The Umbrella Academy: A Review!

The Umbrella Academy is the latest attempt by Netflix is make its mark on the superhero genre. Having been adapted from graphic novels, Umbrella Academy is a dark, yet comical spoof/twist of the more popular superhero stories. If I told you about a creepy, rich, and eccentric old man who collects children with superpowers, you might think of Prof Charles Xavier, but in this case, you would be wrong.

Whether you’ve seen Umbrella Academy yet or haven’t even heard of it, this review will contain a spoiler-free and a spoiler-full section, so you don’t need to worry about the show being ruined. Let’s dive right in!

Spoiler-Free

The Umbrella Academy

image via AltPress

One of the major selling points of The Umbrella Academy is undoubtedly the cast. Many of the characters are blatant caricatures of common superhero tropes e.g. the big tough guy who is essentially a naïve and stunted man-child with the emotional understanding of a toothbrush. At first, this gives them the appearance of ‘just another superhero show’ with little to no imagination. As the story progresses, we get to see each and every character develop, and the actors do a tremendous job of showing this evolution.

I have to raise my hand in salute to Aidan Gallagher who plays number 5. I think he’s only 15, but his acting ability is just incredible. Some may disagree with me, but I view him as the star of the show. Others are great as well: Robert Sheehan, who plays Klaus, is always fun to watch. If you’ve ever seen Misfits, which I believe is also on Netflix now but originated on the UK’s Channel 4, then you’re basically watching Nathan with an American accent. The rest of the cast includes Tom Hopper, David Castandea, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Mary J. Blige, Adam Godley, Colm Feore, and Cameron Britton.

The only actor I really had an issue with is Ellen Page. She stars as number 7 A.K.A. Vanya. It’s hard to tell whether it was Page’s acting or the character herself that I’m not really a fan of. I’ve never been a huge fan of her work, even in similar roles such as Kitty Price in the X-Men franchise.

The plot is weird, but in a good way. There are twists and turns here and there to keep you on your toes, and random moments of comedy hidden away within intense fight scenes work incredibly well. I found myself on the edge of my seat while also laughing out loud on a number of occasions. The show doesn’t take itself seriously at all, but that’s something we need. It’s got a sort of Deadpool vibe to it, but in a more successful way. Each episode is jammed full of goofiness, emotion, science fiction, intensity, and a range of other words that people would use to describe a dark, but funny superhero show.

My advice would be to give it at least 2 episodes. The first episode doesn’t do a great job of represting the rest of the season.

Spoiler-Full

The Umbrella Academy

image via WhatCulture

It’s difficult to discuss The Umbrella Academy without mentioning any spoilers as some of the content is just too good to not discuss. Don’t read any further if you haven’t watched the show yet, it will ruin the experience.

Number 5

The Umbrella Academy

image via The Express

I already mentioned this in the ‘spoiler-free’ section, but I need to bring it up again. Aidan Gallagher’s performance in The Umbrella Academy is just incredible. As you’ll be aware, number 5 accidentally travels to the future where he discovers that the world has ended. The problem is, he can’t travel back. He ends up trapped there for 30-odd years (I believe), until he is recruited by an agency that works to keep things “according to plan” and uninterrupted by time travelling beings.

When we first see number 5 in the present day, he has just travelled back after deciding not to assassinate JFK. The gun he leaves in the past is a rather funny nod to the “conspiracy theory” that there was a 2nd shooter. Yet the amazing thing about 5 is that he’s an older man trapped in a child’s body. This is something I totally believed, thanks to Gallagher’s performance. The way he talks about theories, physics, time-travel, and just his general attitude towards the petty troubles of his family really came across as maturity and immaturity combine within one man/boy.

Klaus

The Umbrella Academy

image via Uproxx

Of course, when we’re talking about interesting characters, it’s impossible not to mention Klaus, played by Robert Sheehan. At the start of The Umbrella Academy, I felt that Klaus was just going to be an American Nathan (Misfits), and in many ways he is. His “fuck it” attitude to life and those around him is incredibly comical within such a show. His need to be high all the time just seems like the attitude of a junkie, and when you learn that his power involves communicating with the dead, you sort of understand what led him down that path.

However, the truth of Klaus’s backstory is much, much darker. I mean Jesus Fucking Christ! To start with, you learn that his dad used to lock him in mortuaries for hours at a time, with no light, no food, and no way out. Klaus would have spirits screaming at him: white eyed, pale faced, and creepy as fuck! This is when he was just a child as well. We get brief glimpses of this whenever he starts to sober up.

However, after being kidnapped by Hazel and Cha-Cha, where ‘s tortured and eventually learns to talk to spirits in a manner that benefits both them and him, Klaus’s story takes a crazy turn. He accidentally travels to the 60s and ends up fighting in the Vietnam war for a year. Here, he falls in love, and watches his partner get shot in the chest and die, right in front of him. The way this sub-plot unfolded was brutal, and you really began to feel that Klaus has every right to be completely fucked up. I mean all of the kids do, but him especially.

The Plot

The Umbrella Academy

image via The Express

I’m not going to talk too much about the plot. You’ve seen it, I’ve seen it, so what would be the point? What I will say, is that while being somewhat predictable and a little cliched, The Umbrella Academy manages to keep you entertained and intrigued. I said from episode 1 that Vanya would have stupidly crazy power and would be the one to destroy the world. That doesn’t make the journey to that point any less interesting.

The use of time travel in order to mix things up works really well. We get to see certain characters make crazy discoveries or developments, only for it all to be undone by the time-travelling number 5. This is an element that I hope they use in the next season, which I’m 100% sure they’ll greenlight any day now.

There are some super whacky moments within the show that sometimes feel a bit misplaced, but actually work to break the tension up a bit. For example, when Hazel and Cha-Cha accidentally eat Klaus’s weed chocolate, they end up burning down a building while dancing to music. It’s absolutely ridiculous but you just laugh and say, “what the fuck?”

As I already mentioned, The Umbrella Academy doens’t take itself too seriously. We never question how Luthor (Tom Hooper) gets to the moon or survives there for 4 years. There’s a whole alien scene that is completely glossed over without any real explanation. Not to mention why “The Handler” (played by Kate Walsh) doesn’t use her time-stopping power, which in itself isn’t really explained, to simply take what she wants. The last one might be understandable since she does constantly talk about how all the cogs in the machine serve a purpose. Anyway, these “issues” aren’t really issues, they are just moments that the show doesn’t focus on. If it tried to explain everything, it would get over-complicated.

Criticisms

The Umbrella Academy

image via Variety

I do have the odd criticism here and there. The Umbrella Academy, in many ways, is a spoof of the superhero genre. Think of moments in Deadpool where he just makes fun of the clichés that happen in every superhero movie. The Umbrella Academy is sort of like that. Most of the time, they are funny, but some of the jokes are just a bit much.

Take Luther and Diego (David Castaneda) for example. They are both just examples of your typical superhero characters. Luther is the big brute whose sole purpose is to save the world. It’s his duty and gets priority above all else. He doesn’t live his life, he doesn’t grow up, and he can’t handle the idea that his “purpose” isn’t really his purpose. Diego is just the hot-headed vigilante who doesn’t play by the rules. Both are ultimately just testosterone-fuelled idiots who let their ego make most of their decisions. Sometimes this is funny, but when it ties in with the main plot too often, I found it a little dull.

Other than that, my only criticism is that season 2 isn’t already released and ready for me to watch!


Thanks for reading! What are you thoughts on The Umbrella Academy? Let me know down below! 

Don’t forget to follow me on here and on Twitter to stay up to date with my posts!

If you have anything to add or perhaps a suggestion for a future post, leave a comment!

Peace!

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Get your Politics Out of My Movies!

When I’d originally started this post, it was titled ‘Ghostbusters 3 is NOT a Feminist Issue!’ I was simply going to discuss why forcing politics of any kind onto a movie (when the movie itself isn’t political) doesn’t do anyone any favours: fanbase and creators included. However, I rather unfortunately found that one my favourite movie franchises has been invaded by the same political self-righteousness. So, I’ve been forced to tackle the entire reason that politics and movies shouldn’t be forced together. I’m going to start with Ghostbusters 3 and then go on to discuss Captain Marvel and the future of the MCU.

Back to Sequels and Reboots

Ghostbusters 3 and Captain Marvel

image via Science Fiction

I’m sick to death of having to discuss sequels and reboots. However, with Ghostbuster 3 being announced, I have to revisit the topic. I’ve said it once, but I’ll say it again: Ghostbusters should never have become political. Out of all the movies that have ever been made, why would anyone pick Ghostbusters as the target of anti-male propaganda? I’ve written on this topic rather extensively (unfortunately). So, if you want to know my opinions on the Ghostbusters reboot both before and after its release, then by all means click on the corresponding links. I wouldn’t encourage it though. This topic is already saturated beyond belief.

So, what has sparked me to write, once again, about the political issues surrounding the Ghostbusters franchise? Well, with the release of Ghostbusters 3 being announced, certain individuals feel that the movie carries anti-women sentiments, which is hilarious given how blatantly anti-male publicity was for the reboot. I’m going to summarise the issue before sharing my own view on the matter.

To cut a long story short: Ghostbusters is NOT a feminist issue. It never should have been in the first place, but it certainly isn’t now that we’ve moved away from the disgraceful 2016 reboot.

Ghostbusters (2016)

Ghostbusters 3 and Captain Marvel

image via Forbes

For any of you confused by the Ghostbusters franchise, here is a brief history: In 1984, the first Ghostbusters movie was released. In 1989, a sequel (imaginatively titled “Ghostbusters II) was released. In 2016, some genius decided to reboot the franchise. This reboot takes place in a separate universe from the originals i.e. the events of the original movies didn’t take place within the 2016 movie universe (that will be important in a moment). In 2020, a sequel to the second Ghostbusters movie (1989) will be released, likely starring most of the original cast and following on from the original stories. It’s likely to be a “passing of the torch” movie and will apparently star 2 males and 2 females as the new, young leads.

So, this brings us to Leslie Jones who starred in the 2016 reboot as Patty Tolan. Mrs Jones is apparently outraged and recently tweeted the following:

Ghostbuster-Reboot-Leslie-Jones-Reaction.jpg

For starters, why bring Trump into this? Suddenly, making a sequel (which as I’ve mentioned will have a 50/50 gender split anyway) to a movie about 4 men a “Trump move”? I understand that she’s trying to label the move sexist, but that brings us to our next issue. Why is it a “dick move” to make a sequel but it’s not a dick move to reboot the franchise, switch the gender of every character, and turn the movie into nothing more than a punch in the balls (quite literally, if you’ve seen the reboot)? Surely if anyone made a “dick move” it’s the people behind the all-female reboot, right?

Another aspect of Jones’ Tweet relates to the reboot not counting. She says, “We dint count”. Well, did the original cast not count when you made the 2016 movie? Secondly, the reboot was an absolute flop. You can attribute that to sexist white male misogynists if you like, but the truth of the matter is that the movie lost something like $70 million. Why the fuck would any sane person drag that shit show back for round 2? If you remove yourself from the original franchise, you can’t then be angry when the original franchise continues without you.

Ultimately…

Ghostbusters 3 and Captain Marvel

image via YouTube

What this all boils down to is nonsensical political outrage. These days, people will grasp hold of anything that allows them to feel and share outrage, at anyone, anything, or anywhere. It is a trend that is spreading like wildfire.

When researching aspects of this post, I ended up on the most weighted ScreenRant article ever, which opened with: “Ghostbusters: “Leslie Jones Is (Understandably) Mad There’s a New Reboot”, before going on to state “However, the 2016 reboot was plagued all through its production and marketing by certain folks who weren’t happy with a Ghostbusters movie starring all women.”

This sort of writing annoys me because the hate towards the reboot was NOT because it was an all-female cast. That was an aspect, a very minor aspect, but it wasn’t the fact that the cast was female, it was the fact that A) The movie was anti-male, B) The movie claimed to be some sort of feminist breakthrough and marketed itself as such, and C) Even from the trailers, it was clear that the movie was not going to do the originals justice. I can’t say this enough but Annihilation is one of my favourite movies to have come out in the last few years and it has an all-female cast. Yet people like Leslie Jones and others never raise that example when holding white men responsible for their piece of shit movies flopping!

Ghostbusters 3

Ghostbusters 3 and Captain Marvel

image via Geek Tyrant

When it comes to Ghostbusters 3, what are my thoughts? Well, I think it’s a mistake. But I think it’s a better idea that a reboot. Why? When it comes to reboots, particularly when handled like Ghostbusters, you essentially scrap the original story and replace it with a modern take. People don’t like to watch their favourite movies being recycled to suit a modern audience. Having recently re-watched the original Ghostbusters, Bill Murray portrays an incredibly sexist and inappropriate Dr Venkman. Men don’t watch that nowadays and think to themselves “ahhhh, so THAT’S how you get the woman!” Regardless, if you released a movie that glorified and laughed at such behaviour nowadays, it would be slated by certain groups.

Sequels can encounter a similar problem, but this usually relates to continuity. If you look at Star Wars or Jurassic World, the biggest issues they faced involved remaining true to the original movies. Another example would be Jumanji. Welcome to the Jungle is sort of a sequel and a reboot, but it manages to make the movie different enough that you don’t really compare it to the original, but it isn’t so different that you don’t feel a connection between the two.

I’d love to see the original Ghostbusters cast back on the big-screen, but unless the can find the right balance between the original and modern-day movies, then it’s going to fail.

Captain Marvel and Brie Larson

Ghostbusters 3 and Captain Marvel

image via Adventures in Poor Taste

Sadly, this bring me to Marvel. If you’ve read any of my other posts, you’ll find that I’ve written about Marvel more than anything else. I love discussing my hopes and concerns, my theories, and many other topics.

Prior to the release of the Captain Marvel trailer, I wasn’t that excited for the movie. Not because it’s a female character, not because I’m a sexist, misogynistic, pro-Trump, anti-LGBT demon, but simply because I don’t know the character. I wasn’t excited for many other MCU movies and ended up loving them e.g. Winter Soldier and Black Panther. Similarly, I was excited for other MCU movies and ended up having my expectations crushed e.g. Doctor Strange and Age of Ultron.

However, when the trailer was released, I found myself feeling more excited. The Skrull concept and being able to see a young Nick Fury in action seemed compelling. Not to mention that I’ve enjoyed Brie Larson in other movies, so I’ve always looked forward to seeing her performance within the MCU, even if I wasn’t all that excited about the movie itself.

Fuck the Fans!

Ghostbusters and Captain Marvel

image via YouTube

Fuck…I can’t even bring myself to write about this nonsense. So, Brie Larson made a speech at the Crystal + Lucy Awards. To sum it up: “if you’re a white male and like Marvel movies but don’t enjoy Captain Marvel, then fuck you!” Larson displayed a complete lack of understanding for how the world works. Apparently, the fact that 60% of movie reviewers are white males is evidence of the patriarchy controlling and manipulating female-led films to fail. Larson’s solution? Equality of outcome: she wants to force non-white movie reviewers into the review role, along with more white females, in order to balance things out.

This, of course, ignores the fact that ANYONE can review movies. Want to write a blog about movies? WordPress is free and easy to use. I happen to write reviews for my own blog and MovieBabble, a movie review site that takes on anyone who loves to write about movies. ANYONE can start a YouTube account and review movies, it’s free and easy to do. ANYONE can review on IMDB or Rotten Tomatoes, both of which are frequently referenced by people such as Mindy Kailing, Brie Larson, and others.

I’m not sure what percentage of MCU fans are white males, but I’d imagine that it’s a majority or at least close to it. According to one website, a survey carried out in 2018 found that males make up the majority of MCU viewers within the US. Now, it’s one thing to call out to fans of different demographics. If Larson has said “we need more women in these roles” or “we need more women to watch these movies” then there wouldn’t be an issue but saying that white male critics can essentially go fuck themselves, just alienates a large percentage of MCU fans who have enjoyed the franchise for A FUCKING DECADE prior to Larson’s appearance.

Is it really any surprise that the projected box office figures for Captain Marvel have already by dropped below 50% since the initial projections? People don’t want their favourite franchises (i.e. the MCU) being combined with the individual political ideological ramblings of one ill-informed individual (i.e. Brie Larson).

There is always a backlash to stuff like this, and we’re seeing it with Captain Marvel. According to Complex, “Misogynists Swarming ‘Captain Marvel’ on Rotten Tomatoes Weeks Before Release”. Of course, as is usually the case with instances such as this, they are ignoring the real issue. This has NOTHING to do with the fact that Captain Marvel is a female. It has EVERYTHING to do with Brie Larson launching an attack against fans.

Black Panther

Ghostbusters 3 and Captain Marvel

image via Marvel

There is a right way to bring politics into a movie, and it isn’t by alienating other demographics. Let’s consider Black Panther. This is a movie that had an almost entirely black cast, and as such it was hailed as being a step in the right direction for the representation of minorities within Hollywood movies.

On the run up to its release, I didn’t once see Chadwick Boseman or Michael B. Jordan stepping up to a mic to say “listen, if this film doesn’t do well, then it’s white people who are to blame”. The movie itself even tackled race issues within the world, but it did so in a manner that wasn’t just sticking a middle finger up at other groups and actually made sense within the movie’s storyline.

I’m not petty enough to not see a movie based on the actions of one member of the cast, but I’d imagine that there are people out there who are. Larson is a classic example of a social justice hypocrite. Does Larson really believe that decade-long fans of the MCU are going to hate a movie purely because the lead is a strong female character? The only reason I will hate Captain Marvel, is if it’s a shit movie. If it IS a shit movie, I’m still going to watch Endgame and Far From Home and other MCU movies!

My MCU Prediction

Ghostbusters 3 and Captain Marvel

image via YouTube

I’m almost done ranting, but I just want to touch on one issue that I can see happening over the next few years. Endgame, which will be the movie to follow Captain Marvel, marks the end of the road for many character arcs. Tony Stark, Iron-Man, Thor, and others may not die, but they won’t be returning in the same capacity after this movie. Here lies my worry: Fans have spent 10 years following these characters: we’ve watched them evolve, face increasingly-difficult challenges, and we’ll see them leave. For many, Endgame will mark the end of a story rather than the end of a chapter.

How will the MCU group the remaining heroes together? Will there be an Avengers 5? In my opinion, Endgame should be the last Avengers movie. Let’s face it, the Guardians won’t be returning for a 5th Avengers movie. So, the next group movie should be different, and it should be new, otherwise, people will get very bored very fast! We can’t just see all available MCU heroes regroup every 3 years, particularly when the MVPs will be gone. Why is this a problem?

Well, as we’ve seen with Ghostbusters, Ocean’s 8, the wage gap, and other such movies/ideas, people have a tendency to focus on a connection while ignoring all other factors. You didn’t like Ghostbusters? Well, you must be a female-hating Trump supporter because there’s NO way you just didn’t like the shitty reboot and its horrifically matched cast and slanted political agenda!

When we say goodbye to Tony Stark, Thor, Loki, Steve Rodgers, Bucky, and maybe more (or maybe less, I’m not sure how many actors will step down after Endgame), the viewings of MCU movies is undoubtedly going to take a knock. My worry is that people will blame this on women-hating racists, rather than exploring the real reasons. Then, the MCU will become more politicized and ultimately destroyed.

In Summary

Ghostbusters 3 and Captain Marvel

image via Stream Play TV

In my opinion, there shouldn’t have been a Ghostbusters reboot in the first place! I’m all for a sequel, provided it isn’t just a reboot disguised as a sequel, but rebooting any classic typically fails to do it justice. Look at Jumanji: the reboot/sequel was entertaining, but it just wasn’t the same as the original. Too many things change over the course of several decades and so its impossible to capture the original movies. For example, Jurassic Park, Star Wars, Blade Runner, and of course Ghostbusters.

Global politics have changed, societal attitudes and perceptions have changed, actors have died, and a million other variables can be considered as to why making a reboot/sequel to classic movies a couple of decades after the originals will never work. Do you think a Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, or Fight Club would succeed if rebooted within the next couple of decades? These aren’t even good examples and they still don’t work!

When it comes to movies that are changing within our modern society, we have to remember that people aren’t watching these movies to support a political agenda. I watch Marvel movies because I love the characters and losing myself in a universe where people with superpowers exist is entertaining. I don’t watch the movies because I want to support Brie Larson’s incoherent babblings!


Thanks for reading! What are you thoughts? Is Brie Larson forcing her political views into the MCU? Is it unreasonable to do a Ghostbusters 3? Let me know down below! 

Don’t forget to follow me on here and on Twitter to stay up to date with my posts!

If you have anything to add or perhaps a suggestion for a future post, leave a comment!

Peace!