Taking on a fresh perspective, Spy Kids: Armageddon ignores the existence of the previous four films, focusing on the Torrez family rather than the Cortez family.
This iteration, like Spy Kids: Game Over, acknowledges the importance and impact that video games have had on the world. While not every line or plot point is directly taken from the original films, there are plenty of easter eggs and references to the previous movies. Many beats and story points work very similarly to the original Spy Kids as well, and this is a bad decision when it comes to creating something original and new.
While it may work for viewers who have not seen the original Spy Kids, which may be the demographic anyway, it does not prevent anyone from watching it and realizing that far too many elements were ripped out of the original movie, slightly altered, and given a narrowly new approach without the same heart and soul that came from the original film.
Newcomers Tony and Patty are nothing like Carmen and Juni, which is one of the main reprieves when it comes to a different sibling dynamic. This version of the kids avoids the constant bickering and insults that Juni and Carmen tend to throw at each other. However, it also avoids granting the characters the same development that the originals got.
Spy Kids makes it clear early on that Juni gets easily nervous and is not exactly known for his confidence. Throughout the film, Juni grows more into himself, growing his self-confidence as he has no one other than himself and Carmen to rely on until they find their parents.
Meanwhile, Carmen and Juni’s age difference helps portray Carmen as Juni’s annoyed older sister. She is growing up and tired of having to watch after him. Spending time alone with her brother in the field of trying to save their parents allows the duo to learn to work together as a team, rather than against each other while offering both of them individual character arcs and development.
Patty and Tony do not get the same treatment. While the movie makes the good decision of avoiding turning the new kids into repeats of the original characters, they are not well-defined enough to provide a substantial character arc.
Instead, their values are fairly one-note. Patty believes in fairness and honesty, while Tony uses tricks and cheats to get his way up until the moment that he knows doing so could end the world.
Even the parents’ relationship in Spy Kids: Armageddon does not get the emotional investment and mystery that the originals had earned very quickly into the first film with the story of how a duo of enemy spies fell in love.
Spy Kids: Armageddon is fun enough to sit through for a light-hearted adventure. However, it does not portray the substance, dangerous stakes, and complicated highs and lows that the original Spy Kids offered.