As telegraphed by studio execs who long ago promised a Batman who would be our silently resentful guardian, a clock-watching protector, and photos of the Dark Knight, Superman, and Wonder Woman all being told of the death of Robin Williams, it’s looking more and more as though the Dawn Of Justice will rise on superheroes who are really grumpy in the morning.

If the latest rumor is to be believed, all that dourness is not just the natural by-product of hiring Zack Snyder to rub more charcoal tears into shattered collarbones. According to HitFix’s Drew McWeeny, Warner Bros.’ dedication to keeping the “comic” out of its comic-book movies extends to a blanket edict, applied to all the DC films it has in development: “No jokes.” After all, what’s so funny about adults hopping around the city in capes and rubber tights, arguing about whose childhood was worse? To the dozens of sufferers of superpowers, nothing. Nothing at all.


Though hardly an official report, the fact that it seems believable says a lot about the aura of grimness that Warner Bros. has cultivated with its DC films, possibly as a form of self-flagellation for each of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s puns in Batman & Robin—or more recently, as McWeeny cites as the likeliest explanation, the failure of Green Lantern. McWeeny suggests that the disappointing returns on that film—based on one of DC’s least marketable superheroes, and laden with clunky exposition and wildly uneven tone—may have led Warners to conclude that the problem was simply “too many jokes.” And with that in mind, he believes it’s now out to differentiate itself from Marvel, whose films seem to think that being a superhero can occasionally be fun, rather than a terrible burden dumped upon orphans.

Of course, despite all the mounting photographic evidence, and interviews in which Snyder takes great offense to suggestions that there’s anything silly about Aquaman, even McWeeny admits he has trouble fully believing in the steadfastness of DC’s rule. Obviously, the real proof will be borne out in these nine DC films yet to come, each of which promise explore the many colorful characters of that comic-book universe and what their fucking problems are, specifically.