“Umbrella Academy”: A Messed up Family Trying to Save a Worse World

The Umbrella Academy.” IMDb, IMDb.com, 15 Feb. 2019, www.imdb.com/title/tt1312171/.

The Umbrella Academy.” IMDb, IMDb.com, 15 Feb. 2019, www.imdb.com/title/tt1312171/.

Alise Sousa

The show Umbrella Academy, a Netflix adaption of the comic by Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba, puts a new spin on the superhero genre.  Instead of focusing on the old trope of superheroes seeking balance between the two sides of their lives, the creators of Umbrella Academy, so far, seem to throw away that idea completely.  Instead they choose to focus on the emotional and psychological trauma that these seven adoptive siblings have faced due to being raised as a team of “super-heroes” by a cold, distant, and calculating eccentric billionaire, as well as the aftermath of using their own creepy abilities.

The viewer gains a greater understanding of each character as the perspective switches among them. Each change in perspective reveals new elements to the plot, insights into each character, and develops them further; without making the flow of the story feel unnatural or confusing. Considering its ambitious plot this is quite a difficult feat.

The Umbrella Academy is about group six of super-powered adults, some of the forty-three children born on the same day in 1989 to women who had not been pregnant previously that day. They were bought by the eccentric billionaire Sir Reginald Hargreeves, who not so much raised as rather trained them to be a crime-fighting unit. Sir Reginald only referred to them by number, leaving the more sentimental part of child rearing, including the responsibility of giving them names, to their adoptive ‘Mom’ and monkey butler Pogo.

Fast forward several years, and the siblings are forced to reunite for their distant father’s funeral. Number Five, who had gone missing seventeen years earlier, arrives with dramatic flash through a portal from the future claiming that the world will end in eight days and that he doesn’t know what will cause it. Here’s where the plot gets tricky and requires an expert presentation.  The story constantly switches between flashbacks, the present, and flash-forwards as each character arc is explored.  each character is instantaneously lovable despite their serious flaws, which we find more of every episode along with the sympathetic reasons behind those faults.

The entire feel of the story is reminiscent of both X-Men and Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events.  So, if you’re a fan of superheroes, Sci-fi, mysteries, or dark dramatic stories about dysfunctional families, it’s worth checking out Umbrella Academy on Netflix.