As Internet pranks go, Justin Bieber’s mental molestation of superhero film fans, specifically the Batman Vs. Superman brigade, was a corker.
Somewhat awesomely, the pop star hasn’t even gotten around to explicitly confirming his Instagrammed snap of a seemingly legit copy of a watermarked Zack Snyder/David S. Goyer script tagged “#robin??” was a fake.
[Note: As of a few hours ago, however, the teen singer retweeted a new “Funny or Die” tease with Chris O’Donnell.]
That was left to The Wrap who cited a source, saying,
“A person with knowledge of the real script assured The Wrap that the photo Bieber Instagrammed over the weekend is not authentic, and is most likely part of an upcoming Funny or Die sketch.”
But even without the source’s clarification, the fact the 19-year-old tweeted a huge red flag hours before he posted the Instagram (“Off to do something funny or…die )” should have prevented the resulting histrionics that kicked off.
Over at Comic Book Resources, Steve Sunu believes the willingness of the Internet to swallow the idea that Warner Bros. had actually cast the singer is an indication of “how desperate everyone is for news about Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel sequel following the controversial casting of Ben Affleck as Batman.”
Given that a decade has passed since Daredevil’s transit, Affleck’s post-Argo renaissance should have afforded him more respect than he received from the Internet when news of his role broke.
The Bostonian recently admitted on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon that the film’s producers warned him to expect strong reactions from super fans, even showing him past negative reactions to other castings.
“I was like, ‘I’m a big boy,” he recalled. “If I can handle the Emmy snub, I can handle anything!'”
Affleck revealed one of the first online comments regarding his casting was, “Noooooooo!'”
The actor told Fallon he shut the browser then quipped, “We’re gonna be Luddites for a while, kids.”
But if the gnashing over Affleck in Batman Vs. Superman is bad, for Bieber’s hypothetical “Robin” it’s been apocalyptic.
One commenter at the Canadian singer’s Instagram page, mssabrinalogan, wrote:
“F*** all these fan girls who are now gunna like Batman if Justin is Robin. Us DC fans actually matter and if they don’t want this movie to be a huge failure they won’t cast Justin. Plus his acting sucks. I like Justin just not for Batman Vs. Superman.”
While at CNET, another raged:
“If I’m wrong and they are seriously putting Bieber in the next movie then I’ve lost all faith in the project. I mean first Batfleck and then Robieber? Ugh! If WB makes that darn awful decision then I give up on the whole franchise, it’s like they’re deliberately trying to screw the fans over. I’m already sick of big name actors and I’d rather have good, but unknown actors in the part rather than the dregs of celebdom just because they can draw a crowd.”
A user going by the name of @tredudeknee wailed on Twitter:
“My life is ruined, first Ben Af[f]leck as batman and now @justinbieber is robin (sic).”
Fellow Twitter user Neil McNeil’s reaction was even more grandiose. He declared:
“Oh Justin Bieber is reading for the part of Robin in Batman Vs. Superman? That’s cool I didn’t want to live on this planet anymore anyway.”
The above is a snapshot of comments, many included assessments regarding Bieber’s “gayness” and other terms that are apparently “insults” in the worlds such posters inhabit. While it’s clear some of the vitriol directed toward the pop singer is rooted in the Internet’s habit of overkill, it’s also likely most are furious because they fell for Bieber’s joke in the first place.
Lets be honest. Anyone who got bent out of shape over the teen star’s prank needs to get a serious grip. Coming hot on the heels of Jimmy Kimmel’s outrageous “Twerking Girl On Fire” hoax, Bieber’s jest also deserves to be added to the long history of great Internet pranks that have stopped the web from taking itself so seriously, and perhaps forced some to confront their over-investment.
A point noted by commenter Mark C at CTV News, who wrote:
“The fact that people are offended by this is laughable. Who cares?!… Grown ups getting upset about a comic book movie… now that’s funny.”
Right on cue then.
— Funny Or Die (@funnyordie) September 17, 2013
[Image via J-14 Magazine]