Netflix’s farewell to the Marvel series seems to have been planned when Disney first announced plans to create its own streaming service in 2017. Netflix was well prepared for this moment, starting to plunk down second-tier publishers and try their own hand at publishing comics. The result – Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Kingdom, Polar, The Magic Order – turned out to be pretty good. The Umbrella Academy is another project that will allow Netflix to get over the breakup with Marvel.
The Umbrella Academy series is based on the comics of the same name, written by Gerard Way (yes, that one) and drawn by artist Gabriel Ba. It turns out that the former My Chemical Romance frontman studied to be a comic artist before forming the band and drew in between concerts. However, he didn’t have enough time to work on his drawings, so in The Umbrella Academy he acted as a scriptwriter, and his sketches were redrawn by Gabriel Ba. By the way, Way had time to work with Marvel as well, he was the one who designed Penny Parker, the same Spider-Man girl controlling a fighting robot that we saw in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (hopefully he’ll get his well-deserved Oscar).
Unusual superheroes; interesting plot; good dialog; great casting; soundtrack
The cliffhanger in the finale is too straightforward
The Umbrella Academy movie meaning
Genre comic book series
Creator Steve Blackman
Starring Tom Hopper (#00.01 / Luther Hargreaves), David Castañeda (#00.02 / Diego Hargreaves), Emmy Raver-Lampman (#00.03 / Allison Hargreaves), Robert Sheehan (#00.04 / Klaus Hargreaves), Aidan Gallagher (#00.05 / Number Five), Justin X. Min (#00.06 / Ben Hargreaves), Ellen Page (#00.07 / Vanya Hargreaves), Colm Feore (Sir Reginald Hargreaves), Jordan Claire Robbins (Mama), Adam Godley (Pogo), Mary J. Blige (Cha-Cha), Cameron Britton (Hazel), and more.
Year of release 2019
Two have been released so far and the third volume of The Umbrella Academy is in progress. The first season of the Netflix series is based on the first volume, The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite, which saw six episodes from 2007-2008. However, the showrunner Steve Blackman, who worked on Fargo, Altered Carbon and Legion, has thoroughly reworked the source material, taking from it only the superhero team and their environment, but changing the time of the action, the setting, the main villain, adding several storylines and a lot of interesting details. And it went The Umbrella Academy only for the good.
So, on the same day, forty-three babies are born in different parts of the Earth. The problem is that their mothers weren’t even pregnant the day before. Eccentric billionaire Sir Reginald Hargreaves adopts seven of these children and creates the Umbrella Academy, an educational institution and team made up of his charges, who, of course, turn out to be superheroes. Young talents help the police to catch criminals, but Sir Reginald prepares them for something more important – in the future they must save the world.
Many years pass. The superhero kids are long grown up, having left the Academy and their father’s home. The leader of the team, the First, has been on a mission on the moon for several years. The Second works part-time as a janitor at a boxing club and fights crime at night. The Third has become a movie star and is worried about her failed marriage and separation from her daughter. Number Four has become a drug addict. Number Five disappeared after making a time jump. Number Six died, but that’s inaccurate. Seven wrote a book about the Hargreaves family’s life and had a falling out with her siblings, however, she never had superhero powers.
All of the former students of Umbrella Academy reunite at their father’s house for a very sad reason… however, it quickly becomes apparent that they have bigger problems ahead of them in the near future, which they must solve together by becoming a family and a team again.
However, despite the global threat hanging over the Hargreaves family and planet Earth, the members of the Umbrella Academy are in no hurry to pay attention to it, minding their own business. Each of them is unhappy in their own way, including because of their skills (or lack thereof), and because of their relationship with their father, whom most of them sincerely hate. However, one of the “children”, the never grown Fifth, does not give up – he is obsessed with the idea of saving the Earth, even though his brothers and sisters do not believe his prophecies.
It’s almost impossible to tell about The Umbrella Academy without spoilers, so we’ll stop at this brief description of the plot of the series to let you enjoy the story, which is actually quite good.
The Umbrella Academy impresses first of all with its interesting characters. All members of the Academy have very unusual abilities, which are radically different from those we are used to from other comics. For example, the Fourth can communicate with the spirits of the dead. Six, who is dead, can summon chthonic monsters from subspace. The Third can spread rumors that become reality. Fifth – to travel through space and time. The other members of the team have skills a little more prosaic, but there are other secrets.
Interesting and minor characters of the series. For example, an intelligent upright chimpanzee Pogo, the assistant of Sir Reginald Hargreaves, or Mama, who is also not quite human. Pogo is the best realization of a human-animal in the movies to date, considering even what was shown in War for the Planet of the Apes. And expanding Mama’s role is one of the best decisions the show’s creators have made.
The Umbrella Academy is a series about family and finding yourself, although there are a few action episodes and even a couple fights. The emphasis is on dialog and the relationship between the Hargreaves siblings. And the dialogs here are really good, especially those involving Fourth or Fifth. In general, whoever chose Robert Sheehan and Aidan Gallagher for these roles is a casting genius. Especially impressive is the work of fourteen-year-old Gallagher, who had to play a sixty-year-old arrogant, acrimonious, boastful of his intellect old man, trapped in the body of a child. That is to play not just on a par with adult actors, but looking down on them as unintelligent children. Gallagher flawlessly coped with this role.
Well, it looks like Netflix will indeed manage to painlessly survive the breakup with Marvel (in fact, only The Punisher is a pity). Netflix’s business operations are Netflix’s business, though; it’s good to see the competition between streaming services giving us great series like The Umbrella Academy. If you haven’t watched the first season yet, it’s highly recommended.
The Umbrella Academy is a very unusual superhero series, and it’s even better than the underlying comic book series