Spy Kids: Armageddon Review
Spy Kids: Armageddon (2023) Film Review, a movie directed by Robert Rodriguez, written by Racer Rodriguez and Robert Rodriguez and starring Connor Esterson, Everly Carganilla, Zachary Levi, Gina Rodriguez, Billy Magnussen, D.J. Cotrona, Solar, Nicholas James Ortiz, Brody Stowers, Isaac Garza, Patricia Vonne, Neal Kodinsky and Fabiola Andujar.
Robert Rodriguez reboots the Spy Kids series with an enjoyable kids’ action picture, Spy Kids: Armageddon. When the original Spy Kids movies were released, they were mostly big hits and Netflix has brought the series back to life with this new re-working of themes found in the franchise. The new stars who play the kids are notably solid here while the latest actors chosen as the parents of the “spy kids” have almost as much personality as their counterparts from the previous movies. When reviewing a film like this, I sometimes wonder if I would have enjoyed it more as a younger viewer and knowing my younger self, I definitely would have had a good time watching Spy Kids: Armageddon.
The plot of the new reboot isn’t easy to explain but it is, surprisingly, easy to follow. The parents who secretly work as spies are Terrence Tango (Zachary Levi) and Nora Torrez (Gina Rodriguez). Their two kids, Tony (Connor Esterson) and Patty (Everly Carganilla) are experts at video games so when the villain in the plot makes it necessary that they need to beat certain video games to have a chance at saving the world, their skills certainly come in handy. Patty has a pair of bunny slippers that she sneaks around the house in which add an adorable charm to some of the early scenes in the film.
The central villain of the movie is Rey “The King” Kingston (the merely adequate Billy Magnussen) who seemingly needs to put two pieces of something together to rule the world. One piece is to be found in Patty’s necklace. So the villains pursue the kids to try to get their hands on this prized possession. Or something like that. This is one of several movies that employs this type of “two piece” plot device so it’s really nothing new. Remember the latest Mission: Impossible movie? Same concept, more or less. What is new here is the enjoyable use of the supplemental bad guys which include skeletons which chase our spy kids and come after them in hilarious ways. The movie is so much fun to sit through when watching the video game-like bad guys come after the film’s stars.
There are also plenty of gadgets and transportation devices which make the movie move along at a quick pace. A car chase scene with our spy kids in a tiny car being pursued by baddies works tremendously well. Also enjoyable are scenes set in a “safe house” which the parents have set up for the kids in case of emergencies. The safe house comes equipped with yummy kids’ foods too.
Zachary Levi and Gina Rodriguez were well cast as the parents. They have heroic qualities about them and a great sense of humor that makes them charismatic. Levi of Shazam! fame knows heroic roles like the back of his hand and has a great rapport with Rodriguez. Both stars play off each other in a rather endearing way as their characters kiss before going into action in one sweet scene towards the end.
As the plot develops with sword fights that are necessary to defeat Rey, the movie moves its plot forward mostly through action. Those sequences where the kids and parents are in jeopardy of getting caught by the bad guys are perfect for the targeted audience for this film.
Connor Esterson and Everly Carganilla have charm to spare with the performers conveying their sibling bond on screen rather well. They could do more of these movies and Netflix audiences will have little problem accepting these kids in their roles. Rodriguez has cast kids with a lot of personality and this enhances the overall entertainment value of the picture.
From an analytical point of view, there are some problems with Spy Kids: Armageddon. The plot is so driven by video games that people who are not familiar with playing video games may find themselves lost in the movie’s technology driven story line. For example, the bad guys set everything up where one must have video game playing abilities to do something as simple as taking money out of an ATM. Another problem is the lack of sensible supporting characters. The villains keep coming after the heroes even as they constantly get defeated and the OSS agents that supervise the parents’ jobs are always seemingly less intelligent than our lead players. These problems probably won’t bother younger viewers, though.
Audiences who know little about video games most likely won’t be attracted to this movie, though. Spy Kids: Armageddon is probably not going to win any major awards unless they’re coming from teenagers or young kids. However, Rodriguez has captured the essence of his previous pictures for a new generation. I’m not sure that fans of the original movies will love this one but they’ll certainly respect that Rodriguez has put a lot of heart and effort into reviving his idea for a new set of viewers.
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