Netflix’s original superhero series, The Umbrella Academy introduced fans to a dysfunctional group of estranged siblings — all boasting unique abilities and harboring deep-seated childhood traumas. The narrative takes flight when their father (a billionaire industrialist who adopted all seven supers via monetary compensation) mysteriously dies; they are forced to band together (quite reluctantly) to discover what happened to him and prevent an imminent apocalypse from ending humankind.
The Netflix original, based on Gerard Way’s comic book series by the same name, had several pros worth noting. From the intricately woven interpersonal relationships to the talented cast and emotionally stirring, yet often quite darkly comic, thematic undertones, the series managed to snag a 77% critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
The show was original in its approach to the superhero genre; straying from familiar Marvel and D.C. tropes, the leads were not heroic in nature, and the comedy was not aimed at asserting physical superiority (i.e. “I’m the stronger super”). While we can praise this show for its various benefits, fans note one drawback that took away from the show, minimizing the chance it had at reaching masterpiece level.
Where the Netflix original ‘The Umbrella Academy’ went wrong
Though the idea was all there — and the character all did their part — the narrative execution was a bit of a letdown. Why? One word: predictability. Many feel that The Umbrella Academy too blatantly laid bare its grand twist-ending.
*Season one spoilers ahead*
By the end of The Umbrella Academy, we discover that Vanya had powers all along and that she is the catalyst to the apocalypse. All the best endings can be described as such: surprising, yet inevitable. Unfortunately for The Umbrella Academy, it only managed to stick the landing when it came to the latter attribute. One fan noted:
It was pretty highly predictable still enjoyable but some actual surprises would take it to another level.
Another fan of the show chimed in to express their concerns for the upcoming season. Hoping season two doesn’t fall victim to the same downfall, the fan stated:
I hope they don’t do the cliché Vanya storyline again (with another character) it just sucks because everything is too predictable at a certain point.
Many fans of The Umbrella Academy felt that Vanya’s entire storyline, including her relationship with Leonard, was foreshadowed to such a blatant extent, that the series left no room for other narrative possibilities. One fan stated, “it’s really heavy handed and obvious, I hope they can improve on it some.”
The Umbrella Academy may have been a success in many areas, which is why it deserves the praise it received; however, the showrunners will have to work alongside Gerard Way to ensure that the upcoming seasons leaves more to the imagination, and keeps fans guessing just a little longer. As soon as we discovered Vanya was on pills for her anxiety, the fallout of the season became clear.
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