For a certain generation of film fans, the list of the best sequels in cinema history has to go beyond The Godfather Part II another Cross-generational saga of children carrying the emotional burden of their parents’ legacy. That movie, of course, is Spy Kids 2: The Lost Island of Dreams.
Yes, Robert Rodriguez’s popular kid-focused franchise, which first hit theaters in 2001 to critical acclaim, still holds a very special place in the hearts of many Generation Z Millennials, at least in terms of their interpretation of “classic cinema.” As Rodriguez announced a reboot in 2022 in collaboration with Skydance, Spyglass and Netflix, this reviewer was skeptical (and unfortunately now a real adult).
But thanks to a strange (if not uninspired) combination of Fortnite, “Tron,” and even a dash of “Mission: Impossible” sensibilities, Rodriguez’s “Spy Kids: Armageddon” lives up to expectations. It’s a sweet, family-oriented film aimed at today’s Generation Alpha kids who grew up with iPads and Nintendo Switches. (Yes, we had to check which generation follows Generation Z; the more you know.)
Directed by Rodriguez from a screenplay he co-wrote with his own son, Racer Max, Spy Kids: Armageddon is more or less a modernized remake of the first film (and yes, since the original film is now over 20 years old ). There are still things that can be found here modernize). Super spies Nora Torrez (Gina Rodriguez) and Terrence Tango (Zachary Levi) try to live normal lives but are also frequently sent to save the world while raising children Patty (Everly Carganilla) and Tony (Connor Esterson). some of whom have developed their own detective skills to better sneak past their smart people.
Tony is obsessed with the popular video game Hyskor, and when the game’s villains come to life to attack his own parents, Tony’s knowledge of the game’s rules suddenly becomes very important (plus he has to stop a skeleton key of computer code). of going out into the world, nuances of “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One”!). Hyskor developer Rey “The King” Kingston (Billy Magnussen) is determined to avenge his own father, who incidentally created the titular Armageddon code before perishing as part of a mission that killed the Torrez-Tango parents (btw !) had completed.
On the anniversary of Rey’s father’s death, he steals the Armageddon code back from Terrence, who has been using it for years to infiltrate the technology of evil masterminds. Yes, this plot seems eerily similar to the latest “Mission: Impossible” film, and Rodriguez’s feature winks even more at the camera (the kind that original “Spy Kids” stars Carla Gugino and Antonio Banderas have already mastered ). Magnussen’s role as the whiny, evil mastermind is even teased to return in a possible sequel. Even two decades later, this “Spy Kids” remains more focused on the role of technology in the home (and the world) than on silly euphemisms between married adults and eye-rolling children.
As adorable as Levi and Rodriguez prove to be together, “Armageddon” belongs entirely to fresh faces Esterson and Carganilla, taking on the roles of Daryl Sabara and Alexa PenaVega. The children’s respective performances seem comprehensible, authentic and, above all, authentic Fun, making “Armageddon” the kind of children’s film where young audiences can see themselves on screen, no doubt agreeing with Tony’s disdain for rules about when he can play video games. The film needs more family time, however, as the Torres-Tango family isn’t seen as a whole unit until the third act, when they literally enter the Hyskor game to save the planet from evil technology (and yes, that film was made ). Before the WGA and SAG strikes over AI).
With its video game references and exciting espionage elements (a super-tech cell phone! a safe underwater house! Gadgets!), “Armageddon” will certainly appeal to today’s children who belong to the pre-twenty-something group who still dream of joining the CIA. As spy boss Devlin (DJ Cotrona) says at the end of the film, for the “Spy Kids” family it’s simply about the next mission. Will the sequel be able to keep up with “Spy Kids 2”? Stay tuned.
Spy Kids: Armageddon is now streaming on Netflix.