Title: The Umbrella Academy – Season 3 (2022)
Created by: Steve Blackman (based on The Umbrella Academy by Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá)
Stars: Elliot Page, Tom Hopper, David Castañeda, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Robert Sheehan, Aidan Gallagher, Colm Feore
Spoiler Warning: This review might contain spoilers from the first two seasons of The Umbrella Academy.
I have a confession to make: Despite reviewing many films and series based on comic books, I hardly ever read comic books myself. And there have been quite a few discussions beginning with something like, “But that’s not what it is like in the comics!” But this lets me approach these new worlds with a fresh perspective, not hindered by preconceptions about how they should or should not be. But The Umbrella Academy inspires me to change this way of approaching these adaptations.
I first heard about The Umbrella Academy at a ComicCon from a couple of cosplayers dressed in blue suits, creepy-looking cartoon character masks and carrying black briefcases. I had no idea what they were supposed to be, but they looked crazy, so I logged into Netflix later that day to check it out. And I was blown away! Driven by a fantastic cast of characters, The Umbrella Academy manages to blend superheroes, time travel, dark humor and excessive violence into an excellent whole. And with every season, the show gets better.
Based on the comic books by Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá, The Umbrella Academy follows a group of superpowered siblings that happened to be born by different mothers at the same exact moment. This was unusual because these women were not pregnant at the start of the day. The children were adopted by the mysterious and secretive Reginald Hargreeves (played by Colm Feore) and taken to his estate, the Umbrella Academy, to be trained as superheroes.
Two seasons later, after escaping Swedish assassins and stopping an apocalypse, the siblings from the Umbrella Academy now stand face to face with their twins from an alternate dimension, the Sparrow Academy. Moreover, the excessive use of time travel and teleportation by Number Five (played by Aidan Gallagher) landed them straight into a “grandfather paradox,” one that spawned a singularity that would consume the universe. No stress!
Fun fact: A grandfather paradox is a logical problem that could arise if a person was to travel back in time. The name comes from the idea that if this person were to kill his own grandfather in this past time before he had children, it would make the birth of the time traveler impossible, hindering him from going back in time to kill his grandfather. It would make a paradox with no end, beginning, or solution.
The Umbrella siblings soon find themselves kicked out of what they believed to be their own home, forcing Vanya (played by Elliot Page), Luther (played by Tom Hopper), Diego (played by David Castañeda, Allison (played by Emmy Raver-Lampman), Klaus (played by Robert Sheehan) and Number Five to seek shelter in the strange Hotel Oblivion. Here they check into various rooms but soon discover that the hotel hides secrets that might have more to do with the siblings and their strange foster father than they realize. Meanwhile, the singularity, or “Kugelblitz,” spawned into the basement of the Umbrella/Sparrow estate, consumes more and more of the universe. It’s time to stop the apocalypse. Again.
So what makes The Umbrella Academy stand out compared to the constant deluge of superhero content we see every year? It’s easy, really, and I can say it no plainer than this: The Umbrella Academy has great characters you care for with stories that matter.
Watching The Umbrella Academy, I can honestly say that I was very invested in what was happening with the characters. Despite super powers and time travel, the members of the Umbrella Academy make up a dysfunctional family I think many of us can relate to and feels more “real” than most of what certain other superhero franchises manages to come up with. This has to do with some excellent casting, of course, resulting in an ensemble of characters it is easy to fall in love with. Do I have any favorites? That’s a difficult one to answer, but Klaus with his complicated relationship with death and Number Five, the old sociopath trapped in a kid’s body due to some freak time-travel shenanigans, might be my two favorites if pressed for an answer.
With its enormous personal and universal stakes, this third season of The Umbrella Academy is also the most emotionally heavy in the series. But the emotional gut-punch this season often feels like is also tempered by some great humor. It never feels cheap or out of place; no forced setups with or expected punchlines.
The third season of The Umbrella Academy is an outstanding continuation of the story. The show is as mad as ever, blending fantastic characters, a great story and dark humor into a near-perfect whole. I couldn’t have asked for more from a third season of what is quickly on its way to becoming my favorite show in streaming.
And I’ve just placed an order for the volume 1-3 of the comic books.
Season 3 of The Umbrella Academy comes to Netflix on the 22nd of June.