So I sat down and watched Spy Kids: Armageddon – and it was something, that's for sure.
There are plenty of movies I grew up on, whether it was the best fantasy movies and immersing myself in the world of Harry Potter or some of the best stop-motion movies out there, like Coraline (which I just rewatched in 2022). But when I look back on my childhood, I realize I was very much into one series – the Spy Kids franchise.
I was so into this series that I decided to rank the Spy Kids movies as an adult, a painstaking task I did when I realized that some movies weren't as good as I remembered them from childhood. While I had heard about Spy Kids: Armageddon and was looking forward to it, I didn't think it would live up to any of the originals in any way possible.
But it premiered on Netflix, and I decided to give this 2023 movie a shot. And boy, do I have some thoughts.
It Certainly Keeps The Campiness Of The Original Movies
The one thing anyone knows about the Spy Kids franchise is that they are campy as heck. I won't even deny that. Most are from the first decade of the 2000s, and you can tell that famous director Robert Rodriguez was flexing his eye on all the new technology that movies had at the time. That's fair – really, everyone was doing that in some ways.
For all four movies prior, the campiness was there. I think the first three were cute, but then it felt like the fourth film, Spy Kids: All the Time in The World, took itself a little more seriously. The campiness was gone, and it was replaced by bad CGI and a pretty awful story.
But Spy Kids: Armageddon certainly brings that campiness back with a lot of the effects. While a part of me wants to complain about it because even though it lines up with previous films, it should look a little better since we are in 2023 now, I can't be too mad. It's Spy Kids -- not the James Bond franchise.
But The Story Is Probably The Worst Of All Of Them
This story dragged. And I think it's because I've seen it before.
The whole theme of Spy Kids: Armageddon, without spoiling too much, deals with the idea that video games and technology are taking over our lives and we need to be more aware of the world around us, but that's been done so many times before, and it wasn't delivered in the best way. It just feels so overused.
Also, this movie feels like a less-than-good attempt to recreate Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over but with modern-day video games, and it just doesn't sit the same. We've already seen these ideas in the Spy Kids franchise, and while I enjoy them, most other people do not, as many fans did not like the third movie as much as I did.
The ending is also hysterically bad. I won't lie; it's probably the most unrealistic ending ever. But I won't get into specifics there, in the event that you still haven't seen the movie.
It's Nice That The Parents Are Sort Of Working More With The Kids Though
One thing I always wanted to see in the original Spy Kids was Carmen and Juni working with their parents more, and when they did work with them rarely, I enjoyed that a lot. For most of the first film, it was just about the kids trying to save the parents as we went back and forth.
However, in Spy Kids: Armageddon, we see the kids work with the parents a little more than usual. Sure, they still fall into the typical "the parents are trapped, so we have to save them" trope for this franchise, but the children at least know they are spies before they are taken away. And we see them come back together at the very end, too.
I Don't Really Believe Tony And Patricia As Siblings The Way Same Way I Did Carmen And Juni
I'll give some grace here because Connor Esterson and Everly Carganilla are both pretty young. Still, their chemistry was a bit lackluster as brother and sister.
I don't know what it was with Carmen and Juni, but for some reason, I believed them more as brother and sister in the original movies. Rowen Blanchard and Mason Cook weren't super believable either, but even the two of them in Spy Kids: All the Time in the World felt like a better option.
Maybe they just had better chemistry, but these two were hard to believe as siblings. They were funny, for sure, but brother and sister? I don't think so.
Zachary Levi And Gina Rodriguez Give Their Best Try – But They're Not The OGs
Please hear me out. I love Zachary Levi and Gina Rodriguez – especially the latter. As the lead of the Jane the Virgin cast she was everything.
They give it an honest attempt, and they make a cute couple, but they're just not the original parents of Spy Kids. They're not Gregorio and Ingrid Cortez. They are better than the parents in the fourth film, but not the best.
No one can ever entirely replace their smooth nature and undeniable chemistry. Both Antonio Banderas and Carla Gugino are the absolute best in their roles, and through them, I can feel the romantic tension, even with them as parents. They were everything and also hilarious in many ways. I appreciate them so much more now.
This Movie Is Too Dang Long
Yeah, this movie should be shorter. There are certain movies where I feel their runtime is deserved, like Avatar: The Way of Water's three-hour run time, or even the run time for Oppenheimer. But this film surpassing an hour and a half is too much.
I feel like Spy Kids: Armageddon could have been shorter, maybe a little under an hour and a half, and we would still end up getting the same story but with much of the fluff cut out.
I Probably Won't Watch This One Again – It's Just Not That Good
To be frank, I won't watch this again.
I'll say this ranks higher than Spy Kids: All the Time in the World. While the sibling relationship isn't as believable, I can at least forgive this movie for the better parents with Rodriguez and Levi and the better action because there are some fun scenes in here that I could see a child enjoying.
Spy Kids’ Robert Rodriguez Explains Why The Original Cast Didn’t Return For Armageddon
And yes, I know that these movies are primarily made for children and the parents of kids. And I'm sure those children will enjoy this. But as an adult who has watched the other Spy Kids movies, not just for nostalgia but because I wanted to have my little cousins watch those movies, they are made better and way more fun.
Honestly, the Spy Kids franchise needs to stop for a bit. The world of spy movies is vast, but unless these get a decent uplift in quality, I think it's better if this portion of the spy world – where children risk their lives – should be cut out.
Either way, it was at least an entertaining Saturday afternoon.
So many incredible movies are coming out, and the 2024 movie schedule will soon be in full effect, too. Plenty of fun action movies and kids' films are coming out – be sure to check out one of them if you're still searching for something to look forward to after Spy Kids: Armageddon.