A movie franchise, written and directed by Robert Rodriguez (yes,thatRobertRodriguez), 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 3-D 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, the second film a 74% 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 film suffered from inevitable sequelitis and 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 Machetenote and the sequel Machete Kills, a full-length exploitation flick parody. Alhough Rodriquez planned Machete starring Trejo long before Spy Kids started production, the project sat stagnant for years. In the meantime Rodriquez decided to insert a more family friendly version of the character in the Spy Kids movies. Which means that, yes, Machete and Spy Kids share a universe. Try watching these films the same way again.
Absentee Actor: it can be seen, in the first movie, that only Isador "Machete" Cortez attends Gregorio and Ingrid's wedding; there's no sign of their sister Marissa. This, out of universe, is because she wasn't cast yet - or even written into the Franchise - but in universe it is unknown as to why she did not attend their wedding.
AcCENT Upon the Wrong SylLABle: In the fourth film, Cecil is constantly called SAY-sil (which comes out sounding like see-saw) except by the British dog, which pronounces it more correctly as say-SIL, even if it should be seh-SIL.
The Ace: Subverted in Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over. An overly heroic super messiah comes in at the last minute, gives a rousing speech on how everyone should work together to win the game and singlehandedly bursts through the giant gates. He is instantly shot in the chest and loses all of his 99 lives. Made even funnier by the fact that he's played by Elijah Wood, and instead of having an actual name, he's simply known as "The Guy."
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.
Which is a bit ridiculous considering there were quite a few bigger name actors to invoke Billing Displacement for.
Antagonist Title: The other meaning of the title of the first film, referring to the robotic children that Floop constructed.
The Anticipator: When the Cortezes escape their imprisonment and start roaming Floop's lair, they fall through a trap door which leads to where Floop is waiting for them, dinner spread out, and was timing how long it took them to escape. He thought it would be a little sooner.
Changeling Fantasy - Played with: The kids are raised by their real parents, but don't know they're spies until the first film. An "uncle" does turn out to be an agent assigned to protect their family, though.
The Chosen Zero: Third movie. "The Guy" - Juni has this kind of doubt...then later one guy shows up thinking he's the chosen one...and takes five steps and dies.
Channel Hop: Kind of. The first three films were released under the Dimension Films name, but the fourth will be released under the Disney name. However, Dimension Films was (at the time) distantly owned by Disney, so technically they were always Disney films even if they didn't have the Disney logo at the beginning.
The third movie has a really bad case of "Conspicuous 3D". Basically, they were banking on shoving 3D CGI in your face to sell the movie. You could make a Drinking Game out of watching the movie in 2D and taking a shot every time every time a blurry foreground object, clearly meant to be rendered in 3D, blocks half the screen.
Cross Over: Danny Trejo has stated that the Machete Cortez in Machete is what the Machete Cortez from Spy Kids does when he's not taking care of the kids. As Robert Rodriguez intended to make a Machete movie years before he was able to, he inserted a more family-friendly version of the character into Spy Kids in the meantime, so this is technically canonical.
Dangerous Device Disposal Debacle: Before Mr. Cortez was a spy, he also worked in research and development making an AI computer referred to as the Third Brain. He was told to destroy it but admits he didn't want to and is shown switching it with a walnut and smashing that while putting the real brain in his pocket. "The Third Brain Still Lives" is a key plot point because Floop got ahold of it and used it to build his Spy Kids robots.
He's briefly seen working on another brain in the third film, but dramatically smashes his entire lab table when his family calls him for help.
Deadpan Snarker: In this franchise, try and find one kid that isn't this. Good luck with that.
Description Cut: Early in 3, Juni receives miniature sharks as a present from Romero. While he dangles his fingers in their fish bowl, he comes to the part of the letter where Romero says to not do anything foolish like dangle your fingers in a fish bowl full of sharks. Cue him yanking them out just as they leap to snap at his fingers.
Donnogan Giggles has done this by the beginning of the third movie, as has The Toymaker by the end of the third and The Timekeeper by the end of the fourth. Also, Minion shows up on the kids' side at the end when they called everyone...
In fact, the only villains to not end up on the good side are Mr. Lisp, Ms. Gradenko, and Tick Tock. Given the High Heel-Face Turn trope, it's unusual because out of all the villains in the series, the only female is one of the three who don't get redeemed.
Kirk Summation: Used by Valentin in the third movie when he forgives the Toymaker for crippling him and by Rebecca and Cecil in the fourth movie when they convince The Timekeeper that his plans to travel back in time are only wreaking havoc on all the time in the world.
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. Hilarity Ensues when the two start dancing.
Sadistic Choice: Minion gets one near the end of the first movie, when he gets strapped in the Fooglie-creator; either he can activate it and wind up horribly disfigured, or he can not activate it and remain stuck in the basement, with no guarantee anyone will come back to help him. He chose to do the former.
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.
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.
Squick: At one point in the second movie, Gerti and Gary wind up in a desert (due to Carmen and Juni's medaling) and are unsure of where they are. They fall into what at first seems to be a mud pit, only to look around and see camels surrounding them. Horrified, Gerti exclaims that it is, indeed, camel poop. Skip a few seconds into the future, and you see Gary opening his mouth and spitting a big chunk of...er, "mud" out of his teeth.
Unfortunate Names: Gary and GertiGiggles? 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; rather, it's a simple case of I Work Alone).
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 Ingrid had her first child at 18, that places Carmen at 12 — far younger than she actually is.