Photo courtesy of Netflix.
Photo courtesy of Netflix.

campus editor

After 12 years, a new installment in the “Spy Kids” film series has been released, and it’s totally serviceable children’s entertainment. 

“Spy Kids: Armageddon,” released Sept. 22 and is streaming exclusively on Netflix. I’ll be honest – I’ve never seen a Spy Kids film. I had next to no nostalgia for it so the expectations I had going into this film were nearly nonexistent. That said, it was a fine time all things considered. It’s no “‘Citizen Kane’ killer” or anything, but it’s a harmless, family-friendly, sanitized, cornball Disney Channel original-styled flick. 

The film follows a family of spies who need to retrieve their special “Armageddon Code” before the supervillain uses it to hack into people’s stuff and force them to play video games to unlock their devices. It’s truly the vilest of vile plans, and it’s definitely one that most certainly needs to be stopped by kids with spy parents and sci-fi gadgets. A silly premise for sure, but a lighthearted one befitting of the film series (I would assume). 

 The best part of the film is probably the music. It’s the usual type of “super-secret spy” music, but it still is pretty catchy and complements the action well. Another neat thing is the settings. The spy theme means there’s slick, futuristic rooms filled with “Mission Impossible-styled” laser beam traps and there’s no shortage of nonsensical cartoon gadgets. Later in the movie, the family goes to a virtual video game world while sporting gold armor and fighting skeletons. 

The visual diversity is welcomed, and the sets are pleasing to the eye. The only thing that lets them down a bit is the animation quality. It’s not a bad thing overall, and it never really distracts from the riveting storyline, some things just tend to look a tiny bit flat.  

The script itself is cheesy and silly and doesn’t take itself all that seriously. Perfect for a family night and great for little ones. There’s a lesson to be learned about telling the truth and being honest and making peace with others. It’s a good lesson for kids – and even adults – to understand and consider. 

The characters themselves are entertaining for the most part and have some semblance of depth which did catch me off guard. Not that I’m complaining, but I didn’t expect it. There are some trust issues between the lead family that get resolved by the end in the most “Disney Channel/Hallmark” way imaginable, but that much I did expect.

Thankfully, this movie dodges the “main characters split up during the third act” cliche, and the two remain (mostly) likeable throughout. Well, the son, Antonio “Tony” Torrez-Tango played by Connor Esterson, was a bit of a brat. The daughter on the other hand, Patricia “Patty” Torrez-Tango played by Everly Carganilla, was far less grating, if not a bit naive.

While it was nothing groundbreaking, the music and visuals were nice, and the message of the film is a valuable one for kids and adults to take into consideration. It’s a simple, feel-good, cheeseball spy flick that kids and some parents will no doubt enjoy.