According to HitFix’s Drew McWeeny, an edict has been handed down from Warner Bros. brass, as the studio plots the course for their DC Comics Cinematic Universe, which will kick off in earnest with 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice:
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.”
This is apparently a reaction to Green Lantern’s disappointing performance at the box office and enduring reputation as a giant fucking mess. Which it is…but not because there are too many jokes.
Let’s take a quick look at the Top 10 movies of all time (worldwide, not adjusted for inflation): 1. Avatar 2. Titanic 3. The Avengers 4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 5. Frozen 6. Iron Man 3 7. Transformers: Dark of the Moon 8. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King 9. Skyfall 10. The Dark Knight Rises
While the tone varies in each of those films, they’ve all got a sense of humor. Yes, even The Dark Knight Rises has a joke or two in it. Why? Because no one wants to take a rollercoaster that goes the same exact speed all the time. Sometimes you need a great laugh to ease the tension, sometimes you need a stab at gallows (or deathly hallows) humor to make your characters feel like human beings and not monotonous automatons.
But no. The lesson Warner Bros. is choosing to learn from Green Lantern is “no jokes,” despite the fact that two of the three biggest movies of 2014 are basically superhero comedies: Guardians of the Galaxy and The LEGO Movie. (The third, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, also knows how to have a good time while being paranoid about conspiracies.)
It feels like, in an effort to cauterize the gaping Green Lantern wound and differentiate themselves from Marvel, Warner and DC are ignoring a basic human truth.
People like to laugh.