The long-awaited season two of Netflix’s original series, “The Umbrella Academy,” was finally released 18 months after its first season aired. I enjoyed the first season so much that I’ve seen it three times, and its sequel did not disappoint. “The Umbrella Academy” stars a group of super-powered siblings whose childhood of fighting crime has left them scarred and dysfunctional. While still having to deal with their own problems, as well as dealing with each other, the siblings find themselves scrambling to stop the world from ending in fiery apocalypses. With a lively soundtrack, stunning fight sequences and interesting characters, “The Umbrella Academy” is easily one of Netflix’s best endeavors.
A major strength of “The Umbrella Academy” is its ability to handle multiple characters and their side adventures, as well as the main plotline. Season two sees the siblings temporally displaced in the 1960s in Dallas, Texas, only days away from President John F Kennedy’s assassination and, inexplicably, a nuclear holocaust. They have to figure out what triggers the apocalypse while managing the lives they’ve created for themselves in Texas. The subplots in “The Umbrella Academy,” such as one of the characters joining the Civil Rights Movement and another living on a farm with amnesia, are so compelling that they don’t even pale in comparison to the apocalypse plot line.
The main allure of this Netflix Original, however, lies in its characters. The protagonists are five young adults, one middle-aged man trapped in a teenager’s body and one ghost who were all adopted as children by the same billionaire, Reginald Hargeeves, due to their peculiar births and subsequent abilities. They all have a unique personality with their own flaws and goals, and every single one of them is a joy to watch on screen. The only thing better than watching them exist on their own is seeing them banter with each other. “The Umbrella Academy” also does a good job of fleshing out its antagonists, who are always interesting and sometimes endearing.
The show’s soundtrack is one of the most notable things about it — both seasons expertly used music to actually add to the story and characters, not just to fill the silence. The song selections make perfect sense for every scene, whether it’s a lively brawl or an acid trip. With almost every action scene having a song playing, fight scenes are fun and energetic, and the beats of the music tend to match the punches of the fight. The music also varies greatly, genre-wise, from classic rock to Frank Sinatra to the Backstreet Boys. The first episode of season two has a lot of songs, to the point that it’s arguably excessive, but the following episodes have a much more manageable amount.
Overall, “The Umbrella Academy” is a refreshing take on the superhero genre, focusing heavily on character exploration and development while still having a strong storyline. The series is witty, riveting and a must-watch for anyone with a Netflix subscription.
By: Sarah Monson, Print Editor-in-Chief