Unfortunately, Variety and Patric felt the need to sour the sweet news up. The press-shy Patric sat down with with Mike Fleming in order to explain just how an actor of his caliber ends up playing a mere comic book villain. These days, it's apparently neccessary to "slum it" to keep working. Fleming laments the neccessity, noting "You know that geek validation has become a serious thing when actor's actor Jason Patric agrees to play his first real villain role in his first comic book movie."
The horror, the horror! But Patric is willing to play the nerd game if it help him single-handedly save film for the grown-ups: "Let's face it, the geeks have inherited the world, and if you want to be a player in this system, you have to be willing to do some of this. That means exposing myself to Comic-Con and the foreign marketplace, stuff I've resisted in the past. You can't resist it now. But I wouldn't do The Losers if it wasn't interesting to me as an actor. I can use my voice to help a young director further his talent, that is the main goal. If it allows me to make the kind of adult movies that have become endangered, helped by securing a certain rating with these kids."
Look, I'm not going to sit here and herald comic book adaptations as high art. I've agreed with the mainstream consensus that the mad rush on comic book shops can be pretty damn annoying. Just because it has colorful panels and a man or woman with superpowers doesn't mean it should be adapted. Audiences want good, meaty stories no matter if they're drawn from original screenplays, popular novels, or comic books. Fads are annoying no matter what they're focused on.
But the attitude of Fleming and Patric is not only an insulting one, but suggests that they are proudly ignorant of what comic book adaptations have become. I don't remember Tom Hanks or Viggo Mortensen sneering at the graphic novel origins of Road to Perdition or A History of Violence. Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Edward Norton, Sam Rockwell, Billy Crudup, Gary Oldman, John Malkovich and Josh Brolin are wonderful, well-respected actors (any one of them an "actor's actor") and not a single one of them shied away from jumping into the world of Marvel or DC. It's gone beyond "geek validation" into critical. Didn't one of the men on that list win a posthumous Oscar last year for playing the Joker? Or was that just a sign of the End Times?
A lot of comic book movies are silly, escapist entertainment. But Watchmen, The Dark Knight, V for Vendetta, Sin City and even Iron Man or 300 have proved what the genre is capable of. There are plenty of books in pre-production just waiting to kick down all the remaining boundaries. To dismiss it all as "kid's stuff" and a neccessary evil is an insult to the directors, actors, and writers who have worked very hard to create stories and worlds that aren't disposable, that mean something, and that are entertaining as well as thought-provoking. When it comes to doing cinema favors, I think the world could use another ten Spider-Man movies before it could have ever used Speed 2: Cruise Control.