The other day, I couldn't find a single thing on, so I figured 'Aw, what the heck? Might as well watch some of the X-Men films.' As I watched the first Bryan Singer film, I noticed a rather odd incident during the Liberty Island fight sequence; when Cyclops finds Jean Grey with Toad's slime hardened to her face, he immediately tries to pry it off, only to barely move a corner to reveal purple skin underneath. He exclaims "Oh, God." and then the scene changes to a fight between Wolverine & Mystique, who has morphed into an identical Wolverine to fight. The fight ends rather quickly and then the scene changes to show Cyclops tell Jean "Don't move." and blasts the slime from her face. Shouldn't this have already happened? Was Cyclops just in shock or was he just too stupid to realize sooner than he did that his optic blasts would easily remove the slime?
I think there are two possible explanations for this.
One: The fight sequence between Wolverine and Mystique, and Cyclops saving Jean, happen at the same time.
Two: Scott needed a moment to consider if he let Jean die if he would be free to date someone even hotter later on. He ultimately decided that he had basically won the lottery when Jean started dating him, and that he wasn't likely to be so lucky a second time.
After watching said scene closely and reading the script online, my best guess would be that he was trying to calm her down. Here's why, both from the movie and script.
In the movie, when Cyclops finds Jean, she is in a panic, thrashing frantically as he tries to remove the slime. Knowing better than anyone how deadly his optic blasts are, he probably didn't think it would be very smart to fire a beam of energy with her moving as much as she was. Also, if you watch closely in the scene after the Wolverine/Mystique fight, you can see Scott pull his hands from Jean's shoulders, suggesting that he had pinned her down. This is extremely close to the following scene from the script:
Cyclops continues to pull on the slime. Jean's struggles are becoming more panicked. Cyclops stops and puts his hands on Jean's shoulders, pinning her down.
Cyclops: Jean. Jean, stop. Stop moving. Jean continues to struggle for a moment.
She starts to calm down, her chest still hitching involuntarily for air.
Cyclops (Cont'd): Jean, trust me. Don't move.
He takes a hold of her chin and grips it tightly. He FIRES A THIN, FOCUSED OPTIC BEAM INTO THE SLIME, splitting it in half. He pulls the remains away from her face. Jean GASPS for air.