Courtesy Twentieth Century Fox
X-Men: First Class casts British actor James McAvoy as Ian McKellen's excellent successor in the role of suave mind-reader Charles Xavier 20-year old Oscar-nominated phenom Jennifer Lawrence brings genuine pathos to her shape-shifting Mystique character, portraying the blue-skinned mutant who only wants to be "normal." But the most eye-catching presence in this Marvel Comics-based superhero picture has to be January Jones.
People who know Jones as the Grace Kelly-inspired "perfect" -- make that perfectly repressed -- wife in TV's Mad Men series might not be surprised to learn that her telepathic Emma Frost villain-on-lithium performance demonstrates an emotional range that runs the gamut, to quote Dorothy Parker "from A to B."
But that's okay. Jones / Frost channels swinging '60s iconography with such deadpan panache that character development becomes irrelevant. As director Matthew Vaughn describes it, "X-Men has elements of the '60s Bond films - the coolness, the action, the danger."
Which would make Jones, as sexy sidekick to mastermind Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) the perfect Bond Girl. Jones whispers her unremarkable dialogue outfitted in creamy white mini-skirts, capes, go-go boots and lingerie, all color-coded to match upswept hairdos lifted straight from Jane Fonda during her Barbarella phase.
Jones demonstrated a much sassier side of her personality in the Tina Faye-scripted Mean Girls, when she portrayed a pretty kid from the cool clique that tormented Lindsay Lohan's outsider character.
The actress got further pigeonholed as a gorgeous snob a couple of weeks ago, when Zach Galifianakis recounted a brief encounter at a party which concluded with Jones supposedly saying to the Hangver 2 star, "You can go now."
Can Jones really act? Maybe. More to the point, she possesses a quality that might be even more valuable to a movie star. The camera likes her. It really really likes her.
X-Men: First Class opens Friday.