On the Big Screen: Batroc the Leaper

Yesterday Ken posted a link to the new extended trailer for Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

The trailer itself is pretty great, but I found it particularly noteworthy because it featured an appearance by none other than Batroc the Leaper.

When I was a kid, I didn’t read many Captain America comics, but when I did, the Star Spangled Avenger always seemed to be fighting this funny-talking foe dressed in a garish purple-and-orange bodysuit.

Batroc the Leaper from Tales of Suspense #75,

From the pages of Tales of Suspense #75 … Batroc the Leaper!

Tales of Suspense #76

Batroc’s first cover appearance: Tales of Suspense #76.

Batroc first leaped into the Marvel Universe from the pages of Tales of Suspense #75  in 1966, where he went toe-to-shield with Captain America over a canister of the powerful explosive Inferno-42.

Cap was quick to let us know that Batroc is the world’s greatest practitioner of “La Savatte, the French art of boxing with the feet.” Now I didn’t know anything about savate when I was a kid (Foot-boxing? Really?), so Batroc always seemed like a pretty ridiculous bad guy.

I mean, he’s a leaper. He leaps. That’s about it. He didn’t even have a proper villainous name — his full name is Georges Batroc. What if Green Goblin decided to go by Osborn? Or if The Leader settled on Sterns? Yeah, exactly.

As the years wore on, I learned that savate has a long history as an effective martial art and found out that Batroc’s backstory had him serving in the French Foreign Legion. And, of course, one couldn’t discount the rise in popularity of parkour (Batroc is almost certainly a traceur). Comic book writer Mark Waid helped put things into perspective when he compared Batroc to Jean Claude Van Damme in a 1997 interview.

So with all that tough-guy cred, maybe Batroc was a a foe to be reckoned with after all.

Yet, when he appeared in stories, he still spoke in Frainglais (with the occasional French phrase thrown in for saveur) and still wore the same  orange-and-purple outfit. I just couldn’t take the guy seriously. Neither could many writers; he’s often added an element of comic relief to a story.

Captain America v Batroc the Leaper from Marvel Adventures: Teh Avengers #35

Batroc yuks it up with Cap in Marvel Adventures: The Avengers #35

Yet despite his shortcomings, I’ve grown fond of ol’ Batroc. So I was pretty happy when I saw him in the latest Captain America trailer, where he’s portrayed by UFC welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre. Wait … Georges St-Pierre? Georges Batroc? Coincidence, or…?

With St-Pierre playing him, film Batroc just might be a tough guy after all, even if he’s still sporting orange and purple.

Captain America v Georges Batroc from the upcoming film.

Batroc shows Captain America some savate in this still from the forthcoming film.
Image courtesy of Marvel.com.

There’s only one problem here — and this is a big one for me — film Batroc is missing his signature mustache and chin beard.

What’s up with that?

About Tom Fassbender

Tom Fassbender recently joined the stay-at-home dad movement. When he's not typing words into an electronic device or scouring the Internet for weird stuff or reading a book, he's hiking in the local mountains or undertaking some crazy adventure with his daughters. He's also the author of the retro-noir mystery By the Balls: The Complete Collection.

About Tom Fassbender

Tom Fassbender recently joined the stay-at-home dad movement. When he's not typing words into an electronic device or scouring the Internet for weird stuff or reading a book, he's hiking in the local mountains or undertaking some crazy adventure with his daughters. He's also the author of the retro-noir mystery By the Balls: The Complete Collection.

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