"Why so serious?" Is the popular refrain floating around as the rumor about Warner Bros.' 'No Joke' rule rapidly spreads across the Internet. According to a report at Hit Fix, The studio doesn't want any funny business in its impending slate of DC Comics superhero movies, a mandate that began with Man of Steel in 2013 and will continue on as WB sets up Justice League.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice will be a completely serious affair according to this new report, so don't expect to see Jesse Eisenberg hamming it up as Lex Luthor. It won't be anywhere close to what Gene Hackman did in the 1978 Superman. This has struck some as ludicrous, due to the sometimes colorful and humorous tone of the comic books. And this comes just as Marvel is making a name for itself with its equal measure of laughs and action in most of its movies. Guardians of the Galaxy was a very funny affair, but it also managed to bring in a lot of heart and character. It had a very emotional opening prologue, and proved to be the perfect mix of genre elements.

Warner Bros. doesn't want that, is the claim. They tried their hand at bringing humor into Green Lantern and it didn't work out for the studio, which many believe is the reason for this new 'no jokes' ruling. While Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight set up some good jokes and delivered a few very funny punchlines, they did nothing to distract from the overall dark tone of the trilogy. You could hardly call it a 'comedy'.

Man of Steel, on the other hand, decided to play it completely straight, and while there are a few precious moments of levity throughout, there are no true jokes. And it did not illicit many laughs from the audience. That's the way Warner Bros. apparently likes it, so don't expect Zack Snyder to change the tone for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

This next DC Comics movie will pave the way for Justice League and it's spin-off movies. All of the superhero solo adventures will stay within these serious barometers, which is said to be causing some difficulty in locking down a director.

Most believe it wasn't the jokes that caused Green Lantern to bomb at the box office, and that Warner Bros. and DC are pointing their concerns in the wrong direction. Fans and critics alike not only felt the punchlines fell flat, but that it had a bad storyline, unlikable characters, and one truly horrible villain. It was a hard movie to connect with on a lot of levels, the humor being the least of it's problems. Some have complained that Man of Steel was just too darn serious; that it needed a couple of good jokes to bringing it up to classic status. While fans have called the movie serviceable, it fails on some levels because of its 'no joke' stance.

If this latest rumor is true, it only further proves that Warner Bros. and DC are at a loss for how to move forward with their impending superhero slate, which has a number of movies lined up throughout 2020.

Do you think Warner and DC should distance themselves from Marvel by continuing to go down this dark and edgy path? Or do you think it would be smart for them to bring in some humor? These are Gods among men, after all.

B. Alan Orange at Movieweb
B. Alan Orange