March 1st 2019
Today I marathon watched the rest of Gerard Way’s Umbrella Academy on Netflix. And I mention that it’s Gerard Way’s Umbrella Academy solely because for the first nine episodes I’d seen “Based on the comics by Gerard Way” in the opening credits of the show and thought “Hmm, I wonder if it’s that Gerard Way from My Chemical Romance”. Only during the last episode did I think to Google it and, yes, it is that Gerard Way from My Chemical Romance.
I don’t usually like films or TV about superheroes. I find them tiresome and overdone and generally think that if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all, even though you need to have watched something stupid like 19 films in order to understand what happens in The Avengers.
So with that in mind, I didn’t think I’d like Umbrella Academy as much as I did. Even though the general plot was much like all other superhero films I’ve seen (Spoiler: they have to work together to save the world) it was the way the show was filmed that made it binge-worthy.
The production on the fight sequences was insane. They employed a unique mix of location, music, and coordination to create fight scenes that weren’t like anything else. Sure, there was pithy dialogue mid-fight and punches for the sake of punches (they are all superheroes, after all) but they kind of took the piss out of that in and of themselves, so it worked.
This doesn’t spoil much, but there’s a big fight sequence in the last episode that takes place in a bowling alley. And the characters kind of acknowledge that there’s no real reason for them to be in that bowling alley, it was just clear that the neon lights made for a good aesthetic, and bowling balls made for good weapons.
So they just went with it, and you forgive them the fact that it doesn’t make a great deal of sense because the fights are entertaining and uniquely styled.
There was also a fight in a donut shop early on in the series. Because why not? And that worked too. And each fight is choreographed to completely bizarre music that, again, they somehow make work.
And when during another episode all of the characters break into a simultaneous dance routine, you kind of forgive its absurdity for similar reasons.
It was a brilliantly made show. The ending was somehow both ridiculous and obvious straight from the first episode, but it was more about just sitting back and enjoying the spectacle than anything else.
Until tomorrow, it delivered on that.