In the history of superhero films, there have only been a handful of truly iconic performances. Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark, Christopher Reeve as Superman and Heath Ledger as the Joker all come to mind. However, perhaps top of the list is none other than Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. Over the course of 17 years and about 400 films (roughly), Jackman fully embodied Wolverine in a way that no one could have predicted back in 2000. While we can’t debate his performance as Wolverine, we can surely talk about the most important aspect to his character – the clothes! Well, maybe not the most important, but still.
In his nine film appearances as Logan, Hugh Jackman has donned a variety of different costumes. Some are great, and some are pure garbage. However, one thing is for certain, none of them tried to replicate the perfection that is his comic book suit. But never mind that. We’ve seen Wolverine with and without shirts, in leather jackets and even as a lumberjack. Of course, he has never been one to shy away from black leather. Now, let’s become our very own Fashion Police and rank every Wolverine costume seen in the X-Films.
15 FIRST LEATHER SUIT
Oh, where do we even begin? Way back in 2000, there wasn’t much proof that superhero films would work. It had been three years since Batman & Robin almost killed the genre, and decades since Christopher Reeve donned his colorful spandex outfit. The closest example of a superhero film that worked was The Matrix. And thus, the emergence of black leather as a superhero costume.
This outfit, worn by Hugh Jackman in the first X-Men film, is a travesty. There’s not even a hint of his iconic comic book costume. The only thing that even brings to mind the classic look is the incredibly minor streaks of yellow. Wolverine himself even made a joke about the costume in the film where he says, “Do you actually go outside in these things?” Yes, this suit was the first, and therefore, was destined to be flawed. However, looking back, after recent films have done so much better, this suit is just ugly.
14 LITTLE JAMES’ PAJAMAS
Wolverine wasn’t always the gruff warrior that we know and love. No, before he was Wolverine, and before he was even Logan, he was little James Howlett. And little James Howlett sure did love his pajamas and red robe.
As seen in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, young James pops his claws for the first time while sporting what is best described as a nightgown and red robe. It’s almost unfair to pick on the kid for his clothing because yes, he was a sickly little boy who didn’t realize he was a mutant. But even with that excuse, as far as Wolverine costumes go, this is by far one of the worst. This is the type of outfit that Wolvie’s mom would show pictures of to embarrass him to his potential girlfriends. Just not a good look for a guy who would become one of the most badass mutants in the world.
13 LUMBERJACK LOGAN
Logan has every right to become a lumberjack. If he’s trying to live a quiet life with his love in Canada, then by all means become a lumberjack! Just don’t expect us to think it’s a good look for the unstoppable killing machine known as Wolverine. The lumberjack outfit we get in X-Men Origins: Wolverine is more reminiscent of an older man modeling the latest in Dad Fashion.
Honestly, we have to admit that Hugh Jackman is a handsome man. No human on Earth would disagree with that. However, even he can’t make a flannel and Wrangler jeans look, well... super. Even Jackman holding an ax just looks, for lack of a better word, cute. Look at the picture above. Is this from a superhero film or your parent’s old Sears catalogue? Someone involved in production should have spotted this bad costume design and gone with something a bit more wild and rugged, like the character should be.
12 THIRD LEATHER SUIT
There’s not many redeeming qualities in X-Men: The Last Stand. Somehow that movie was able to take two completely separate, but good, X-Men stories and ruin both. But here’s the thing, this was their third attempt at getting the costumes right. And guess what? They still look terrible. This is particularly true of Wolverine.
That being said, there are a couple decent things about the costume. First, the leather look actually sort of looks like something a superhero would wear. They even incorporate more of the design elements from his comic book costume, but even those are hardly visible. And they also get points for incorporating a big “X” across his chest. Because at least give the man an “X” somewhere! Other than that, this is only marginally better than the first Wolverine costume.
11 SECOND LEATHER SUIT
Of all the black leather costumes worn by Wolverine in the X-Men films, the one seen in X2: X-Men United is the best. While you may not notice many differences between this costume and the one worn in The Last Stand, there are some subtle, yet important changes.
As seen in the picture, the yellow is much more prominent in the X2 costume. The leather also looks more refined and better quality. And last but certainly not least, X2 is a far superior film and that greatness rubs off on the costume and elevates it above the rest of the black leather abominations. Make no mistake, the praise given to this costume is because we have to pick the lesser of the evils. As the comics have shown, black leather is no substitute for yellow spandex, despite what Cyclops says.
10 '70S CLOTHES
Like it or not, casual Wolverine is the Wolverine most seen in the X-Men films. Because of the filmmakers’ aversion to anything resembling a superhero costume, most of the time, the audience gets a Wolverine that hangs out in his everyday clothes. The '70s-era costume we see him wear in Days of Future Past is a mixed bag that succeeds for the most part.
Anytime Logan is in a leather jacket, it’s a win in our book. While the style of shirt is definitely fitting with the time period, we can’t help but get distracted by the shirt. However, on the plus side, he does unbutton a little bit, which takes him from old man to almost a bit like a rockstar. Overall, this is a definite middle-of-the-road Wolverine costume.
9 OLD MAN CLOTHES
While Logan features Hugh Jackman’s best work as the character, one of his costumes featured in the film is a bit lacking. Previously, we have seen Wolverine sport black leather, cool jackets, tank tops and a variety of other clothing that, while not perfect, is actually interesting. This plain-clothes Wolverine seen in Logan is just not that exciting.
What pushes this boring old man button-down outfit over others on the list are two things. One, the fact that this boring outfit is featured in amazing scenes that show just how incredible Logan is as a character and Jackman is as an actor makes you completely not even care about the clothes he’s wearing. And two, torn, bloody clothing is automatically more interesting than clean, pristine clothing, especially when it comes to Wolverine.
8 BACK IN BLACK
The Wolverine is a flawed, but overall, decent X-film. Easily the best portions of the film are when Logan is in Japan fighting ninjas and other bad guys. As seen in the comics, some of the best Wolverine stories revolve around the character doing just that. It also helps that the costume he wears during that time is pretty cool.
If we’re forced to put the character in all black, this is how you do it. This is Logan in a nice suit, with a long coat, and it just looks cool. Maybe it’s the environment, or the enemies he’s facing, but there’s almost a ninja-like quality to the outfit. The all black suit feels right for the character in Japan. Previous to The Wolverine, we had seen the character in horrible leather outfits and leather jackets. This suit was a stark contrast and definitely set the tone for the film.
7 LEATHER JACKET WOLVERINE
Outside of the classic comic books costumes, Wolverine is perhaps best known for his love of leather jackets. So, throughout his appearances in X-films, Logan can been seen sporting a variety of cool jackets. Even in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, when everything else about the movie is falling apart and horrible, Logan looked pretty cool in his jacket.
This all started way back in the first X-Men film and continued on. Even in Logan, you can see the character wearing a leather jacket, albeit not the best coat of the bunch. The costume designers also like to sneak subtle hints to his comic book look into the jackets. You’ll see yellow stripes and design elements that harken back to the classic look. The leather jackets separate Logan from the rest of the mutants featured in the films, and also add to his character.
6 FUTURE ARMOR
The black leather costumes that Wolverine wore in the first three X-Men films are horrible, without a doubt. But if you’re going to put Wolverine in black, at least make it functional. The costume that Future Wolverine wore in Days of Future Past is mostly black, sure, but the armor makes sense. This is a dystopian future where mutants are hunted down, so the man can wear all the black armor he wants. It just makes sense.
But really what gives this costume the edge over the ugly black leather seen in previous films is the inclusion of yellow and blue. Yes, they actually, after several films, decided to give Wolverine some color in his costume. While subtle, and definitely not the primary colors, the yellow and blue are a nice homage to his classic comic book costume. His Days of Future Past costume isn’t the greatest representation of the character on film, but given what came before, its an admirable effort.
5 TANK TOP AND JEANS
Arguably, the best scene featuring Wolverine in all of his nine appearances is in X2: X-Men United. While the mansion is being raided by Stryker’s forces, Wolverine has to single-handedly protect the students. It’s the first time we really get to see the berserker Wolverine that we have been waiting for. It’s also the introduction of a classic X-film Wolverine look – the tank top.
Seen in multiple films, Logan in a tank top is a tried and true look for the character. When he’s in a tank top, two things are readily apparent. First, you know he means business and people are about to die. And secondly, it’s proof that Hugh Jackman has been working out like a madman and deserves his moment to flex his biceps. It’s almost impossible for Wolverine to look anything less than cool in a tank top.
4 WEAPON X
It may have been a mind-blowing moment in X-Men: Apocalypse but longtime comic book fans of Wolverine had to be a little excited to see the classic Weapon X look for the character show up in a cameo. Bringing back memories of the classic Barry Windsor-Smith designed look of the character is never a bad thing. And even though the look isn’t completely accurate, it’s a valiant effort.
This may be a controversial ranking, but when the bulk of his costumes barely resemble anything seen in the comics, you have to give bonus points to a costume that is actually trying to be comics-accurate. Of course, you have Hugh Jackman playing the role, and the audience needs to know this, so you can’t completely cover his face, but having the tubes and headgear and mostly everything he did in the classic comic story just makes this little cameo a nice little nod to the fans.
3 SHOWING OFF THE PECS
If you’ve been following comic books and superhero films for a while, you probably remember the moment you saw the first teaser image from The Wolverine. The image in question, seen above, is Hugh Jackman in a classic pose with no shirt. He looks impossibly ripped, with his veins looking like they’re about to explode out of his body. It’s a look that has become legendary for the character.
We’ve seen the shirtless, ripped Logan in a few different films. It’s clear that this is somehow written into Jackman’s contracts that he must be able to show off all his hard work. The steamed veggies and bland chicken diet that he has lived on for the last decade-and-a-half is all worth it with images like this. Regardless of Jackman’s physique, the shirtless Wolverine look is something that has been seen in a comics over the decades. It’s a classic way to show that Wolverine is almost more of an animal than a clean-cut superhero like the rest of the X-Men.
2 UBER DRIVER WOLVERINE
Costumes aren’t just about looking cool. They should also tell a story themselves. When you watch Logan and see Hugh Jackman playing the character as a glorified Uber driver, it’s jarring. This is the same character that spent years saving the world, defeating powerful enemies and even time-travelling, and now he’s reduced to driving around people to make money. Seeing this ruthless warrior reduced to wearing a chauffeur’s outfit is almost sad.
That’s what makes it the most effective costume ever worn by Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. Make no mistake, he still looks cool in the black coat and white shirt, but it’s the story that outfit tells that separates it from the rest. This isn’t a superhero’s costume. This isn’t a character trying to look intimidating. This is an older guy looking to just get by and not make waves. That’s a great costume, no matter if it’s worn by Wolverine or not.
1 UNUSED BRIEFCASE SUIT
In the first X-Men film, after Wolverine makes a snide remark about the black leather costumes, Cyclops says, “What would you prefer? Yellow Spandex?” Well, yes, Cyclops, we would all prefer yellow spandex to every costume ever worn by Wolverine in the X-films. Sadly, that was never an option. The filmmakers all decided that the comic book costume that generations of fans all love would look stupid on the big screen.
That leads us to the image you see above. In an after-credits scene from The Wolverine, the audience is teased by a briefcase that contains a comics-accurate suit. Unfortunately, that briefcase costume is the closest we’ll ever get to a true Wolverine in live-action, and we never got to see anyone wear it. Even still, this quick little tease is easily the best costume in any of the films.