With Captain America: The Winter Soldier only a month from striking theaters, hype has been reaching critical mass. Billed by some as the best Marvel movie since Avengers, Winter Soldier will delve deeper into Captain America and S.H.I.E.L.D.’s rich, shadowy history. Happily, they’re reaching into the properties’ more colorful history as well with the inclusion of Batroc the Leaper, played by UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St-Pierre. A roguish mainstay of Marvel comics at large and Captain America specifically, Batroc is sure to leap away with the audience’s heart.
Batroc leapt from the pages of Tales of Suspense #75 in 1966. Tasked by the THEM (precursor to AIM) to steal the Inferno 42 cylinder, the Leaper ran afoul of Captain America and Iron Man. After super Nazis, Batroc has been one of Cap’s most persistent villains, jumping at him with a great intensity, While not superhuman, he’s as tough as a human can get having mastered savate (the French art of boxing with the feet) and mustache waxing. On top of his facial hair abilities, Batroc is a skilled thief, smuggler, military tactician and, of course, leaper.
Batroc is one of Marvel’s more pragmatic villains. As a mercenary, The Leaper and his occasional Brigade work for the highest bidder, but there are lines even this rogue won’t cross/leap over. When Batroc learned his current partner Mr. Hyde planned to make good on a threat to kill thousands, he promptly helped Captain America save the day. If there’s one thing the famed thieving mercenary won’t tolerate, it’s ‘men wizout honair.’
It’s unclear how much of the character will crossover into the film. As this is St-Pierre’s first roll, viewers probably can’t expect Batroc to throw as many quips as blows, but his inclusion is a great nod to long time comic fans. Though muted, they’ve even kept his costume’s color scheme and it looks like the savate . Going with a fighter over an actor promises some epic hand to hand combat, and hopefully some literally lofty attacks.
As the Winter Soldier is aiming to be a political thriller/superhero movie, it’s even more surprising that a character as rakishly colorful as Batroc is being introduced, so it’s understandable that he’ll be significantly changed. Sadly, Batroc’s amazing mustache doesn’t seem to have made it, but even super hero audiences can only be expected to suspend their disbelief to a point.