Tony and Patty Tango-Torrez’s parents have some pretty strict rules about technology.
For starters, the whole family can only use their devices for two hours each day. The rest of the time, their electronics are kept under lock and key. And when the kiddos are allowed to use them, everything is password protected to prevent them from downloading games and apps without permission.
That doesn’t bode well for the siblings since they both love playing video games.
Tony does everything he can to get around the rules, including stealing the electronics’ safe key and his dad’s passwords.
Patty, on the other hand, doesn’t mind the rules. After all, there must be a good reason. And it’s not like her parents, who preach honestly above all else, would lie to them, right?
If only that were true.
Unbeknownst to the siblings, Mr. Tango and Mrs. Torrez have made something of a career out of their knack for deception. In fact, their ability to deceive has made them quite successful.
That’s because they’re spies.
But it all comes back to bite them when someone uses Tony’s love of video games to infiltrate the Tango-Torrez home’s security system.
It’s a simple matter really: Send Tony a free copy of the sequel to his favorite video game, wait for him to download it at home (without his parents’ permission, I might add), use the download to reverse hack the security system, and steal the Armageddon Code—which is capable of hacking into any and every device on the planet—hidden on his parents’ secret network.
Did I say simple?
Nobody in their right mind would have ever dreamed this was possible. That’s why the Tango-Torrez parents lied to their children to begin with. They didn’t want their kids to accidentally release the Armageddon Code.
But if they want to save the world, they’d better come clean to Tony and Patty, who just might be the only ones capable of stopping the video game developer behind it all.
The Tango-Torrez parents eat a bit of crow when they’re caught in their lies. For starters, they’ve always taught their kids to be honest—which makes them hypocrites. For seconds, it nearly ends the world. But the parents apologize to Tony and Patty for the deception (and the kids apologize for their own dishonesty). And the entire family learns just how important it is to be truthful if they want to build trust between each other and make the world a better place.
No matter what the situation, Patty takes the moral high ground. She doesn’t approve of lying. And she preaches kindness over violence. Her goodness inspires her family, especially her brother. Tony believed that the only way to get what he wanted was to bend or flat-out break the rules. But because of Patty’s encouragement, he learns how important doing the right thing is to being a hero.
[Spoiler Warning] The family’s renewed embrace of kindness and honesty helps to redeem the film’s villain. Rey Kingston created his video game to take over the planet because he genuinely wanted to change the world for the better. His own father had tried to do something similar, but he was arrested for his extreme methods. The Tango-Torrez family suggests that having Kingston play his own video game (which was designed to make players good people as they play it) would be a better rehabilitation than just tossing him in prison. And the OSS (the organization the Tango-Torrez family spies for) adopts this policy.
Despite the biblical allusion to Armageddon in the title, there’s no spiritual content here at all.
Mr. and Mrs. Tango-Torrez kiss on several occasions and tango in one scene. A woman’s top shows some cleavage.
No fatal blows are dealt, but there’s still a fair bit of hand-to-hand combat resulting in knockouts. And people’s homes and workplaces don’t fare well when these fights take place. During a high-speed chase, Tony and Patty manage to run several bad guys off the road.
A training simulator whacks Tony and some other agents in the face several times. Other smacks and tumbles (often played for humor) result from the use of spy gadgets.
When Patty learns that her parents have used violence against bad guys, she scolds them, telling them they should have found a peaceful solution. [Spoiler Warning] They take her words to heart and successfully use kind words and gestures instead of their fists in their next confrontation.
None. But one of the video game bad guys is called a “Heck Knight,” and one woman says she doesn’t know “what the heck a Heck Knight is.”
Rey Kingston, a video game developer, takes over the world by using the Armageddon Code to force people into playing his video game in order to access their electronic devices. As a result, people who don’t know how to play the game (or who just can’t play it well) get locked out of their homes, cars and bank accounts.
Characters lie. Tony defends his cheating as “creative sportsmanship” and claims his dad is the one who taught him that term. (He’s later disciplined appropriately for his deception.) Some people act hypocritically. Grown-ups sometimes come off as inept.
A few scary-looking minions work for Kingston, including what appear to be living skeletons. However, these are later revealed to be robots with holographic imagers.
This latest flick from the Spy Kids franchise is just as wholesome, if not more so, than its predecessors.
The Tango-Torrez children learn that kindness and honesty are some of the highest virtues. And even when it feels easier to lie, cheat, steal or even use violence, the story illustrates why those choices aren’t profitable in the long run.
These nice lessons are paired with a redemptive storyline for some bad guys and a reminder to parents who may have forgotten their values in the craziness of life.
And considering the distinct lack of other problematic content, all of that makes Spy Kids: Armageddon a film the whole family can enjoy.
Emily studied film and writing when she was in college. And when she isn’t being way too competitive while playing board games, she enjoys food, sleep, and geeking out with her husband indulging in their “nerdoms,” which is the collective fan cultures of everything they love, such as Star Wars, Star Trek, Stargate and Lord of the Rings.