Thus far, UFC legend Georges St-Pierre’s role in the Marvel universe has included only minor speaking roles and 90 seconds of fighting, when, in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, he attempted to KO Cap—in a very un-GSP way—with a series of progressively acrobatic kicks and twists. He lost after Cap front flip kicked him in the face. All we can say is, Cap is lucky GSP didn’t take him to the mat. If it was a grappling match, Cap may have been in trouble.
In The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, St-Pierre is back as the same character, Georges Batroc, or Batroc the Leaper, who made his first comic appearance in 1966. In the comics, Batroc fights everyone from Batman to Spiderman to Black Panther. He appears throughout as a general thief, pirate, mercenary, super soldier, and all-around bad ass.
The casting of St-Pierre for the role seemed pretty obvious. While St-Pierre is Canadian, like Batroc, he speaks fluent French and has a mixed martial arts background. Batroc fights using kickboxing, muay thai, karate, and savate. In real life, GSP practices Kyokushin karate and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, but is able to demonstrate other styles.
Up to this point, Batroc hasn’t been too formidable a force in the MCU. In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Nick Fury hired him to hijack a ship in order to provide cover for Black Widow to steal S.H.I.E.L.D. files. (Fury was looking for proof of a HYDRA connection.) Cap was unaware of the plan and there only to save the hostages. He runs into Batroc and beats him up. Batroc later escapes only to be arrested by S.H.I.E.L.D. agents in Algiers. Where he went after his capture is really anyone’s guess. (In the comics, Batroc later teams up with Cap against HYDRA.)
In The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Batroc may be returning with a bigger role. He appears in the first episode, again as a pirate at large; Sam Wilson/Falcon manages to stop him and his whole crew by himself, though (it took an entire team led by Captain America last time). Batroc was able to parachute to safety following his encounter with Sam, though, so there could still be more fights ahead for this pirate of air and sea.
Some have pointed out Batroc’s effect on Captain’s shield. Batroc’s flying side kick seemed to create a greater impact on Cap than both Thor’s Hammer and even Thanos’s punches—knocking him on America’s ass.
Still, Batroc doesn’t possess any superhuman abilities in the comics; he’s just a skilled fighter. Perhaps The Falcon and the Winter Soldier will give Batroc a bigger role and a bigger set of skills in its next few episodes. At the very least, we’re hoping for more than 90 seconds and a couple scenes of St-Pierre fighting. The Captain America franchise has always brought out some of Marvel’s best stunt work. Let GSP loose.
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