Bright adaptation of an excellent comic book with the most non-standard story of superheroes, lively characters and irony over all the templates of the genre is the reason to watch The Umbrella Academy.
Even the most inattentive viewer who does not follow fashion trends in films and TV shows will notice that we live in an era of stories about superheroes. Marvel Studio produces three films a year and the same number of TV shows. DC is doing its best to catch up with it and has already launched its own streaming service, and The CW channel is expanding its “Universe of Arrows”.
Of course, this inevitably led to a glut of the market. And from some point on, the authors of new projects began to submit each of their films or series as “a non-standard comic that ruins the idea of …”. But in reality, only one series has been able to really do something unusual so far – “Umbrella Academy”. And there are several confirmations to this.
A Very Unusual Comic
Most of these films and series are shot on the comics of Marvel and DC – the two largest studios. But “Umbrella Academy” is an original author’s project, unlike the others.
This comic was created by Gerard Way, better known as the vocalist of My Chemical Romance . And the unusual personality of the author is clearly manifested in his works. The fact is that at the time of writing Umbrella Academy, comics for Way were no longer the main work, but simply a way of self-expression.
And so the story of an unusual family of superheroes was born, which saves the world, but cannot establish communication with each other. In the story of seven children, suddenly born to women who were not pregnant, the eccentric millionaire Reginald Hagrivs once gathered and raised. Each of the heroes had their own superpower, and the mentor from childhood insisted that someday they would have to save the world.
That’s just the upbringing of the “father” was very severe – he did not even give the wards names, calling them by serial numbers. And over time, the children began to hate him, believing that Hagrivs ruined his life. Again they came together only at his funeral. And they also learned that the world is really on the verge of an apocalypse and the Umbrella Academy should prevent a catastrophe.
Way’s story was crazy in everything: starting with the unusual powers of these very heroes (for example, Rumor could change reality by spreading gossip, and Cosmoboy’s head was transplanted to a gorilla’s body) and ending with the world around them, where aliens, zombies and ring fights with giant octopuses looked normal.
But the creator of the series, Steve Blackman, managed to do the almost impossible: he brought everything happening closer to our reality, while preserving the entire depth of history. And it only benefited her.
Touching Family Story
So, the main plot of the series repeats the first volume of comics: the characters are going to the funeral of his father. From a long-lost team member, they learn that the world will end soon and only the Umbrella Academy can prevent this. But there is one problem: the guys do not know who or what caused the apocalypse.
In general, the plot reminds many superhero stories, and the beginning of the first series seems to hint that these strange people will continue to fight with some kind of universal evil and constantly argue with each other. But by the end of the episode, it becomes clear that the Umbrella Academy is completely different.
If we compare the series with popular projects of recent times, then it is much closer to last year’s hit “ Ghosts of a House on a Hill ” than to any “Titans”. First of all, the viewer is shown the story of people who grew up but could neither find their place in the world nor forgive their crippled childhood for their father.
It seems that they humbled themselves and even forgot about the traumas of the past, but returning to the parental home opens old wounds and complexes. And instead of saving the world together, the heroes are torn apart.
The Umbrella Academy is not about superheroes, but about children on whom the parents had too high hopes, forgetting to ask the opinion of the child himself. About children from large families who were forgotten to wish good night, and all upbringing remained with grandmothers and other relatives – it is no coincidence that members of the Academy had a robot instead of a mother.
These Are Bright And Unusual characters
It would seem that the history of rogue superpowers now does not surprise anyone. Every second film comic book hero, starting with Spider-Man, goes from a loser to a popularly beloved alter ego. But “Umbrella Academy” and it turns inside out. In the world of the series, the team of super children was loved from the very beginning: comics wrote about them, they made their figures, and crowds of fans were waiting for their autograph.
All but Number Seven – Vani (Ellen Page). And all because she did not have any abilities. In contrast to the plots where the heroes suffer from their unusual qualities, the authors show a situation where the worst thing is to be an ordinary person.
This echoes very well with modern society, where everyone is trying to prove that he is not like the others. Or with those families where there is a child prodigy, there is a tomboy pet, but there is just a child who is forgotten. And Vanya is an ordinary girl who has lived her whole life in the shadow of her gifted brothers and sisters.
And the only thing she decided on was to write a book about it, for which all her relatives hated it. This moment, by the way, again echoes the “Ghosts of the House on the Hill”, where there was a similar situation.
The remaining characters are also no less curious. Perhaps the two simplest are Number One and Number Two – Luther (Tom Hopper) and Diego (David Castañeda). Two opposing leaders, each of whom is not used to giving in. At the same time, one is still sure that his father was doing the right thing, and the other is tenderly attached to his mother.
Number Three – Allison (Emmy Rever-Lampman) – seems to have achieved everything she wanted in life. But she did not find happiness, because all this was dishonest. For the comedic component, Number Four is responsible – Klaus. He is played by Robert Sheehan, and at first, it seems that he simply returned to his role from the famous “Garbage”. He again balances on the verge of charming and disgusting, turning any situation into a farce.
But here’s what’s interesting: this time, his hero has an explanation for such actions. In The Dregs, he seemed like an ordinary idiot. Here you can see that for a guy this is the only way not to go crazy with horror. And from the middle of the story, Klaus surprisingly becomes the character who wants to sympathize with most.
And separately you need to highlight Number Five. Fifteen-year-old actor Aidan Gallagher simply unmatched plays an elderly seasoned killer stuck in the body of a child. It is both fun and touching.
This is The Irony of Patterns and The Breaking of Stereotypes
Of course, putting such heroes in a standard-setting would not make any sense. And so even the plot is unusual here. As they once said about the graphic novel by Alan Moore “The Keepers ” (and then about the film adaptation from Zach Snyder): “This is a comic strip for those who don’t read comics.”
Similarly, Umbrella Academy can be called a superhero series for those who do not like superhero series. After all, here they manage to destroy all possible patterns.
And the point is not only that, in the likeness of the same “Guardians”, the viewer is shown that the opposites are not attracted, but constantly argue and scandal. And it’s not that the villains here sometimes look more touching than the heroes (and this is indeed so).
An important idea of the Umbrella Academy is that, as soon as it begins to seem as if the authors are using some kind of standard, they will directly speak about this from the screen. And, perhaps, they will even joke on this subject. The indispensable idea that superpowers do not help heroes solve problems at all is also explicitly provided by the authors.
There is even a great irony on the subject of perpetual accusations towards Netflix about delaying the timing of the series – one episode literally does not give anything for the plot. And in this series, an amazing love line. Absolutely not the one that all viewers will expect, and therefore the most sincere and emotional.
But destroying the patterns here does not look malicious. This is not a tough sarcasm over the comics that DC Doomsday Patrol looks like with a similar plot, but a completely different morality. The Umbrella Academy is an independent story. She will find feedback from fans of superhero series, and from those who are looking for a real-life drama about ordinary people who only after years could release their childhood and begin to live for real.
You can also read: