a serious film but Hal Jordon is not the joker of the Green Lantern Corps. If they wanted to go that route, they should have made Guy Gardner the lead (or at least secondary comic relief). Whatever the case, Green Lantern crashed and burned and then we got grumpy/angry Superman in Man of Steel and now maybe no one will ever smile again.

But HitFix also notes they find it hard to believe a studio would make a blanket rule like this, “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.”

And surely, with the slate of superhero films Warner Bros. has coming up in the next few years, I can’t imagine them all sticking with the dark and brooding thing. Even if Zack Snyder takes Aquaman very seriously, The Rock is playing Shazam. You don’t hire a guy like that to play an adult-looking 12-year-old with magic powers and not use his comedic skills.

Just remember, Batman is always watching.


(via The Dissolve, image via reddit)

Previously in DC

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Jill Pantozzi
Jill Pantozzi is a pop-culture journalist and host who writes about all things nerdy and beyond! She’s Editor in Chief of the geek girl culture site The Mary Sue (Abrams Media Network), and hosts her own blog “Has Boobs, Reads Comics” ( She co-hosts the Crazy Sexy Geeks podcast along with superhero historian Alan Kistler, contributed to a book of essays titled “Chicks Read Comics,” (Mad Norwegian Press) and had her first comic book story in the IDW anthology, “Womanthology.” In 2012, she was featured on National Geographic’s "Comic Store Heroes," a documentary on the lives of comic book fans and the following year she was one of many Batman fans profiled in the documentary, "Legends of the Knight."