'The Umbrella Academy' S3 review: Elliot Page Netflix superhero series continues to shine
Drama, dance numbers, and a boat load of dysfunction are back with a vengeance as The Umbrella Academy season 3 hits Netflix from 22 June.
Just back from a past jam-packed with conspiracy theories, world-altering assassinations and seriously unresolved family issues, things are definitely off-kilter. With all the family back together to face off against an eclectic mix of umbrella wannabes, episode one soon descends into carnage. These augmented pretenders battle our bruised and battered veterans in this audaciously inventive opening that combines slick visual effects, concise introductions and suitable amounts of trash talk.
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Viktor (Elliot Page), Luther (Tom Hopper), Diego (David Castaneda), Allison (Emmy Raver-Lampman), Klaus (Robert Sheehan) and Number Five (Aidan Gallagher) waste no time getting things off on the good foot.
Embracing adversity alongside diversity, the dynamics between this long suffering group of malcontents is not the only thing undergoing change.
In the past, a back catalogue of bad feeling and brooding ill will came to define this mismatched group of miscreants, who spent their time intentionally ignoring each other. With some capable of controlling free will through the spoken word (Allison), while others spent their time trapped in adolescence burdened with an old soul (Five) — this show has never been conventional.
Each season — created and ushered into being by Steve Blackman — has been swift to separate our umbrella alumni from each other for plot purposes, even if the death of their father figure Reginald Hargreeves (Colm Feore) brought them together.
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Between the drug addled Klaus, forever haunted by the death of his brother Ben, through to Viktor who could only play a mean violin in the beginning, this hyper stylised adaptation of the Dark Horse comic by Gerard Way (My Chemical Romance) and Gabriel Ba has always been a ride.
With an abundance of attachment disorder, an entree of immaculate conception and one curmudgeonly billionaire recluse, The Umbrella Academy has been entertainingly defined by the flaws of those who live within it. That is something which carries on into this third run, as it opens at the end of season two, introducing The Sparrow Academy, a by-product of their time travelling shenanigans following a swift exit from Dallas circa 1963.
What follows is a season where an impending apocalypse is not the only talking point our umbrella alumni can muster. Allison and Viktor bond, Luther gets handed his arse early on before Sloane (Genesis Rodriguez) steals his heart - while Five gets a new ally. Not to mention the fact that Diego encounters a serious amount of accountability, meaning that in one way or another everyone grows as a person.
As fans of the show would expect there are fisticuffs and floor fillers, combined with slow motion stand offs and a cinematic hat tip to at least one famous Indiana Jones opening sequence. Alongside the tangible character progression and requisite time travel conundrums, this season of The Umbrella Academy also takes time out to welcome back some old friends.
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Familiar faces from previous seasons make an appearance, proving pivotal in solving the latest problem to face our battle-hardened bunch. From the opposing team of sparrows, stand outs include a retrofitted Ben Hargreeves (Justin H. Min), who many thought had bit the big one during that season 2 finale.
Alongside Alphonso (Jake Epstein) who proves especially problematic, as his gift allows him to reflect punishment back on his attacker, even if he needs an inhaler afterwards.
As self-appointed number one in waiting, Ben is ignorant of the back history which intrinsically links him to his umbrella opposition, while Alphonso proves to be a brains and brawn adversary with ample amounts of savvy to spare. Side by side these alternate versions of superpowered civilian justice tread a fine line between Titans and the old school Minute Men, with flashes of the X-Men and Watchmen combined.
However, beyond their cosmetic differences, this season is about blurring that distinction as these two surrogate families need to find their own way out of this particular pickle. A conceit which is easier to sell to audiences, when every member of the veterans hits a home run performance wise, embracing this opportunity to expand character arcs and employ nuance within their interactions.
It means that when events begin to escalate, in line with every other season featuring an apocalypse, this feels more like a family than it has for some time.
With considered narrative nods back to previous seasons, which neatly tie the room together, alongside Aidan Gallagher on consistently top-class form, The Umbrella Academy season 3 feels like the most cohesive addition to Netflix’s arsenal yet.
Season 3 of The Umbrella Academy is streaming on Netflix from 22 June. Recap the series below.