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X-Men: the Movie
by yo go re

Da ba dee.

Mystique is a mutant shapeshifter with the power to change her appearance. The metamorph naturally has a blue skin, [sic] scaled reptilian appearance, but she can make herself look and sound like an exact duplicate of anyone she chooses. This ability makes her the ultimate spy for Magneto's brotherhood because she can infiltrate any organization by literally becoming anyone.

As with Wolverine, we've gone back in time to dredge up some text to go with this review - specifically, to the 2000 X-Men movie line, because that's the only time anyone's made a full-sized movie Mystique before now. That toy had an action feature ("squeeze legs together for a martial arts punch attack!") and a rubber Wolverine disguise that fell apart like the third time you tried to use it. We've come a long way, baby!

The sculpt is, of course, entirely new. Although the comics did redesign her after the movie came out, the change didn't stick and thus there's never been a modern action figure that looked anything like this. Not a lot of women covered in scales like this, you know? The detail in the sculpt is impressive enough to let us confidently state that this Mystique is from the first movie, not any of the sequels. How can we tell? By what's missing: after X1, Mystique had three short scars on her stomach, and this toy doesn't.

Doing the first movie, it apparently took about eight or nine hours to put on all the makeup every day. They started with the prosthetics - the sticky little sheets with the scales on them - then spent the rest of the time painting all her remaining pink parts blue. It was all super dignified. This figure does a very nice job with its varying shades of blue, keeping her from looking flat or too "toyish" - this isn't something that's just been molded in blue, it's designed and expertly painted. And of course, the dark red hair and yellow eyes help break things up as well.

Since this Marvel Legend is based on the first film, the toy's face is Rebecca Romijn. It's a nice likeness, recognizable even under the makeup, but it does raise a question: why is this the only head we get? Even if they didn't want to do a "Raven Darkholme" head (as seen in X2 and 3, why not include a Jennifer Lawrence head, too, so this one figure could fit with either of the timelines? We were supposed to get her from Diamond Select, but that was cancelled due to likeness approvals. Did Fox's X-Men contracts not already include likeness rights the way MCU's do? Is that why these toys cost $5 more than usual - because Hasbro had to do some extra negotiating?

Her articulation is up to the usual high standards we expect: swivel/hinge ankles, double-hinged knees, swivel thighs, balljointed hips, balljointed chest, swivel/hinge wrists, s/h elbows, s/h shoulders, and a balljointed head and neck. Obviously the patches of scales get broken up when you move the figure around, but there's only so much you can do when your acress is basically nude. It's not like they could have skipped any joints, because Mystique was the movie's premier fighter, so she needs to be able to move all about freely!

You get your choice of open hands or fists for her, plus one accessory that... well, at least it tried? It's al alternate left arm, smooth and pink so it looks human. The implication is that she's morphing, but in practice it looks like a short-sleeved shirt. On only one side of her body. It's... yeah. Alternate heads would have been better.

Mystique was utilized well in the first two movies, and since it's been a full 20 years since she got an action figure, it's great to get this one. The only thing we wish is that the accessories had been better thought-out.

-- 12/04/20

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