Right Back Where We Started – | Review Score – 4/5
The Frankel Footage – | Review Score – 4/5
The Swedish Job – | Review Score – 4/5
The Majestic 12 – | Review Score – 4.5/5
Valhalla – | Review Score – 3.5/5
A Light Supper – | Review Score – 4/5
Oga For Oga – | Review Score – 3.5/5
The Seven Stages – | Review Score – 4/5
743 – | Review Score – 4.5/5
The End Of Something – | Review Score – 4.5/5
In a year that’s brought so many good shows already, The Umbrella Academy Season 2 puts up a good fight but falls just short of being considered one of the best this year. With a timeline distorting, twisty-turning story that sees our characters facing a brand new apocalypse, Umbrella Academy adds more wit, more surprises and more action to 10 well-written episodes. However, there’s also a constant feel of deja vu as The Academy tread well-worn ground.
After the events last year, The Umbrella Academy picks up moments after the group travel through time. Avoiding the meteor hurtling down to Earth, our six heroes find themselves scattered around 1960-1963. Early on, the season sees each of our heroes given their own story arc while Five scrambles to collect them all up and stop a brand new apocalypse from destroying the timeline again.
These early episodes are complicated further by rumblings in The Commission and a new threat touching down in the form of three murderous Swedes stalking “Team Zero.” As the story progresses, the threat is raised further as Doomsday approaches and our characters start to converge together into a single, cohesive narrative.
I won’t spoil anything here but the last two episodes nicely tie everything to the first season and there’s some great nods toward that one that help to give more background and insight over burning questions fans had. Netflix did accompany these early screeners with a pretty heavy list of things we can’t talk about, but suffice to say fans should be happy with some of the twists included here.
This unpredictability continues right the way through to the ending, and in particular the final moments of the season. We’ll have more to say about that in our finale recap but suffice to say you won’t want to miss it.
While all the characters have some fun and quirky angles, Vanya continues to be the weak link in the puzzle. A lot of her story revolves around hanging out on a farm with amnesia. It’s a cliched idea and something we’ve seen numerous times before in this genre. Given the creativity that’s gone into this season, it’s disappointing to see such a bland idea thrown into the fold for her.
By comparison, a lot of the other Umbrella Academy members find themselves forced to make a new life for themselves in the 60’s. Uncovering exactly what’s happened across a 3 year time-span is great fun and helps to make the jumps a really welcome inclusion. Given what we saw last season with Klaus and Ben, expect these two to have a much bigger impact on the story this time around and there’s some wonderfully poignant moments involving them both here.
Much like the first season, the music here is absolutely on fire. There’s some wonderful covers, including an excellent rendition to “Wicked Game” and a version of Billie Eilish’s “Bad Guy” that’s far superior to the original. Backstreet Boys even make an appearance too (Audibly that is, not in person.)
One of the bigger gripes some fans had last year came from the lack of action and The Umbrella Academy nips that right in the bud very early on. There’s a lot more fighting this time and some of it is accompanied by some gorgeous cinematography. Whether it be a one-shot take of Diego fighting in a hallway, smashing windows while the camera follows outside, or a rotating shot of Five fighting a formidable foe late on while Luther stands rooted to the spot, Umbrella Academy takes full advantage of its budget to produce some excellent action set-pieces.
The acting from those involved is as good as it was last time out but Aidan Gallagher and Robert Sheehan continue to steal the show. There’s some wickedly funny lines and gags injected into this series and some genuine laugh out loud moments. While funny, the show sometimes slips a little too far into comedic territory with the slapstick leaning in a little heavy on crudeness. It’s not a deal breaker but seeing fart jokes and a couple of sexual innuendos thrown into the fold feel a little ill-fitting given the context they’re included.
The Umbrella Academy Season 2 ups the ante, adds some great twists to the fold and backs that up with some impressive action set pieces. Sure, there’s a couple of McGuffins and a few obvious examples of deus ex machina here but some of this is actually foreshadowed throughout the season so it’s easy to look past.
Despite some cliched ideas for Vanya’s character and a couple of slower episodes, Netflix’s superhero series is still a winner and will almost certainly leaving you desperate for season 3.
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Verdict - 8.5/10