Mystique is one of the most complex supervillains in the X-Men universe. Ever since her first appearance in the X-Men animated series in the '90s, she has become a staple popular icon. She’s the second-in-command in the Brotherhood, ruthless among the humans, and uses her shapeshifting skills to confuse her opponents.
Unlike the other mutant villains, who display normal superpowers of physical force, Mystique’s power is the ability to mimic her enemy’s voice and powers, while still maintaining her true ulterior motives. This is seen a lot in the major films and in the comics as well; the latter depends if the adaptation uses the best of her abilities and story to build on her character.
Sometimes she’s a cutthroat villain and main member of the Brotherhood, while other times she appears as Nightcrawler and Rogue’s mother. The comics offer plenty of material for creators to develop a complex layered character, and sometimes the adapted version adds to the mythos. Yet, which film, video game, or show contains the best adaptation of the supervillain?
A majority of her appearances focuses on a few, but not all, aspects of the character. Because there are so many interpretations, ranking them from worst to best is highly subjective. Let’s be clear on one thing: Rebecca Romijn and Jennifer Lawrence’s portrayals of the character are different-- it’s like comparing apples and oranges. Instead, the ranking system is based on character arc and execution.
Here is Every Adaptation Of Mystique, Ranked Worst To Best
15 Epic Movie
Must there be any explanation on why this is the worst adaptation of the character? Epic Movie’s version of Mystique is no different from the other spoofed characters thrown in this crass film. While it performed decently at the box office, the film insulted everything about the character. She’s not the militant pro-mutant figure in the comics, but a one-off joke, just like all of the other characters in the film.
Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer created Epic Movie in the likeness of their previous films, delivering lowbrow humor to the lowest common denominator. The only difference here is that they switched the genre and decided to bring in Mystique.
The filmmakers’ ill treatment of source material is one of the many reasons why the complex blue mutant is degraded to an over-sexualized character whose only service is to balloon herself in a sex scene, which is why this is the worst Mystique appearance ever.
14 X-Men: The Last Stand
One good thing about X-Men: The Last Stand is that it’s slightly better than Epic Movie. While the other characters get shafted, the filmmakers committed a character assassination on Mystique. In the third and final film of the original trilogy, the government announces they have found a cure for mutants, which Magneto and his fellow mutants see as a threat.
The Brotherhood rescues Mystique from prison, but once she loses her mutant powers from a cure dart– she jumps in front of the dart intended for Magneto– Magneto just leaves her.
The film has a great setup. Mystique, a pro-mutant advocate, loses her powers from a traumatic event. The Last Stand could have developed a complex storyline, but instead chose to focus on Mystique betraying her mutant way of life.
She offers the government information about the Brotherhood because of Magneto’s betrayal. To think Mystique would throw everything prideful of mutants away just for revenge seems pretty out of character for her-- no alternate timeline would ever show Mystique doing something so selfish.
13 Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers
Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers is one bizarre crossover that tries to use a jarring premise in an anime series. Basically, Tony Stark and Dr. Nozomu Akatsuki develop a disk known as Digital Identity Securement Kit (DISK) to trap supervillains. However, after an intervention with Loki, the Avengers are trapped in holos, and the five main kid characters can harness their powers to find other DISK heroes/villains.
The Pokémon-style anime series had a brief cameo of Mystique working for Red Skull in exchange for freedom. She is there to steal the disks containing Marvel super-humans from Pepper Potts-- probably the easiest heist job since Pepper is sleeping during the scene and none of the youngsters take note when Mystique shapeshifts. Although Mystique’s guest appearance is a one-off character, Deadpool also appears. He's the only who saves grace on the anime show.
12 X-Men: Destiny
X-Men: Destiny’s Mystique is an average NPC who offers the player missions for their adventures. The game is set in the distant future where Charles Xavier has passed away and the state divides the mutant and humans into districts, in fear of a civil war. Destiny’s choose-your-own-adventure style lets you decide between two paths: either join the X-Men or the Brotherhood of Mutants.
Mystique, of course, represents the Brotherhood, and the player can choose to accept her missions to increase faction points. Regardless of the player's choices, by chapter 7, the player must swear to one of the sides.
This version of Mystique isn’t terrible but adds nothing new to the franchise. Activision distributed the title, but since they used the Marvel brand, the game was eventually delisted.
11 X-Men Origins: Wolverine (Video Game)
X-Men Origins: Wolverine the game gets it right compared to its movie counterpart-- where viewers must slog through exposition and dull cameos. In the game, Logan has a history with Mystique.
One of the great additions is Mystique's appearance midway through the game to help Logan find John Wraith. In the game she goes by the name Raven. Initially she was presumed dead, as Wraith attempted to kill her, but it is later revealed that Wraith spared her life, and they both end up together with a child on the way. Raven suggests calling their unborn child Kurt, alluding to Nightcrawler.
Mystique goes by her usual traits, as the untrustworthy mutant, but her role in the game comes off as a supportive temporary ally whose purpose is to provide assistance and offer a nod to the Mystique character.
10 The Super Hero Squad Show
Marvel’s very own spoof show chronicles the superheroes’ misadventures, and is a light-hearted comedy that has a "villain of the day" special. In addition to the show’s inception, the series had a toy line and a video game as part of their promotional content.
However, unlike Disk Wars: The Avengers' jarring premise, The Super Hero Squad Show tried to make provide a more interesting storyline.
Mystique appears in the twelfth episode initially as Black Widow. While viewers believed that Black Widow would join as a permanent member of the Squad, Mystique manages to dupe the audience and the team when it is revealed that she is undercover and wants to steal the infinity fractals.
In this version, she’s voiced by Lena Headey, so it was fun to see Cersei Lannister away from the set of Game of Thrones and lending her voice for Mystique.
9 X-Men: Fairy Tales
For some reason X-Men had, at one point, a fairy tale spinoff, and some of them were half decent. The first tale is based on the Japanese folk tale Momotaro, the second tale is about Tortoiseise and the Eagle (which explains how Magneto and Professor Xavier met), the third is a Sleeping Beauty crossover (where a blind Cyclops awakens a sleeping Jean Grey).
The fourth, and final issue is loosely based on New Orleans folklore, which tells the love story between Rogue and Gambit, but in reverse. Mystique plays a voodoo witch who's not aware of their relationship, but when Rogue gets kidnapped by Emma Frost, she begrudgingly works with Gambit in order to save her. After they defeat Frost, Mystique just looks the other way when Rogue hugs him.
X-Men: Fairy Tales pulled a page from Rogue and Gambit's storyline, so it was neat to see a fairy tale ending for the two, and even more interesting to see Mystique helping them. In the last shot, the three are walking to the sunrise.
8 Wolverine and the X-Men
Marvel Animation created a Logan-centered series called Wolverine and the X-Men. The show focuses on him bringing the X-Men together after Professor Xavier’s disappearance. Mystique appears early on in the series working for Magneto, despite her history with Wolverine.
It’s later revealed that she was one of the subjects for the X Weapons Enhanced Project, and Wolverine saved her from Sabertooth’s gang while they were escaping from the facility. He promised her that he would find her, but this never happens because Wolverine looses his memory. Eventually, he recovers his memories, but, by then, they’re two vastly different people.
Although the series focuses on Logan’s perspective, Mystique's adaptation in this version falls back to her history with Wolverine, and adds additional details of their affair from the main canon sources. In the comics, they both apparently knew each other in the 1920s during a robbery, and afterwards had a child. Depending on canon sources, the child may or may not be Raze Darkholme.
7 X-Men: Apocalypse
The filmmakers had one job: don’t make the third X-Men film in the franchise terrible. X-Men: Apocalypse, unfortunately, is pretty bad for number of reasons, one of which is Jennifer Lawrence’s portrayal of Mystique.
Compared to X-Men: First Class and X-Men: Days of Future Past, Mystique in this adaptation is the worst out of the new trilogy because of how the filmmakers handled the material, and, in large part, it’s because of Lawrence’s shallow line delivery. If Lawrence was reading her lines from a teleprompter, no one would notice a difference.
Aside from her acting, the script itself doesn’t do much for the character. Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique is a rehash of Katniss but crash-landed in the X-Men world-- a symbol of peace and hope, the Mockingjay to the mutants.
Apocalypse is Mystique’s standalone film, and was an opportunity for a modern adaptation, but, unfortunately, it fails to create a solid impression.
6 X-Men Animation
The X-Men '90s series is similar to other superhero shows. Each episode is self-contained, so viewers can start watching at any point in the series. Mystique’s character arc is close to her comic counterpart, who works with Magneto and is revealed to be Creed and Nightcrawler’s mother.
The execution of the reveal, however, ends up like a daytime soap opera. After the show gets past the "who’s your mother" reveal, Nightcrawler does try to reconcile with Mystique and ask her why she abandoned him, and even goes so far to quote religious fundamentals.
Mystique ends up as a chess piece for the major villains a lot and is eventually backstabbed by those she trusted. The '90s adaptation of Mystique is decent-- it's not terrible, but it is underwhelming.
5 X-Men: Evolution
Mystique in X-Men: Evolution is one of the better parts of the animated series-- in terms of both her character design and story arc. In season 1, she poses as Raven Darkholme, the principal at Bayville high school, and uses her human role to recruit new mutants into the Brotherhood.
The story sets out like a regular high school drama, but the arcs improve in the later seasons-- like the Apocalypse storyline in season 5, which is arguably better than the movie and is the turning point of Mystique’s relationship with her children.
As Nightcrawler’s mother and Rogue’s adoptive mother, Mystique’s story is more of a toxic mother relationship, and that her family issues resembles a tug-of-war, where she wants her kids to join the Brotherhood– even if that meant controlling them– but Rogue and Kurt want her to act like their mother.
Evolution explores the family dynamics better than the '90s cartoon, and, at the very least, Colleen Wheeler's voice-acting is not as bad as the original animation.
4 X-Men: First Class
Jennifer Lawrence’s take on the character of Mystique is split among the fandom community: one side believes that Romijin’s cold-badass version is better, while the other side believes that Lawrence provides more of a conflicted perspective than the traditional femme fatale.
However, they both excel in their roles, and it all depends on how the filmmakers improves or expands on original source material. First Class is a complete reimagination of Raven Darkholme, who is far removed from the comics.
Jennifer Lawrence’s version of young Mystique strips all of the character in the first trilogy for a sympathetic, innocent mutant torn between Xavier and Magneto’s views of mutants and their place in society. When Xavier and Magneto learn about Shaw’s plan to trigger WWIII, they gather mutants to Division X, and Raven learns to be proud of her kind.
At the end, Raven joins Magneto’s Brotherhood that stands for mutants.
The success of X-Men gave hope to FOX, who banked on the franchise for their other projects. It was a huge hit that spawned a film franchise, rocket launched Hugh Jackman’s career as the iconic Wolverine, and pretty much gave all of the other characters, like Mystique, a spotlight in the film industry.
Unlike the animated series, the film gave us the woman in blue who we remember on the big screen. Rebecca Romijn’s version is rooted in her comic origins, and, as Magneto’s second-in-command mutant, she is probably one of the best interpretations of the character in live-action adaptations.
In every scene, Romijn displays a confident adversary-- from each movement to her simple expressions. The filmmakers needed a star that was comfortable acting in nude, in addition to the physical demands of the role. Romijn matched their criteria because of her modeling background.
While Lawrence’s young Mystique relies heavily on dialogue and emotions, Romijn’s older Mystique is all body language, and she’s fantastic.
2 X-Men: Days of Future Past
X-Men Days of Future Past brought the best of both worlds, tying up loose ends and retconning the events of the first trilogy in favor of the alternate timeline. Wolverine is sent back to the past to prevent the Trask’s assassination, which would set forth the robot apocalypse.
The one behind the assassination attempt is none other than Mystique. The team ensures that this won't happen, and young Magneto joins with them to prevent the sentinel program– even if this means killing her in the best interest of other mutants. (Though in the original comic, it is Kitty Pryde who projects her younger self to stop the event, not Logan.)
What the film does best is tie-in the Lawrence and Romijn’s versions of Mystique, providing a fleshed out character. In the comic-verse, Mystique embodies the deadly female archetypes, the femme fatale, using her sex appeal as a weapon.
Days of Future Past is a total retcon of the original comic Mystique for a conflicted, morally ambiguous character, and the payoff is done well. Aside from the few nitpicks of the film, the new Mystique is conflicted and isn’t comfortable using violence as means to an end.
1 X2: X-Men United
Following X-Men’s major success, X2: X-Men United expands the X-Men cast with Nightcrawler and few new villains, such as Colonel Stryker and Lady Deathstriker. Mystique is still posing as Senator Kelley, and she uses his authority to find out where Magneto is being imprisoned. After she breaks Magneto out, they form a temporary alliance with the X-Men to take down Stryker.
X2 is Mystique revived: she is the same ruthless woman in blue, but slightly better because of the new action scenes. It’s a joy to see Romijn return in her blue form.
Again, her dialogue is limited, but the filmmakers make it count when it’s needed-- there is the bar conversation, the tent scene where she seduces Wolverine, and her conversation with Nightcrawler, where he asks her why a shapeshifter doesn’t live in disguise. Mystique simply replies, “because, we shouldn’t have to.”
This speaks true to her character and to the X-Men franchise as a whole: beings who’ve been unjustly persecuted shouldn’t have to hide.
What is your favorite Mystique adaptation in X-Men? Let us know in the comments section!
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