Movie: Spy Kids Armageddon
Production Companies: Skydance, Spyglass Media Group, Double R Productions
Director: Robert Rodriguez
Producers: David Ellison, Dana Goldberg, Don Granger, Racer Max, Robert Rodriguez, Elizabeth Avellan
Scriptwriters: Robert Rodriguez, Racer Max
Main Cast: Gina Rodriguez, Zachary Levi, Conner Esterson, Everly Carganilla, D.J Cotrona, Billy Magnussen
Release Date: September 22nd 2023
Running Time: 108 minutes
Well, that was f***ing dreadful. I get that Robert Rodriguez might not be over the masterpiece that is Spy Kids 3D: Game Over but this was a poor attempt to redo it. Spy Kids Armageddon feels a bit like a failing marriage where one person desperately looks back to the highs of the past in a vain attempt to save the marriage. Really the only reason Netflix seem to have made this is to desperately beat the last morsels of cash from an already buried horse. Oh, I guess SPOILER warning in place for anyone who actually was hyped… Anyway, before I shred the film further here is a brief synopsis of the limited plot.
Spy Kids Armageddon follows the Torrez-Tango spy family, as parents Nora (Rodriguez) and Terrance (Levi) rely on their kids, Tony (Esterson) and Patty (Carganilla), to save the world from the Armageddon Code. This seems to have the devastating effect of making everyone in the world play a terrible video game whilst ‘surprise’ villain The King (Magnussen) disarms the world’s nuclear arsenal. Along the way, the Torrez-Tangos attempt to bond and finally become a united family unit after years of secrecy from the parents about their jobs which the kids know regardless of their parents’ secrecy.
How Spy Kids Armageddon fails the franchise
I think the biggest problem with Spy Kids: Armageddon is that it’s desperately trying to appeal to fans of Spy Kids 3 but completely misses the reasons why people like that film. Simply put, it feels like a direct sequel which was left in the freezer and defrosted after 20 years. Take the dialogue which is the definition of boomer jokes with the adults in the film being unable to play incredibly simple videogames whilst Patty and Connor yell various tech key phrases.
This point feels most egregious in how the film is just Spy Kids 3 but in reverse with none of the charm and cult following of that film. Look at the final boss fight which nicks the lava surfing scene and combines it with Anakin and Obi Wan’s Mustafar fight and somehow ends up being boring and predictable. And that doesn’t even touch on the lame ass CGI which also seems to be paying a very poor homage to Spy Kids 3.
How Spy Kids: Armageddon is boring
Another huge problem with Spy Kids: Armageddon is that it commits one of the cardinal sins of films: it’s just so boring. Despite only clocking in at 108 minutes, in parts some of it is so cringe that it almost drags the runtime. Mostly, during the training montage of Patty and Connor where a bunch of agents who work with their parents find them. Here, the film tries to be clever and subvert the audience by actually revealing the agents do work with their parents.
But it’s just predictable and another lazy way to keep the film moving. Another example of this is how the film desperately tries to make the kids feel special by making everyone else look dumb. And that’s infuriating as it becomes annoying listening to the two kids dumping technobabble exposition. Instead of sounding clever like the film thinks it is, it just becomes irritating very quickly. To summarise the boredom I experienced, I’d struggle to name 5 events that happen in the film and when you’re relieved a film’s over that’s never a good sign…
Special Effects in Spy Kids: Armageddon
Also, to really underline how poor Spy Kids: Armageddon is, some of the effects give the Flash a run for its money. I spy a massive loss for Netflix… Just take the King’s henchman. Now the design isn’t inherently bad, but when the effects and use of green screen are that blatant it really distracts from the film. That might not be a bad thing really…. Anyway, the rest of the special effects barely look better than Sharkboy and Lavagirl or the original Spy Kids films. That’s really damning given the near 20 year gap between the films. This is especially true in the final boss fight where the lava surfing scene in Spy Kids 3 looked better than the lava in this fight. But at least it didn’t stoop as low as to exploit fan’s nostalgia with pointless and terrible CGI cameos, eh Flash?
To summarise Spy Kids Armageddon, this is a dreadfully mediocre film which puts the final nail into the Spy Kids coffin as if that wasn’t already done with Spy Kids 4. Nothing about this film is really memorable other than the fact I spent more of the film wondering where I recognised Gina Rodriguez from than actually caring about the plight of the underdeveloped characters. How did no one spy this disaster coming?
Overall Rating: 3.5/10 – Poor
Target Audience: 8+
Content Warning: Mild Frightening and Intense Scenes, Mild Violence and Gore