Critics didn’t rain on The Umbrella Academy’s parade

Marisa Silverman, Back Page Editor

One day, 30 years ago, 43 infants were born to mothers who weren’t pregnant the day before. Sir Reginald Hargreeves, an eccentric, reclusive, billionaire-inventor, adopts seven of them. The kids, numbered one through seven, make up the titular The Umbrella Academy.

Six of the children, Luther/Number One (Tom Hopper), Diego/Number Two (David Castañeda), Allison/Number Three (Emmy Raver-Lampman), Klaus/Number Four (Robert Sheehan), Number Five (Aidan Gallagher), and Ben/Number Six (Justin H. Min) develop superhuman abilities and begin to fight crime as children, leaving Vanya/Number Seven (Ellen Page), seemingly powerless, isolated and alone.

Now, in present day, the Academy reconvenes to mourn their recently deceased father and to find his killer, only to have Number Five, who disappeared as a teenager, reappear with startling news.

The Umbrella Academy has a star-studded cast, including Page (Juno), Gallagher (Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn), Sheehan (Misfits), and Mary J. Blige (The Help), that help make it worthy of its 76 percent fresh rating by Rotten Tomatoes.

With abilities like super strength, reality manipulation, being able to speak to the dead, and being able to turn into a giant octopus-like monster, The Umbrella Academy is certainly nothing we’ve ever seen before. “There were really interesting powers that weren’t very conventional,” freshman Leo Hertzler said.

Based off the comic books of the same name by Gerard Way of the band My Chemical Romance, The Umbrella Academy takes all of the elements of superhero TV shows and puts a darkly-comedic twist on them. “The Umbrella Academy was different from other superhero movies that I watched,” senior Ting Hua Hsu said.

With 10 fast-paced episodes and a cliff-hanger ending, The Umbrella Academy will keep you hitting “next episode” again and again. “Every episode ended with a cliff-hanger that kept me on my toes and I finished the entire series in 24 hours,” Hsu said.

Every episode was a surprise, even if you read all the episode descriptions before you begin, the emotions between the siblings felt organic, and characters that began as flat became those that have the most heart-achingly emotional moments. “I like The Umbrella Academy because it is full of action, plot twists and drama. It has a clever plot and amazing actors,” junior Or Goldshtein said.

The not-quite-antagonists are assassins Hazel and Cha-Cha, who begin the show trying to kill Number Five, and are surprisingly lovable. Even though no one wants them to succeed in their mission, they do make viewers want to see them win something.

The soundtrack makes the show, featuring two covers by Gerard Way of “Happy Together,” originally by the Turtles, and “Hazy Shade of Winter,” originally recorded by Simon & Garfunkel. The show opens to Vanya playing a medley of songs from the hit musical Phantom of the Opera and the first episode features a scene of Luther, Diego, Allison, Klaus and Vanya dancing to Tiffany’s “I Think We’re Alone Now” that is sure to become iconic.

Other highlights include fight scenes to “Istanbul (Not Constantinople)” by They Might Be Giants and “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen, and “Barracuda” by Heart playing behind the lead up to the final scenes. Using music in a way similar to Deadpool, The Umbrella Academy eases the tension that usually accompanies shows with such a high level of violence by using 1980s pop. Even though episodes can be a full hour, The Umbrella Academy will make the time fly and make it well worth a watch (or two!)