Under the Umbrella of Umbrella Academy

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I’m sure you’re sick of superheroes. They’ve been everywhere recently. This year alone we’re getting at least four superhero movies. With movies like Shazam!, Avengers: Endgame, On the Horizon, and Captain Marvel already being out, it’s safe to say we’re going to get our fill of superheroes for a while. However, one piece of superhero media that people don’t seem to be talking about is the Netflix series The Umbrella Academy. And, to those who haven’t seen or heard of it, you are really missing out.

To start off, let me give you a basic premise, with some very minor spoilers for the first two episodes. It’s based off a comic book series by former My Chemical Romance front man, Gerard Way.Basically, 43 women become pregnant and give birth to their children within the span of around 10 minutes all at the same time. A man named Reginald Hargreeves adopts seven of these children. Turns out, these kids all have superpowers. Hargreeves raises these super powerful children into a superhero squadron known as the “The Umbrella Academy.” Years after their disbandment, they rekindle after Hargreeves passes away, and the now-adult superheroes attempt to figure out how their father actually died. Along with this, they are threatened by an impending apocalypse, destined to happen around a week from their father’s funeral.

First let’s talk positives. The world of Umbrella Academy was set up quite nicely. Within the first few minutes, we learn about how the members of the Academy were born; how Hargreeves got them all together; and what the characters are doing during the present time. This bring up the next point: the characters. Many characters are very well crafted. We have characters such as Klaus, a drug-addicted, humorous character who uses drugs to block out his power of seeing dead people; or, Five, a space-skipping genius, who came back from the future in order to stop the apocalypse. Overall, most of the Umbrella Academy’s powers are incredibly unique, and definitely enjoyable to watch in action. And in the show, we get quite a few fight scenes. Honestly, the quality for some of these fights are very high, as they show off the unique talents of our protagonists with great choreography. Not only do our protagonist characters feel distinct, but also, some of our antagonists do too (case in point- Hazel and Cha-Cha); they serve as foil characters to one another. However, I do not want to give away too much. It would spoil some major story elements, and that wouldn’t be fair. But, we will say that Hazel became one of our favorites by the end. Along with this, Hazel and Cha-Cha are not the only antagonists. This serves an interesting idea as the antagonists all have different motivations that drive them, but it is somewhat predictable. That is the first negative of the show.

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While it still maintains the same quality as the first half, the second half of the season does leave much to be desired. There are an ample amount of phenomenal moments, but, overall, there are more flaws. As previously mentioned, the show does have some predictable elements. The storyline that follows this second antagonist is overall predictable. As soon as you see the character, you’re guaranteed to make immediately assumptions. Along with this, the story of Vonya, the only powerless member of the Academy is also entirely predictable. It did irritate us somewhat, but what really bothered us was the end. The ending felt like a bit of a cop-out. It leaves the show with a bit of a cliffhanger, which makes it feel like there is no closure. And, although most of the characters were great, they weren’t perfect. For example, two characters, Allison and Luther, felt too stereotypical with their powers. Allison is the only female with powers, and her only power is basically to manipulate people. This is a shame as Allison’s story is really well crafted and interesting, but her power feels relatively stereotypical. The real issue comes with Luther, though. He is a large, white man who cares for his family, but always follows rules. Oh yeah, he’s also really strong. That’s it. He feels too simple. Also, the character of Ben was wasted potential through much of the story. He’s the only member of the Academy that actually passed away. Because of this, Klaus is able to see him, but, he never tells anyone about it. This is one of the many examples of situational irony within the show that is often used brilliantly; however, the issue is, Ben only ever really worked as Klaus’s conscience and had some comedic moments. This is definitely not entirely  negative, but it feels like more could have been done with him. Sadly, It’s, also, not explained how he passed away in the show.

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Overall, the show has some flaws to it. There are issues with some characters and the story telling, but the show makes up for these flaws. There are plenty of twists and turns throughout the story that keep it interesting. Also, the characters are generally incredible, and are destined to make the viewer feel for them with their heartbreaking stories. On top of this, the fight scenes are mostly well shot and intense. This adds even more appeal to anyone who enjoys a good action sequences. The show is a much watch for anyone who has a Netflix account, enjoys superheroes, or just likes drama. Despite all of its flaws, Umbrella Academy is a truly phenomenal experience throughout, and is guaranteed to give anyone a fair share of humorous moments, as well as gut-wrenching ones.