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Umbrella Academy review - Dope or Nope?

Updated: May 28, 2021

“A group of superheroes band together to work towards stopping the end of the world”-if this sounds familiar and overdone to you, you might feel like The Umbrella Academy couldn’t hold your interest. However, the show takes this overused and clichéd formula, and injects a weird and quirky tone to give a fresh and exciting story.

The show is based on the comic book by Gerard Way (My Chemical Romance’s frontman). On the same day in October 1989, 43 children were born to women all over the world, none of whom had been pregnant when the day started. Seven of the children were adopted by Reginald Hargreeves, the “world’s most eccentric and reclusive billionaire,” who trains them to become a team of crime-fighting superheroes who have their own superpowers. They are attended to by a robot mother named Grace, and a chimpanzee named Pogo.

However, The Umbrella Academy wisely doesn’t waste time on the past superhero aspect of the characters. It instead chooses to show the grown up Hargreeves family, each facing their own issues due to their powers and between themselves, now brought together after many years due to the death of their father. The plot sets off when the long since disappeared “Number Five” time travels to the funeral and warns of an impending apocalypse.

Superhero stories have become an overpopulated genre of evil villains, overpowered and one-dimensional protagonists, and are more often than not accompanied by a dark and depressing backdrop. The Umbrella Academy avoids these pitfalls to give a refreshing new take on superheroes. It focuses on the dynamics between the far from perfect Hargreeves family members as well as the impacts of their past superhero life, which is poignantly experienced in a unique way by each of the seven. The characters don’t rely much on their powers, which while being unexpected, works wonderfully well with the story.

The show is unapologetically weird and has fun with its characters as well as its plot. Number 4 / Klaus (Robert Sheehan) and Number 5 (Aidan Gallagher) have arguably the strongest performances and most memorable scenes of the series. Not everything is explained right away which adds some element of mystery. The plot becomes increasingly complex towards the end. However, it is well paced and keeps your attention for the most part.

The brilliant pop soundtrack also only adds to the unpredictability of the show. While the stakes are always getting higher, the script focuses on each character coming to terms with themselves and growing closer as a family. It takes bold and unexpected turns while ensuring both humour and drama have their moments to shine.

To sum up- The Umbrella Academy is extremely entertaining. It looks great, has interesting characters, an unconventional setting and a tone that gives it an edge above the rest. This dysfunctional family and their bonkers yet stylish adventures are undeniably worth a watch.

If you haven't seen the trailer for Umbrella Academy, check it out below-

- Annapoorna Narayan, writer for TheLucidLlama

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