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As mutant-hating Senator Kelly’s aide morphed into the bright blue Mystique, I was in love. Not just because oh my god, it’s Rebecca Romijn wearing very little at all why am I justifying this, but also because she quickly proves herself to be absolutely no-nonsense, smashing Kelly into unconsciousness. A stunning plan, carefully executed and with such style, was my introduction to this character, and the main reason why I hold such regard for Romijn.
Apart from that, Romijn suffers a bit, partially because she gets very little to do. Granted, when she’s solo, she gets some awesome action on screen. I’m a particularly big fan of her appearance in X2, as she injects a guard with a metal supplement that leads to his death later in the film. But whenever her scenes are shared with Magneto, she tends to just be standing next to him, looking amazing but doing little. I understand the temptation to just wind up Ian McKellen, let him go, and watch the scenery get eaten; but this isn’t justification enough to silence a female character on screen!
Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique is quite a different animal to Rebecca Romijn’s. For one, in most of her first film, she’s nice! N’aww. She first turns up at Charles’ house, a cute-as-a-button little girl (not played by Lawrence), and grows up into a cute-as-a-button Mystique (definitely played by Lawrence). X-Men: First Class charts her journey from nice mutant to nasty mutant as she gets brought over to the dark side by Magneto himself. This is significant, as it makes her probably the most dynamic character in the film, even more so than Professor X. X-Men: Days of Future Past, on the other hand, finds her much more like the Mystique we know and love (to hate?): she’s kicking ass and taking names from second 1, busting into a US army camp in Vietnam by pretending to be William Stryker himself (which in itself adds a nice touch of backstory to the bit where she throttles him with chains in X2).