By Nas Hoosen
I've seen this rumor doing the rounds online lately and while I don't have the means to validate it, and I'd likely take most negative reporting about WB/DC's plans for its superheroes with a pinch of salt, it's still quite intriguing.
According to a report on Hitfix, somewhat backed up by Devin Faraci of BadAssDigest here, Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment have settled on a policy to distinguish their burgeoning universe of films from Marvel's. The press is referring to it as a "No Jokes" policy, intimating that DC will play things very seriously when it comes to upcoming movie releases.
While there's no easy to way to verify this kind of thing, I suppose we can look at what's already been established as a means of working out how accurate the rumor is. Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, the next film in the universe is the work of "Visionary Director" Zack Snyder, a man not exactly known for his sense of humor so much as his use of slow-mo and his overly serious characterization of pretty much everyone from Perry White to Ma Kent. To date I can think of only two distinctly comedic sequences in Snyder films: the montage in the middle of Dawn of the Dead and the sex scene in Watchmen, although I think the jury's still out on how much that scene's supposed to be comedy and how much it's supposed to be titillating.
Of course, the proposed DC Cinematic Universe seems like it will also see some involvement from David S. (for "Some Motherfuckers Always Tryin' To Ice Skate Uphill") Goyer and Christopher Nolan. While Nolan's body of work is generally serious, his Batman films featured their fair share of jokes or strangely self-referential dialogue. Then again, Goyer is the very same screenwriter that's probably responsible for lines like "does it come in black?" and affable discussions around spelunking in Batman Begins so I suppose with him being replaced on Batman vs. Superman, there's a good chance the movie will indeed be as serious as everyone is saying.
Of course, if this is really how DC intends to set itself apart from Marvel, the company should consider if this is actually a good decision on its own. Part of the appeal of Marvel's movies is that they're not straight-up comedies but that they find ways to make the audience laugh as a way of engaging them in the characters' lives. Captain America: The Winter Soldier is actually quite a grueling, emotional action-thriller but it finds the time to use humor as a character-building and storytelling tool. An absence of that kind of thing may make DC's heroes distinct from Marvel's, but it will also make them that much harder for audiences to relate to or engage with.
Nas Hoosen is the co-founder of Another-Day, South Africa's Least Favorite Website About All Its Favorite Things. Sometimes he still has 'Nam style flashbacks to his time spent working the counter at the local comic shop.