The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’s use of Captain America villain Georges Batroc gives new meaning to the character’s title from the comics.
What the MCU did with Batroc, played by UFC fighter Georges St. Pierre, in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier gives new meaning to his comic book title. The classic Captain America villain, who has wanted to prove that his skills are superior to Steve’s since the 1960s, calls himself “Batroc the Leaper” in Marvel Comics.
Marvel adapted him to the MCU as a minor antagonist in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. During the action sequence at the beginning of the movie, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) battled the mercenary leader, and was briefly challenged by his exceptional martial arts ability. But after putting away his shield, he was able to take down Batroc without too much difficulty. The villain didn’t appear again in live-action until The Falcon and the Winter Soldier series premiere, as an opponent of Anthony Mackie’s Sam Wilson. In the episode, Falcon had to chase after him and his lackeys.
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Falcon’s attempts to catch Batroc were complicated by the villains’ use of wing-suits. As a result, Falcon had to continue the pursuit through the air. Marvel going in this direction with Batroc was interesting, partly because the villain jumping out of a helicopter and skillfully gliding through the air adds a new element to the character – and puts him on a similar level to Falcon, fighting in the air. Plus, it allows his comic title to make logical sense in the MCU (if it were to be attributed to his character later).
It never would have worked before, considering that Batroc was called this in the comics for a reason that didn’t apply to his Captain America: The Winter Soldier role. His Marvel Comics counterpart spent many years of his life developing a mastery of a French kickboxing style known as savate. To be the best martial artist in the world, Batroc put a tremendous amount of focus on improving the strength of his legs. In his first fight with Captain America in 1966, he revealed that his legs were so powerful that he could make abnormally high jumps. He could easily propel himself onto high buildings. The heights he could reach with his leaps were on a superhuman level, despite the fact that he didn’t actually possess powers of any kind. Obviously, the MCU’s Batroc doesn’t share the same physical capabilities, given that he’s a much more grounded character.
After The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’s first episode, the MCU’s version can lay claim to the “Leaper” title too, albeit with a different and more sensible explanation. It’s possible that a reference to it as well as other aspects of his comic book character will be dropped in the episodes to follow. Batroc did survive the explosion, so he could easily come back for another fight with Falcon. Batroc bested him in their one-on-one battle, so a rematch does feel like something Marvel might offer if and when Georges St. Pierre’s character returns in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
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