Disclaimer: this is my opinion, and it’s based on the first two movies and nothing else of the X-Men franchise. It’s a subplot that annoyed me, and I’m perfectly willing to acknowledge I may be reading too much into things. I’d love to see how other people read this, but once again, this is MY OPINION, so please do not take it as anything but that.
Spoilers for X-Men.
In X-Men 2, there’s a small subplot which involves Mystique being interested in Wolverine. The end of the first movie sees the two mutants going head-to-head in an impressive hand-to-hand combat. Mystique is a shape shifter and skilled hand-to-hand combatant, and Wolverine is no doubt one of the first people who got the better of her in a fight. Wolverine didn’t even manage to kill her, just left her with a scar.
In the second installment, they’re reunited thanks to a common enemy. Half a dozen mutants – the militants, of which Mystique is one, and the more peaceful mutants like Wolverine and Jean Grey (whom he has a thing for, despite her being married) – are forced to camp out.
After a little scene with Jean where she makes a poor effort at rejecting Wolverine’s advances, Jean comes onto him in his tent. Except it turns out to actually be Mystique in guise of Jean. Wolverine quickly works this out, and Mystique makes a show of being whatever Wolverine wants her to be – Jean, Storm, Rogue, etc. She shows him the scar he gave her and says something like “˜I never forgot who gave this to me’ in a very sultry voice.
Seems to me like Mystique has something for him because he beat her. Which got me wondering, was it because she had such profound respect for someone who is actually more of a skilled hand-to-hand combatant than she is? Is such infatuation comparable to me connecting on an intellectual and sexual level to someone who challenges me intellectually? Is such attraction just an extension of the respect and admiration that you have for a person who does what you do, only better – challenges you to rise to their standard?
Or is Mystique just a masochist, lusting after a man who beat her up and left her for dead? A man who’s not interested in her, despite the fact she can be any woman he desires?
Admittedly, the movies are hardly shining examples of subplots with deep meanings. But that little subplot annoyed me, because it portrayed a woman lusting after a man because he was willing and able to beat the crap out of her, a woman he’s not the least bit interested in, even though she can impersonate the woman he really wants. To me, this says she’s a masochist and a glutton for punishment.
Great way to represent a sci-fi/action heroine.