Umbrella Academy First Reviews: Exhilarating Season 2 Ups the Stakes, the Crazy, and the Fun

Critics say that the new season, free of world-building, streamlines the story of the super-powered Hargreeves clan.

by | July 27, 2020 | Comments

The Umbrella Academy season 1 bewitched Netflix viewers with its story about the Hargreeves family of uniquely powered kids. In the series, based on the comic book series created and written by ‎Gerard Way and illustrated by Gabriel Bá, billionaire industrialist Sir Reginald Hargreeves adopts seven of 43 babies born on the same day to random women, who had shown no signs of pregnancy the day before. Sir Reginald creates The Umbrella Academy to train his children to one day save the world. In season 1, they failed, instead becoming responsible for the 2019 apocalypse.

Season 2 picks up in the 1960s, where Five (Aidan Gallagher) has time-traveled his siblings, scattering them across several years in and around Dallas, Texas. Some have cultivated lives by the time Five lands — just in time for a nuclear doomsday caused by their timeline meddling.

(Photo by Netflix © 2020)

In addition to Gallagher, The Umbrella Academy season 2 stars Ellen Page as Vanya, Tom Hopper as Luther, David Castañeda as Diego, Emmy Raver-Lampman as Allison, Robert Sheehan as Klaus, Justin H. Min as Ben. Colm Feore returns as Sir Reginald Hargreeves, Cameron Britton as Hazel, Jordan Claire Robbins as “Mom” Grace, and Adam Godley voicing Pogo. The new season welcomes Ritu Arya as Lila Pitts, Marin Ireland as Sissy, Yusuf Gatewood as Raymond Chestnut, and Kris Holden-Ried, Jason Bryden, and Tom Sinclair as a trio of killers hunting the seven through time.

Season 1 is Certified Fresh at 75% on the Tomatometer, and season 2 has surpassed that score by a wide margin based on early reviews. Here’s what critics are saying about season 2 of The Umbrella Academy:

Is The Umbrella Academy Season 2 Better Than Season 1?

(Photo by Christos Kalohoridis/Netflix © 2020 )

More banana pants crazy than the first season with plot twists you won’t see coming and the perfect amount of gore. Another must binge wild ride for the Hargreeves! — Tessa Smith, Mama’s Geeky

Even with an overarching plot that resembles a lot of season one, this do-over the siblings get is entirely worth it. — Katey Stoetzel, The Young Folks

Employing dry Wes Anderson-style humour and end-of-the-world exploits worthy of Heroes, the second season of The Umbrella Academy is just as — if not more — wacky than the first. — Sabrina Barr, Independent (UK)

While Season 1 worked to establish the world in which they lived as well as their relationships to each other within their unique family structure, Season 2 allows each character to grow into themselves fully. — Carissa Pavlica, TV Fanatic

The Umbrella Academy’s second chapter ends up being perfectly good and just shy of great, which is saying something, because the show overall does feel like it has a stronger sense of what it’s trying to be. — Charles Pulliam-Moore,

Flamboyant, entertaining and enriched by a remarkable cast, season 2 of The Umbrella Academy tweaks everything it needed to to belt a tune that resonates with its light and dark elements. — Jennifer Bisset, CNET

Season two realises the true potential of these characters without failing them in the same way, digging deeper into their collective trauma while improving on everything that made season one so special. — David Opie, Digital Spy

Retaining all the charm of its predecessor, The Umbrella Academy’s energetic, creative second season extends the mythology in ambitious and unexpected new ways. — Shaun Munro, Flickering Myth

The Umbrella Academy was annoyingly watchable in season one… The best thing that can be said about season two, then, is that it is that same show but good. — Sam Barsanti, AV Club

What’s The Umbrella Academy Season 2 Like?

(Photo by Netflix © 2020)

A fantastic mix of X-Men meets Back to the Future, Season 2 is an incredible ride. — Grace Randolph, Beyond the Trailer

Season two takes all of what you love so much from season one and brings it all a major step forward through more refined storytelling and situation — and time period — that tests these characters in new ways. — Perri Nemiroff, Perri Nemiroff

The Umbrella Academy is what you get when you mix Wes Anderson with Matthew Vaughn, stuff them full of Red Bull and Adderall, and give them a Spotify Premium subscription. Yes, that’s a compliment. — Brandon Katz,
Observer (UK)

Maintaining the show’s distinctive, offbeat style – think the Coens doing superheroes – and sharp-edged sense of humour, not an episode passes without a great gag, impressive visual beat or fantastic music-driven sequence. — Dan Jolin, Empire Magazine

So How’s the Family Unit? 

(Photo by Netflix © 2020)

Blackman really leaned into the superhero element when telling this story. The show is at its best when the family is together or when they are paired off together and thankfully that happens throughout most of the season. — Dorian Parks, Geeks of Color

There’s precious little that’s really original in the second season of The Umbrella Academy, but the familiarity works well for a show about family. — Samantha Nelson, Polygon

Now that the characters are firmly established and removed from the shadow of the time and place of their upbringing, [It] feels looser and funnier, with heroic moments that are often bigger and more exciting. — Cynthia Vinney, CBR

Perhaps it’s because the new time period, new enemies, and new revelations which await these characters are way more fun for an actor to sink their teeth into. — Allie Gemmill, Collider

The Umbrella Academy’s second season expands on its idea in fun ways while giving us more of what we love about its titular team. — Spencer Perry,

Do Any of the Characters Stand Out in Season 2?

(Photo by Christos Kalohoridis/Netflix © 2020 )

Sheehan and Gallagher are still the standouts, but Ritu Arya is a fantastic new addition. — Grace Randolph, Beyond the Trailer

[Ellen Page] has crafted this delicate and vulnerable side to Vanya that we have rarely seen, but it’s addictive to watch and yes, we need to see more of it in season three. — Abigail Gillibrand, Metro (UK)


(Photo by Netflix © 2020)

It’s both exhilarating and heartbreaking, and ultimately it brought me joy. In a year when it feels like the world is ending in real-time, The Umbrella Academy gives me hope. — Michelle Swope, Nightmarish Conjurings

Despite some familiarity, The Umbrella Academy’s brand of charming fun can’t be beaten. Fingers crossed that when it comes to season three, they don’t stray too far from the winning formula. — Huw Fullerton, Radio Times

The conflict is well-paced and resolves satisfyingly, and the story flows with a rhythm that pulls the viewer along like the inexorable course of time itself. — Michael Ahr, Den of Geek

Brimming with confidence, season 2 elevates The Umbrella Academy into one of the best shows on television. — Ian Thomas Malone, FanSided

Smart, stylish and hugely entertaining, the second season once again pushes the boundaries of the superhero genre with the quirky and bold vision of Gerard Way. — Nicola Austin, We Have a Hulk

Adjusted Score: 95.038%
Critics Consensus: Proof that time can heal almost all wounds, The Umbrella Academy's exhilarating second season lightens its tonal load without losing its emotional core, giving the super siblings room to grow while doubling down on the time traveling fun.
Synopsis: Five warned his family (so, so many times) that using his powers to escape from Vanya's 2019 apocalypse was risky.... [More]

The Umbrella Academy season 2 launches on Netflix on Friday, July 31

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