Spy Kids

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Yeah, it's kind of like that.
"My parents can't be spies, they're not cool enough!"
Carmen Cortez

A movie franchise, written and directed by Robert Rodriguez (yes, that Robert Rodriguez), which is about kid spies.

An original trilogy was created from 2001 to 2003, focusing on Carmen and Juni Cortez, a Brother-Sister Team of Preteen Superspies, whose adventures came to resemble spying less and less as the series went along. In the first movie, they discover their seemingly normal parents are actually retired spies and set out to rescue them from a Mad Scientist who moonlights as the host of Juni's favorite TV show.

Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams introduces a rival team of kid spies, whose dad ends up being the Big Bad, and featured a plot taking place on a tropical island with a mysterious power. The third installment, Spy Kids 3D: Game Over, was a 3D Movie set inside a video game created by a madman to Take Over the World. Game Over is widely seen as an utter disaster by fans of the first two films and is often regarded as the point when the series Jumped the Shark. The critics agreed, with Rotten Tomatoes giving the first film a 93% rating and the third film a 44% rating.

Eight years later in 2011, Rodriguez saw fit to continue the series with Spy Kids: All The Time in the World. The story this time focuses on a new pair of siblings whose step-mother is a retired spy for the OSS. When she get into trouble, the kids find out her secret and set out to save her with some assistance from a now grown Carmen and Juni. Yes, it's rehashing the first movie's plot, but in a way that brings everything around full circle. However the comeback wasn't well received as critics trashed it once it hit the box office with Rotten Tomatoes giving it a 23%, even less than the third movie.

The character of Machete originated in this series, and a spoof of what he'd look like as a B-movie action hero later appeared in one of the Grindhouse trailers. That trailer was eventually made into a full-length exploitation flick parody.

Tropes used in Spy Kids include:
  • 3D Movie: Read the title of the third movie.
  • Action Mom: Ingrid Cortez
  • Actor Allusion: Bill Paxton gets to say "Game over!" in, well, Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over.
  • Advertised Extra: Watch a commercial for an upcoming airing of Spy Kids 3D on Disney Channel. Disney advertises it as "featuring" Emily Osment, since she has become more well known thanks to Hannah Montana after the movie came out, but she only appears in a brief conversation at the beginning and another brief appearance in the ending.
  • Alliterative Name: Gary and Gertie Giggles
    • Not just those two. Carmen Cortez, anyone?
  • Back for the Finale - Every major character from the first two movies comes back for the "big fight" at the end of the third one.
    • And some minor characters as well, like Dinky Winks and his son.
  • Badass Spaniard Family: The Cortezes - we're talking about a family where Dad is Antonio Banderas and Grandpa is Ricardo Montalbán.
  • Badass Grandpa: Again, Grandpa is Ricardo Montalbán - what did you expect?
  • Badass Mustache - When Antonio Banderas is in "spy" mode, he wears a (fake) moustache. When he's in "dad" mode, he has no moustache. Fake Uncle Felix does things the other way round.
  • Bar Slide: How Gregorio proposes to Ingrid - sliding the ring along the railing of the Eiffel Tower
  • Brother-Sister Team
  • Call Back: Several in the fourth film.
    • For example, when Rebecca and Cecil find out Marissa works for the OSS...

Rebecca: Impossible... she's not cool enough.

    • And when the Wilsons and Carmen are surrounded by enemy agents at the hideout...

Carmen: Oh, shit...take mushrooms.

  • Pregnant Badass: Marissa, in the beginning of the fourth film, big time. She keeps fighting the bad guys, even after she starts feeling contractions.
  • Punch-Punch-Punch Uh-Oh: When the Carmen and Juni robots first show up in the first movie, Carmen repeatedly tries to beat up the solid metal robot Juni with her bare hands. This does not end well. Robot-Juni eventually writes her off and walks away in disinterest after she knocks herself out.
  • Quicksand Sucks: Marissa, Carmen, and Juni would've been smothered in The Timekeeper's special hourglass sands had Carmen not had her atomic lipstick on hand.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Invoked by Juni in movie 2 when he claims to know ballet to impress Alexandria at the President's ball.
  • Reverse Polarity: The evil robot kids are turned good by inverting their binary code.
    • In the second film, Gerti disables the amusement park ride in the opening by reversing the polarity.
  • Robot Buddy: Ralph, the Literal Spy Bug
  • Samus Is a Girl: Demetra in the third film.
    • She's also not real.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The Toymaker in the third movie.
  • Shoe Phone: The second movie includes an advanced watch that does everything except tell time, since "there was no room left for the clock". Needless to say, The Rival has a more advanced version of the same device, with a clock.
  • Sigil Spam: Most prominent in the second movie
  • Shout-Out: Juni starts to chant the One Ring poem when he reaches for a cursed necklace in the second movie.
    • In the outtakes, at one point he pulls it out, strokes it, and says, "My Precious."
    • The Fooglies' song ("Floop is a madman, help us, save us") which can only be heard when played backwards, is probably a reference to The Beatles "Paul Is Dead" rumors, one of which includes a song that, when played backwards, sounds like it says "Paul is a dead man, miss him, miss him".
    • Antonio Banderas fixing Juni's hair at the beginning of the second movie is probably a shout-out to him doing the same exact thing to his son in the film Four Rooms. Probably because that section of the film was directed by Robert Rodriguez as well.
  • Spanner in the Works: Great job tossing your brother's tag in the trash, Carmen. You just single-handedly saved the world from the Armageddon device.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: Done with ages instead of genders, but Rebecca and Cecil are instructed to stay behind with Argonaut and Spy-Baby as the rest of the OSS infiltrates The Timekeeper's hideout. They understandably mistake it for being grounded.
  • Stop Copying Me: Juni uses this twice, with voices to match.
  • Super Family Team
  • Teen Superspy: Or in this case, preteen superspies
  • Thermal Dissonance
  • Unfortunate Names: Gary and Gerti Giggles? Even those poor kids who were named after the ESPN network would point and laugh.
  • Unperson: Carmen considers her brother to be this at first in the fourth film. When he finally does show up, we find out exactly why... and it's not what you expect (i.e. he didn't pull a Face Heel Turn, he simply moved on and started working on his own).
  • Unwitting Pawn: The Timekeeper to Tick Tock.
  • Villain Song: Floop gets one in the first film, written by Danny Elfman in his signature style. Subverted when it turns out he's not a villain at all.
  • Wacky Racing: Included in the third film
  • Wedding Smashers: The parents' wedding as seen in a Flash Back from the first movie
  • White and Grey Morality: Almost none of the villains in the series stay evil.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Timekeeper.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Gary when Carmen turns on him
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: In the third movie, the accident which caused Grandpa's paralysis is said to have happened 30 years ago. When talking to the Toy Maker, Grandpa says that his condition made him miss his daughter's birth. Even assuming she had her first child at 18, that places Carmen at 12 — far younger than she actually is.