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‘Iron Man, Captain America had sex in Infinity War’: Man posts fake reviews of film, major websites fall for it

A man has been trolling websites by posting fake reviews of major films such as Captain Marvel, Avengers and Aquaman, and waiting to see which of them takes the bait. Most of them do.

Avengers Infinity War Updated: Mar 12, 2019 18:19 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Captain Marvel,Avengers,Dumbo
Iron Man, Captain America in a promotional image from Captain America: Civil War.

TV writer Ben Mekler has been conducting an interesting experiment on Twitter, which involves him posting outlandish comments about big Hollywood movies, only to see if major websites pick his tweets up, regardless of how unbelievable his comments might seem. As it turns out, they do.

The latest round in his ongoing trolling of online journalism comes in the form of a new tweet, this time about Tim Burton’s upcoming Dumbo, whose social media embargo was broken on Tuesday. “#DUMBO soars. My favorite live-action Disney remake yet! From the gorgeous blend of goth and whimsy to the sequence in which Dumbo replaces his trunk with a 32 inch machete and has an affair with a bored housewife, the Tim Burton we know and love is FINALLY back in full force.”

It’s easy to miss the bit where Mekler mentions that Dumbo, an adorable elephant, grows a ‘32-inch machete and has an affair with a bored housewife’, especially considering how well he’s hidden it into a fairly familiar template that several journalists use to give their first impressions of films.

Mekler had previously written ahead of Captain Marvel that the film contains six episodes of Friends and a Winter Soldier cameo (none of which is true, of course). It’s one thing to post random tweets, but what makes Mekler’s experiment all the more interesting is that his tweets are routinely picked up by major publications.

For instance, his tweet about Iron Man and Captain America having sex ‘within the first 15 minutes’ of Avengers: Infinity War was picked up by Variety and the Hollywood Reporter, while the Captain Marvel tweet was featured in CNet, Mashable and Entertainment Weekly. Mekler shares screenshots of the news reports shortly after posting the tweets, just as a mic-drop perhaps.

He has also tweeted about Mission: Impossible - Fallout, and described a scene which involved ‘Tom Cruise squeezing pus out of a festering wound’, and Aquaman, which he wrote has ‘spellbinding musical numbers in which Aquaman wears clams as tap shoes.’ His Aquaman tweets were retweeted by director James Wan.

Mekler also has a running joke going for the Star Wars movies, in which he describes how characters eat ‘vidalia onions’ in the films.

In seriousness, Dumbo is receiving positive early reactions, with critics praising it as a return to form for Burton and for its visuals. Dumbo is scheduled for a March 29 release.

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First Published: Mar 12, 2019 18:16 IST