X-Men – Color and Costumes


[Intro Music] There are few things in this world more badass, than this intro to the 1992 X-Men animated series. It’s vibrant, and bold, and exciting, and it says everything there is to say about the X-Men. But, it wouldn’t hold that same visual energy, if it looked like this. With comics, and superhero comics, in particular, colour is a key component in making the characters iconic and recognisable. In a universe of thousands of characters, you need every available design element to differentiate between them. But, colour is the most important. If you distill these characters into just their specific colour palettes, you’d still have a pretty good idea of who’s who. But, in this era of bland, muted and lifeless costume design in film, you strip that layer of identity away. See if you can guess who this costume belongs to. We’ve had sixteen years of X-Men films, some great, and some not so much, and Apocalypse isn’t out yet, so I can only speculate. but why does it seem like the X-Men franchise is almost embarassed by the X-Men? Wolverine:
“You actually go outside in these things?” Cyclops:
“What would you prefer? “Yellow spandex?” That line isn’t directed towards Wolverine, it’s directed at the audience, Bryan Singer:
“That was my response to a lot of the internet complaining about the – “the lack of spandex, multi-coloured costumes, “which we tried.” In 2012, we even got confirmation from Singer himself that there would be no more black, leather costumes, in future X-Men films. Finally. We’ve upgraded to black paintball gear. It’s not an issue with the limitations of costume design that’s been proven in Deadpool and, partially, in X-Men: First Class, except for whatever the hell this was about. It’s an issue with the film-makers and their faith in the material, because how is full-body black leather any more practical than spandex? Brian Peck:
“Now, this right here. Bryan Singer:
“Oh!” Brian Peck:
“This is the first time the actors wore the suits on camera.” Bryan Singer:
“That is true, and they could not climb over that concrete divider. “They just couldn’t do it. “They kept – “Hugh ripped his pants, they fell over.” Brian Peck:
“And the first time they wore them, everyone felt like they were sort of in a body cast, Bryan Singer:
“Yeah.” Brian Peck:
“and could not hop over that wall “without, practically, falling over.” James Marsden as Cyclops:
“This is insane! “Nobody could move in this.” James Marsden:
“They have the footage of it. “We, like, tripped and, like, we fell flat on our faces “because we couldn’t get our legs high enough in these suits. “So, you couldn’t feel less like a superhero in these costumes.” The X-Men have a very complicated role in the Marvel universe. They aren’t celebrated like other heroes, they’re misfits, and outcasts, and kids on the run, and a lot of them don’t have families. Jubilee:
“I used to be a normal kid… “It’s not my fault!” And that costume that the students wear, is sometimes the only thing that gives them any sense of belonging. It’s not just a uniform, it’s a symbol of the unification of the group, while also being a representation of individuality, because that’s what being an X-Man is about. It’s a celebration of self-identity. Take Nightcrawler, for example, he’s a circus performer, and his costume should reflect that. It should be vaudevillian, and acrobatic, and full of colour. There’s nothing acrobatic about khakis, or a leather trench coat. A costume can say a lot about a character. If you look at Cyclops’ and Wolverine’s classic costumes, they have inverted colour schemes to visually represent their opposing roles on the team, and their relationship as foils. It’s a subtle and clever way to show their conflicting ideologies. And you get all that from just two colours. In some ways, wearing a flashy costume is a tool to battle segregation, and the discrimination mutants are facing about the public. Raven:
“Mutant, and proud.” And what does proud stand for, if not self-expression. Xavier’s goal when designing the original uniforms, was to promote co-operation and project a positive public image. He wanted his students to inspire people, like superheroes did. It’s the same concept behind police uniforms, or firefighters. Black isn’t the only serious colour. and the X-Men should do more than represent a dated interpretation of “cool”. Logan:
“Is this going to be about tights?” Scott Summers:
“Sorry, Logan, superheroes wear costumes.” and, quite frankly, all the black leather is making people nervous. Here’s a quote from James Mangold, the director of The Wolverine, on why the character doesn’t wear his costume, he says that the flesh and blood of the character is loyal to that iconoclastic rebel, who doesn’t seem to be the first to don spandex, and that, by removing the costume, they’re trying to stay true to the character. Staying true to a character doesn’t mean stripping away the one design element that he’s always had, since his first appearance 40 years ago. Wolverine wearing his costume is a sign of his loyalty to Xavier’s vision, and his respect for Cyclops’ leadership. The two may butt heads and be at constant odds, but, at the end of the day, Logan knows who’s in charge. Logan:
“Every now and then, Summers, “I remember why you’re still in charge.” Because, throughout history, Wolverine is a soldier, and a soldier knows the importance of a uniform. So, if you think that blue and yellow spandex, or capes and tall boots are too silly for your film, then you don’t take the property seriously. And, a true fan takes their interests seriously. If you want to do a darker, real world spin on these characters, that’s fine, by all means, fulfill your vision. But don’t say it’s because it wouldn’t work on film, because it does, and it has, and it will continue to. These characters should stay authentic, because they mean a lot to a lot of people, and I think that there should be a certain level of responsibility when adapting these properties, because these characters are a result of decades of work from creators who’ve shaped and moulded them into the icons that we know today. When people have been doing things like this in cosplay for years, there’s no excuse not to do it in film. But, overall, I’m excited for the future of the X-Men franchise. because, if they’ve learned anything from Deadpool, it’s that costumes can be comic-accurate without looking like they came from a Halloween store. Wolverine:
“No!” “Noo!” “Noooo!” [Outro Music]

100 thoughts on “X-Men – Color and Costumes

  1. I think that "classic rebel" logic works to explain why Logan wouldn't be wearing a costume in the first X Men film or in his solo movies, but in the second and third X Men films when he had already become a full time member of Xavier's team I think they should've introduced it. If they wanted to stick with a dark color scheme, why not use a design similar to his X Force costume? Or even the brown costume? I only say this because I'm not a big fan of the yellow/blue color scheme but the suit itself could've been adapted successfully

  2. 4:17 To be fair, Wolverine's blue and yellow outfit is one of the ugliest costumes ever designed. His yellow and brown one is infinitely better, however.

  3. Absolutely on par with your thinking , I would loved it if the new x-men of the mcu appears in colors suit 👍👍👍👍

  4. This was really fucken good! I've been trying to explain to people why the films are so shitty with costumes and now I can just show them this and they'll understand.

  5. I just want to say how this is a well put together video. And I agree with every damn point you made. It makes me happy to know that everyone else wants to see the xmen done right. This was an amazing video. Thank you.

  6. The problem is that the first X Men was in production around the time The Matrix came out, the studios wanted their action heroes on black leather, and if you look at many comic book adaptations or action films in general from the late 90's to early 2000's, they all wear black leather.

  7. Excellent work! Singer is no position to criticize superhero costumes. Look at what he approved for Superman’s costume.

  8. I think that , because of what the X-men initially stand for, a commentary on racism, people feel the need to use them in a dark "realistic" enviroment. So they shy away from the bright colors and the lighter more dynamic atmosphere. And this has gotten the comics doing it to in recent years. Go ahead pick up an X-men comic it looks just like the 2000's movie, black leather with little yellow highlights. (well except for Shadowcat and few others)

  9. If they picked color the movies would of been Mocked like the 90's Batman movies, they had to go with all black because of the new "Good" Batman movies, I hate the new batman movies

  10. Look I personally liked Hugh jackmans look as wolverine in the movies it’s way better than that flairing ear mask he wears in the old comics but the black leather suit that was way over the top do you think that if Logan was real would he wear some of the suits in the movies ? Hell if superhero’s were real do you think they would wear a costume ? If I was a superhero I,d probably go with camo not spandex & a creepy skull pull over mask to hide my identity

  11. The black leather suit is ok but at least give them their design on the suit n bits of the yellow n blue out lines on that leather

  12. Superman,batman,wonderwoman,spiderman,captain america,iron man and the list goes on of super heroes with colorful costumes that have been brought to the movie screen with pretty much comic book accuracy. The b.s. excuse for the xmen not having them is just b.s. But then again everything about the xmen franchise has been lazy,the writing,the directing,the acting,the special effects,in general just freaking everything. I hope marvel studios can revive them,they really have their work cut out if they even try.

  13. Really don’t understand how they can screw up a good thing like their costumes, personalities etc. I mean it’s ready proven what works here

  14. The reason singers X men where colourless was quite simple, just like every other jackass superhero movie directors who robbed the superheroes of their comic book colour, they wanted to ground the characters in reality !!!

  15. I agree that all the major superhero movies should be vibrant and inspiring and powerful.
    Because that's what Superheroes are, an escapism and exploration of overpowered human beings.

    But to be fair, the scripts for the majority of these films wouldn't have worked with those suits.

    The problem really is as someone below said that these directors and writers aren't "creative enough".
    And they really aren't.

    The first time we've seen Marvel REALLY go all the way is with the recent Infinity War, which comes the closest to actually representing the wild, crazy and wonderful combinations of superhero characters.
    The way they always should have been.

    But the trash writers of Hollywood don't know how to write stories like that, that actually grasp what Superheroes ultimately are.
    Not just shitty "action heroes", but a vibrant, strenghtening celebration of people and imagination.

    Not lackluster trash like the XMen film franchise or the abysmal DCEU 😑

  16. I think the X-Men costumes should look like the ones from Evolution. I mean the first ever X-Men related thing I’ve watched was that show.

  17. Holy crap, this was hilarious. I think it can be done, but they'd have to use a slightly darker color pallet and simplify the designs just a hair. Otherwise it does look just a tiny bit ridiculous. For example, Batinthsun did a Wolverine vs. Wonder Woman video (very violent, don't watch, but not my point) the costumes were comic accurate, but they did look weird to me in a real life setting. Just my opinion, no flames.

  18. Uhh…Kapt. Kristian, I need a follow-up to this 😅 I need some MCU related/X-Men joining video from you my guy lmaooo. This is absolutely true & brilliant 👌🏽

  19. When the first X-men movie came out I was so disappointed at the costumes, because I believed there was a way to make more colorful ones work.
    The First Class happen and I was like “ummmm yeah, but now we’re so far behind”
    The movie industry were afraid to take that chance, I get it. But missed opportunity…I believe so.

    Great video, you hit so many point right on

  20. The comic book costumes wouldn't work on film. Deadpool costumes may have had SOME color, but they weren't over the top like the comic books. They were mostly black with some accent color. Similarly, look what Warner Bros had to do with Superman, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman costumes to make them not look idiotic like the Christopher Reeves Superman. They muted all the colors.
    But the colors aren't the only problem. There's also the issue of plausibility. If the costume is not explained, many viewers, myself included, would be plagued by the question of, "where did the costume come from?" That may seem trifling to some, but for me and many others it would be so bothersome as to take me out of the movie. That's why Christopher Nolan's Batman and Sam Raime's Spider-man both have montage sequences showing the heroes designing their costumes. And I don't even have time to get into the MCU, in which EVERY…SINGLE…COSTUME… is provided with an exhaustive origin story (except Hulk, who doesn't wear a costume, and aliens whose clothing doesn't need explanation because we can accept that they're not from Earth and don't dress like us).
    So the X-Men are a problem when it comes to costumes. If they each wear their own flamboyant costume, the movie can't explain where all those costumes came from and it just breaks the fourth wall. If they wear matching uniforms, that is easily explained because they are a team, but then the comic book fans throw a conniption fit. You can't please everyone, so it's probably just best to do what works.

  21. I think that when the first X-men movie came out, bright costumes simply wouldn't have worked. However, we're long past that point and can appreciate comic characters for what they are instead of needing them to be edgy reboots.

  22. Wolverine in his classic yellow costume: You actually go out in these things?
    Cyclops: What would you prefer? Black leather spandex?

  23. This is a nice video. I couldn't disagree more – it is totally wrong. It would be total garbage to put these guys in spandex – for lots of obvious reasons. But good work!

  24. I honestly think that good super Hero movies are yet to come in the 3rd or 4rth wave of movies.

    Marvel did some ok ones, and that great DeadPool that was more thanks to the actor's behind scenes (My respects You are the one human who deserved the duty of representing Mr Pool And you Nailed it.)

    And DC- OK! We All know you make great falling buildings scenes, how bout something to think , to reflect you know? (Course, Mr. Bateman did an awesome job, his Alfred was perfect & Mr. Leather also mastered at his great achievements of mankind)

    But like, SUPERMAN: why did you spent all the movie budget on roids in his ass? the real villan is him who must have killed one hundret people from demolition
    Any other movie is nothing but a bunch of scenes in green n cables.
    I know my generation love this and they all recriminate me for hating avengers, but i really do..

  25. I would like to help you with subtitles in Spanish… I want to show this to my parents but they can’t understand it…

  26. I think the purpose of the the costume design with Singer's first X-Men film was to try to appeal to as big an audience as possible. Superhero movies where not nearly as ubiquitous or accepted at the time, so upon seeing trailers for the X-Men movie with costumes that looked "outlandish" or "over the top" to the standard movie-going public of the time could have been a very real death sentence for the film as well as comic book movies as a whole. I think the changes made were beneficial to the comic book movie genre to make it more accepted with mainstream audiences—not viewed as gimmicky or geared toward children, but more serious–as it is now. Progress often comes in steps not leaps.

  27. I sorta dislike. the X-Men being related to gay pride because then it seems like I'm not allowed to enjoy it as a straight white male.
    To me the X-Men hold the same purpose as Spider-Man; to say hey I understand, but with the X-Men its a whole team instead of one man.
    Just speculation but I'm sort of tired if being told the the X-Men is a metaphor for gay pride because then becomes less inclusive. I have nothing against gays, but its just less inclusive.

  28. Man hearing how restricted the X-MEN cast felt in there suits explains why their body movement was off during some of the wired stunts.

  29. "The X-Men are hardly children anymore. They've each proven themselves a hundred times in deadly combat. It's time they looked more like individuals, not products of an assembly line."
    Professor X, Uncanny X-Men #39

  30. “Other not so great” The Wolverine is one of them
    Hold the damn phone, The Wolverine had a deleted scene with him opening up a case of the original yellow and blue costume he got from the girl as a gift.

  31. Great, great, GREAT video! Can't say that enough. 👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👌💢💥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

  32. In a lot of X men movies (think Days of Future Past) the goal is often about retrieving information/espionage/jail escape or some other subplot along these lines. These subplots will simply not work if the X men are outed as such by their uniform.

    Secondly, these movies are trying to coexist alongside a realpolitik gravitas – they want the movies to stay within a particular tone. A colorful costume design will affect too comic or lighthearted a tone…there's a reason its the Deadpool movies of all that have the color palate you commend.

    Thirdly, MCU costumes have functionality. Black Panther, Spiderman, Iron Man, Cap with his shield, Thor with his hammer, Hawkeye with his arrow kit…a lot of these people would simply be ineffectual against their foes without their costume. What is Iron Man without his suit or Spiderman without the web-shooting apparatus? X men powers however are genetic…and need no costume to release/use. Hence they cannot use costumes for any functional reason. In that case, they will be using the costume only for sartorial purposes, which brings us to the final point:

    WHEN DID THEY GET THE TIME TO PUT ON THE COSTUME WITH MATCHING SOCKS?!

  33. I wish Fox saw this video before making Dark Phoenix. 😂 The uniforms were way too bland for my taste

  34. where can I get that end credits music on an endless loop? curious if your analytics show a spike in veiwers the last :20 sec, I always rewind and listen again

  35. Hey bro, I am impressed with your knowledge & ability to make a great point or points in a short amount of time. I rarely see or listen to anyone on these subjects having to do with superheroes. I want you to know I forwarded this video link to Marvel Entertainment & the Russo Bros. Here here good man!! 'Nuff Said!!

  36. I used to enjoy the comic book where the X-school all wore the same colour uniform but they still looked different (Hank's feet, Cyclops's visor). Then as they 'grew up' they got more individual costumes.  I agree though about the movies –  all black leather is boring.  Logan though doesn't need  a costume – that hair and those claws are distinctive enough.

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