Spy Kids: Armageddon is underwhelming and a far-departure from the once great family film franchise that balanced great story with even greater characters. Despite coming from the same man who brought us the original trilogy, Armageddon feels lifeless in comparison and only had me wishing for any kind of easter egg or cameo from anyone we’d recognize. I understand that things change with time and at their core these are movies for kids, however I think they just leaned too heavily into the younger child aspects of the story making this feel closer to some Disney Channel or Nickelodeon TV Movie.
Terrence (Zachary Levi) and Nora (Gina Rodriguez) are the two greatest spies in the world, though their children have absolutely no idea. After losing their Armageddon Code which helps them hack any device in the world, it’s up to children Tony (Connor Esterson) and Patty (Everly Carganilla) to uncover the truth about their parents and to help save the day with their knowledge of video games.
Borrowing elements of story and perilous scenarios from the original trilogy, Spy Kids: Armageddon ends up feeling like a poor-mans modern take on what was once original and unique. The influences of mobile games like Temple Run are littered throughout the film, finding our characters often relying on the advanced gaming abilities of the children to unlock new levels and locks. The Disney know-it-all child has been traded in for the youngster who’s spent way too much time on the Nintendo Switch and only knows a lot about games. Though I know many young kids are obsessed with Roblox and Fortnite, I don’t think the translation into film plays as well as they hoped because I found these kids and their trials far more grating than what we’ve gotten from the Spy Kids of old.
Being a 27-year-old man, I understand that I’m not the target audience for this new reboot and I’m sure I have some strong biases associated with growing up with the original Spy Kids. All that being said, I can still recognize the quality and care those films were given and that certainly still shows today. Zachary Levi isn’t a horrible actor, but he does himself no favors here by playing himself alongside Gina Rodriguez who’s mildly enjoyable. The kids are great with the material they’re given, but they’re almost too young for a lot of the challenges they face in the film and for the believability of their abilities in those moments. I wasn’t the biggest fan myself, but I’m sure kids will enjoy some of the cheesiness and the video game references. I’ll be holding out for a Spy Kids involving the OG cast, especially Machete!
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