Justice League is not a comedy, producer Charles Roven reiterates. Following the sudden exit of the film’s helmer, Zack Snyder, due to personal tragedy just before reshoots commenced, Warner Bros. tapped in former Marvel filmmaker Joss Whedon (who is also developing Batgirl for DC) to take over and finish the project. We may never know exactly how the division of labor between the two directors went down unless it becomes apparent in the film, but many presumed that the main reason for Whedon’s involvement is to bring levity in it.
We often hear talks of tone difference between Marvel and DC movies — supposedly, the former tends to take a lighter route while the former goes on a darker, grittier path. It’s a generalization, that seems to have become people’s presumption of the two companies. With Whedon being a key personality in building the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there are some fans who are worried that his contributions to Justice League might be off-brand, especially when it comes to infusing his brand of humor — one that could be regarded as signature Marvel.
In a report from Newsday, Roven addressed this concern, saying that while Justice League definitely takes a lighter mood compared to other Snyder entries in the DCEU, fans can be assured that it has maintained its intended emotional sensibilities. This backs up early comments from the cast of the film that the project remained faithful to Snyder’s original vision for the ensemble flick, meaning that if it comes out lighter compared to his previous films, that means that it is how he intended it to be from the get-go.
“I really don’t know how to break down the scenes that [Joss] wrote with Zack versus the scenes that he wrote later. If you take Man of Steel, Batman V Superman and Justice League as a trilogy — they were all directed by Zack, with the third one having some influence by Joss — I would say this is the lightest of the three. That doesn’t mean it’s a comedy!”
While MCU films have been known to generously incorporate comedic beats on their films even before Whedon stepped in, his work on Avengers established the kind of humor that the superhero franchise continues to use — drawing most of the laughs from snappy and witty banter among its characters. In reality, this is not really a bad thing, as it all boils down to personal preference, same as it’s not a bad thing for DC movies to dabble into some lightheartedness — especially if that is what it needs for a more effective storytelling.
DC Films has not had an ideal start with Man of Steel, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad earning divisive reactions from the audience. Wonder Woman was received very well because it was a perfect balance of action, drama, and comedy, illustrating why superhero stories have become so popular in the first place. It is also arguably lighter in tone compared to the others, but no one complained about it because it is a well-made movie, hence, the same thing should also be applied to Justice League. Just because it decides to not take itself too seriously does not mean that it goes against its brand, as long as it is a good time in the cinema, fans should not worry too much about it.
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