When people think of comic book adaptations the first thoughts usually are do they belong to Marvel or DC. Rightly so, they are the main producers of some of the biggest household names in the comic book genre. Then there are the lesser known but equally just as aware publishers like Image and Darkhorse who have come across significant success with their properties in recent years. We all have been introduced at some point or another to The Walking Dead or Hellboy. Both have cult followings that span decades and have been successfully and unsuccessfully adapted on the small and big screens.
The Walking Dead is what on their third spinoff show with its main title going on for 10 plus years. Safe to say these properties that don’t belong to Marvel or DC are money makers in turn making their publishing houses household names. Then, in comes a new property to get adapted to the small screen created by leading man of the rock band ‘My Chemical Romance’ Gerard Way and illustrator Gabriel Bá called The Umbrella Academy. Published by Darkhorse comics the show adaptation was picked up by Netflix and first was introduced to households last year. This review coincides to the recently released season two that just dropped on Netflix a couple months ago.
If you haven’t seen the first season of Umbrella Academy – WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? On October 1st, 1989 43 women around the globe give birth simultaneously without knowing they were even pregnant. All of this is covered in season one but if you haven’t seen the first season, why are you reading a review for the second. You’ve been warned – going forward this is all season two stuff. After Vanya (Ellen Page) causes the apocalypse, Five (Aidan Gallagher) transports his siblings to the 1960’s (over the span of three different years) to Texas all before the events of the JFK assassination.
“I know this is impossible, but did we all get sexier?”
All six of them (seven if you count Ben (Justin H. Min)) get separated in the same location in the span of three different years. All seemingly not knowing if the other siblings survived the time travel. Diego (David Castaneda) winds up in a mental hospital predicting the future assassination, Luther (Tom Hopper) becomes a bouncer for Jack Ruby, Vanya, who has amnesia becomes a nanny, Klaus (Robert Sheehan) starts a cult, and Allison (Emmy Raver-Lampman) gets married to a civil rights activist.
Seeing season one – all of these seem completely normal, of course Klaus would start a sex cult I mean it’s pretty obvious, isn’t it? Diego would be looked at like a mental patient attempting to stop an assassination that hasn’t happened yet. The question now is how the apocalypse follows them to 1963 and who causes it. The fingers automatically get pointed at Vanya (when all are reunited) because well she caused the first one even if she doesn’t remember anyone or anything.
Time travel is a fragile tool in storytelling – many have cracked that code while others crash and burn. The smartest thing this show has is that it’s a show and not a film. The plot can be fleshed out more organically rather than be overstuffed while missing key plot points. One of the best things this show offers is the character development of each sibling. They all have their issues with how their father Reginald (Colm Feore). These people are broken and to be honest the writing is perfect at explaining how broken these people are. This is a completely dysfunctional family and they never attempt to hide that dysfunction from the viewer. It’s comical and heartbreaking to watch each come to terms with their daddy issues.
“You know some say the best luck is to die at the right time. “
It’s also that dysfunction that brings them together to work as a team, all of them separately are in a sort of limbo – they feel lost or stuck running in place but when they are together- they are unstoppable. The 1960’s setting is the perfect backdrop for this looming apocalypse. The 1960’s are filled with social and economical injustice and the scene’s portraying the injustice of the race wars are compelling and heartbreaking given how the world is today. If one event could cause the destruction of the world it’s the cold war.
The premise is brilliantly thought out where the pacing quickly picks up the moment the season one recap finishes. Although time travel can be a tricky way to go, the rules aren’t really established well enough for us to understand what the characters can and cannot do. Maybe we’ll get more of an explanation in season three but for now, it’s not too big of a discrepancy to take us out of the show completely. The breaks in the show are completely necessary to let us pause and take a break from all the action. Vanya, Allison, and Klaus are all perfect together having one of the best scene’s of the entire season. Luther proves he is more than just muscle; he doesn’t want to be just a tool for fighting – he has his own motivations and desires. Diego has more depth than just a stone cold killing machine, he falls for Lila (Ritu Arya), opening his heart which is not remotely possible for his character in season one.
It is impossible to believe that Vanya could become more compassionate than before as she nannies for a child on the spectrum. Allison has the most significant storyline involving the civil rights movement. It’s wild to think that sixty short years ago this movement was at the height of its boiling point. It was interesting to watch how Allison’s powers were utilized in conjunction with the sit in when she loses control. All of their powers were well staged and sequenced that showcased them individually and as a whole. One of the best things is the mystery the characters are still somewhat shrouded in, especially Reginald.
Overall, The Umbrella Academy continues its stride after season one passes along the baton. The acting, the set design, and the music shine more than ever and really highlights the show as a force to be reckoned with. The Umbrella Academy should be a household name by now and if it isn’t than get on it while its still in its infancy. The cynical nature of the Handler (Kate Walsh) serves as a perfect distraction for Five to throw him and the team off kilter, losing their momentum. The inspirations from other superhero teams are evident but if one thing is clear The Umbrella Academy is completely original, and they are here to stay. Season two leaves off with a cliffhanger basically guaranteeing a third season. If I were to rate The second season of The Umbrella Academy, I’d rate it a 4.8 out of 5. I guess this means I have to review season one.
The Umbrella Academy season two premiered in 2020 and can be streamed on Netflix. The Umbrella Academy season two has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 90%. The Umbrella Academy was created for TV by Steve Blackman & Jeremy Slater and stars Tom Hopper, Ellen Page, David Castaneda, Robert Sheehan, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Aidan Gallagher, and Justin H. Min. The Umbrella Academy is adapted by the comic of the same name created by Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá.
So, tell me guys, have you seen The Umbrella Academy season two and if so, what do you think about it? Do you agree or disagree with me? Comment below or send me an email and let me know what you think.
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