“The Umbrella Academy” defies those stereotypical superhero shows
For those who have access to a Netflix account out there, I’m sure you have seen advertising for “The Umbrella Academy.” What is it, and is it worth your time? (Don’t worry; there are no big spoilers).
The Umbrella Academy is based on a comic book of the same name, written by My Chemical Romance’s lead singer Gerard Way, and was adapted into a series of 10 episodes (so far) for Netflix. The show follows 7 “siblings” who were born on the same day to different women who were not pregnant the previous day. They were all adopted (bought) and raised by an eccentric billionaire, Reginald Hargreeves. Each child has a supernatural power and is trained by Reginald to use their powers to defeat criminals, under the name ‘Umbrella Academy.’
The show takes place years later after each child has gone their separate ways in life but reunite after the death of their “father” Reginald. The Umbrella Academy reassembles after one sibling reveals that the world is going to end in the next seven days. The group bands together in order to figure out what or who might threaten the world, and to try to stop that threat before time is up.
Since Disney is working on their very own streaming platform, and because they own Marvel, I think Netflix’s ability to stream some of the best superhero shows and movies will be coming to an end soon. Due to this impending threat, I believe this new show is Netflix’s way of diversifying their superhero portfolio. But the content of the show is much different than Marvel’s superheroes.
First, I think that all the characters are much more vulnerable due to their very minor powers. For example, one of the siblings, Allison, has the power to alter reality by lying. She says to someone, “I heard a rumor that…” and then says what she wishes to be done. For example, she could say, “I heard a rumor that you gave me $1,000,” and then that person would almost instantly give her the money. It is a cool power, but pretty impractical when it comes to combat like in most other superhero and action movies. The powers are pretty unique, and it is interesting to see actually vulnerable characters trying to save the world.
Overall, I would give the show an 8/10. It is well done, the music is great, the storyline is interesting and the characters are deep and intriguing. The plot, while overall being predictable, takes twists and turns on the way to its ultimate destination that help keep the storyline engaging. The characters are also each quite unique and are easy to fall in love with. Each sibling has distinct drivers and struggles that they deal with, such as Klaus, one of the siblings who harbors a drug addiction in order to nullify his ability of hearing and seeing the deceased.
Besides these super powers, there are many similarities between the real-life struggles of everyday people with the struggles that these characters face. Another two characters that you will come to adore are Hazel and Cha-Cha, two hitmen who just cannot seem to make corporate happy. I do not want to spoil anything, but the focus on Hazel’s struggle with the impending apocalypse and what he truly values in life is magical, but also relatable. By the end of the show you will love Hazel more than any other character, guaranteed.
Overall, it is another win for Netflix. If you can overlook a generally predictable storyline and a few worn out character tropes, the show is well done. The characters have dimension, and while they have super powers, their struggles and motivations are still relatable, which helps make it easier to become enamored with them. Also due to their powers and their lack of invincibility, their vulnerability makes the show more realistic than those movies where the superhero seems to be immune to bullets, knives and everything in between.
There’s also no clear villain, as you will want to cheer for almost everyone by the end of 10 episodes. It will make you laugh and cry, as well as angry at times. This unique story is hard to stop streaming and will be well worth your time. Happy watching!