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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

question of the day: Do you find Mystique — ‘X-Men’s scaly, blue-skinned shapeshifting mutant — beautiful?

There’s a risk of fanboys descending to hoot about blue boobies, but I’m gonna ask the question anyway:

Do you find Mystique — X-Men’s scaly, blue-skinned shapeshifting mutant — beautiful?


The answer interests me because there seems to be such a divide between the fictional world Mystique lives in and our own. X-Men: First Class makes a subplot out of poor Raven Darkholme’s insecurity about her appearance, which is certainly not unwarranted, since even her adoptive brother, Charles Xavier, seems to think her natural form — blue skin, yellow eyes, really red hair — is something to keep hidden. Of course, her appearance is a huge honking sign of her mutation, with all the scary things that come along with that, in the eyes of the larger world, which is one reason why within the context of this world, it might be considered less than ideal.

But Hank, whom Mystique crushes on in First Class, tells her that she will never be considered beautiful in her natural form (which ends her crush right there). How likely is he to be correct? How much of the fact that apparently lots of people on this side of the comic-book page and this side of the movie find Mystique plenty gorgeous is down to the reality that she is fictional and can never be a real threat to us? Would we find her less beautiful if she were a genuine danger? What if her mutation were merely her different appearance, minus the powerful shapeshifting ability? Would that make her more beautiful?

Beauty isn’t only in the eye of the behold: it depends on context, too.

Discuss…

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)



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