The latest film by Sin City director Robert Rodriguez just released and it’s a reboot of his Spy Kids franchise titled Spy Kids: Armageddon. The franchise started with its first installment Spy Kids in 2001 and was very well received by the public. The strong Latino family dynamics and the new technology special effects were all responsible for the overwhelming love the film received. Rodriguez made three more sequels, and they all went down in quality. This new one is a fresh story with a new family that mixes in the fears associated with the budding AI technology. The characters in the film have the same warmth and humorous quality that made the franchise what it is. It is very much a movie for kids with some great moral lessons hidden in the narrative. The elements of video games and technology have their own allure and the film hints at the judicial use of new tech interventions. Let’s take a look at the characters in the family that go through a rollercoaster ride to retrieve a stolen virtual master key known as the ‘Armageddon’.
The Kids: Tony and Patty
The Tango-Torrez family has four members. There is the strict and overprotective father Terrence Tango and then there is the mother Nora Torrez, who had to constantly calm Terrence down to go easy on the kids . They have two extremely intelligent and brave kids named Tony and Patty. Now, both of them are troublemakers, but not the usual kind. Tony is obsessed with the new game ‘Loskor’. His favorite character in it is a player named Rat Thickskull. Tony emulates the character and feels elated whenever he cheats in real life to win something. That’s what the character in the game does, so it couldn’t be wrong! Patty, who is wise beyond her years, always nudges Tony to take the tougher path in life. She didn’t want him to cheat and lie, but Tony found that boring. Had he not cheated at one of the games in his school, he would have never won a chance to play his favorite game Loskor’s upgraded version ‘Hyskor’, designed by a man named Rey ‘The King’ Kingston. There was a twist coming though. Tony had to learn a lesson about treading the righteous path.
When Tony returned back home from his school, with the game on his tablet, it turned out to be a way for Kingston to hack into Terrence’s system and gain the virtual master key ‘Armageddon’. ‘Hyskor’ was like a virus that would infest all the gadgets around the world and people would lose access to each and every automated technology. That meant people couldn’t get their money out of the ATM nor could they enter their homes which were locked by a smart-lock. The virus had overtaken only half the world. The time came when Terrence and Nora had to reveal that they were spies. Tony and Patty were shocked but also found it cool that their parents were actual spies. Tony and Patty were sent to a safe zone, not knowing anything about the mysterious ‘Armageddon’ and what Kingston really wanted. Terrence and Nora were kidnapped by Kingston soon after.
The siblings had to protect each other. They were just little kids but full of enthusiasm and courage to face new challenges. They learned some unique combat skills in the safe house, and soon they realized that their parents needed their help to defeat Kingston. The kids essentially became the newest members of the Organization of Super Spies(OSS). The world was suffering. People had to complete the game in order to access their gadgets and machines, and this is where Tony’s skill came in handy. He showed that he was incredibly good in the game, but the mission was going to be completed when they entered the world of the game, where Kingston had hidden himself.
Patty was more interested in caring for things, which is why she saved Bronson, a small crab-like gadget from the safe house. It contained half of the Armageddon master code, which was the reason Kingston’s Hyskor had only affected half of the world. The OSS guys behaved like know-it-alls and didn’t listen to the kids. Kingston’s army attacked the OSS office and Devlin, OSS chief, gave away the second half of the Armageddon code out of fear. Tony and Patty’s parents had been taken away to an island, where Kingston was hiding in his game in a virtual world. Tony and Patty rescued their parents and went into the virtual world of the game to beat Kingston. Patty asked everyone to play fairly as that was the only chance against the mighty Kingston who knew every single detail about it as its creator. That’s the only thing that helped Tony in the end. All this while Terrence had chided him for being curious, which was why he had developed a habit of lying and cheating to bypass the rules. But in the end, the game was won because he got hidden points for honesty. Had he followed in the footsteps of Rat Thickskull, he wouldn’t ever have won the badge that allowed him to defeat Kingston in the game. Patty too was knighted for her honesty. They decided to pardon Kingston and let him live in the game because it had the ability to improve humans if they played fairly.
The Parents: Terrence and Nora
If there was one instruction Terrence gave to everyone was that they shouldn’t play video games as they would ‘fry’ their brains. He was very averse to technology as well. Nora calmed him down every time he went into hyper mode regarding the dangers involved in their line of work and how sensitive the Armageddon master code was. Armageddon was designed by Kingston’s father and Terrence had literally stolen it from him. The mission was named ‘Operation Fireball’ and it was one of the biggest missions in OSS history that had gotten Terrence and Nora together.
Armageddon was a huge liability for Terrence in the long run, which was why he was always on edge. Everybody who would even have the slightest hint about it could attack him one day in order to steal the master code. It could open any security system in the world, but Kingston had designed his video game precisely to get his father’s precious invention back. Parents have a responsibility for supervising their kids but Terrence and Nora were becoming too uptight and ultra strict about the kids’ videogames. This led to Tony playing Hyskor in secret, connecting it to the home security system. Nora too never really put her foot down to stop Terrence from behaving in a strict manner all the time. They had planned to reveal their actual profession to the kids on their marriage anniversary but it was only when half the world was already affected by Hyskor that they got the chance. Kingston’s army was after them and the family got separated.
The parents had to finally learn to trust the kids. Ultimately, it was Tony and Patty who showed the way to defeat Kingston, who was in a mode of vengeance for what OSS had done to his father. The family became a unit again and this time, the kids ran the show. They entered the virtual world and the parents played the supporting role to perfection. It was a lesson for everybody that it’s not always healthy to impose strict rules on anybody and if it had been left to the adults, they would have gone by the ‘Spy Playbook’, which had all sorts of contradictory rules written in it. Tony had discarded it as it encouraged spies to cheat and lie, but through Patty, he understood how honesty earned people extra points. Terrence and Nora respected their decision to not punish Kingston in the usual way after he was caught. They had decided to quit OSS, but Devlin destroyed the Armageddon master code as it was a stolen property and was too dangerous to be in anyone’s possession. Devlin promised an overhaul of the system , and invited the entire Tango-Torrez onboard for the next mission.