Spy Kids: Mission Critical

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Spy Kids: Mission Critical TV Poster Image
Action-packed movie tie-in has mild violence, lots of fun.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 6 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

We think this TV show stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Educational Value

The show intends to entertain rather than to educate.

Positive Messages

A mixed bag. Although Carmen and Juni rarely agree on leadership style or strategy of attack, they do complement each other, eventually find ways to work together. Teamwork is a recurring theme, both between the sibling leaders and among the Mission Critical team as a whole. The absence of their parents means the kids are mostly on their own during missions. Though hardly realistic, this yields messages about kid power and not underestimating adversaries because of their appearance.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Carmen is strategic and cerebral, whereas Juni is impulsive and fearless. Both have good qualities that serve them as leaders, but they're far more effective together than they are on their own, especially when they recognize each other's strengths. Each team member has skills he or she brings to the group, and there are no gender stereotypes among these smart, savvy, and strong girls. Villains are motivated by power and blind allegiance, which often proves their downfall.

Violence & Scariness

The Spy Kids' encounters with villains feature kicking, punching, and weapons that shock and/or stun their victims but don't cause lasting injuries. Golden Brain uses an object to inflict punishment on his underlings when they disappoint him.


Sexy Stuff

Carmen swoons around her handsome teammate, Ace, but he doesn't seem to notice her in the same way.


No cursing, but frequent use of "butt" and "stupid."


The series is inspired by the Spy Kids movie franchise.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Spy Kids: Mission Critical is an animated Netflix series inspired by the Spy Kids movies. It's geared toward a slightly younger audience than that of the films. The story follows Carmen and Juni Cortez as they enroll in a school for teen agents and head up a team to face off against a clever villain bent on world domination. Violence is the main concern here. Animation helps take the edge off, but the characters do battle adversaries who are bigger and stronger than they are. Expect kicking and punching, plus some gadgets that shock victims. But everyone bounces back quickly from their injuries. Plus, character strengths like leadership and teamwork are clear themes in these engaging adventures.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byKristeen G. April 23, 2018

I will wait before turning it on again

My son is 6 1/2 and I thought he would be able to handle it. I looked at the reviews, knowing that there was some violence, and watched it along side him, discu... Continue reading
Adult Written byMaman12 February 26, 2019

Some worrying storylines...

My child won’t be watching this again after watching episodes where the characters take part in dangerous, potentially life threatening, competitions - who can... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byjzstarburst March 11, 2019

Decent spy show may entertain younger viewers, some action.

I have three younger siblings, who love the Spy Kids franchise, saw the show on Netflix and watched the entire first two seasons pretty much instantly. They lov... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byCaptainWonder December 30, 2018

Good themes on teamwork

Themes on teamwork. In this show we have a team of kids put together to stop evil. All sharing different backgrounds, diversity and skills. Even though each one... Continue reading

What's the story?

In SPY KIDS: MISSION CRITICAL, an unexpected threat to the Organization of Secret Spies forces its closure and the reopening of Spy Kids Academy to train the next generation of agents. After their parents, Gregorio (voiced by Christian Lanz) and Ingrid (Mira Sorvino), go into hiding along with the rest of the O.S.S. agents, Carmen (Ashley Bornancin) and Juni (Carter Hastings) are tasked with leading the Mission Critical team to thwart the efforts of the villain Golden Brain (Tom Kenny) and his counterspy agency, Sinister Wrongdoers Against Mankind's Preservation (S.W.A.M.P.). Together they assemble the most promising academy trainees -- Glitch (Caitlyn Bairstow), Ace (Nicholas Coombe), Scorpion (Nesta Cooper), and Sir Awesome (Richard Ian Cox) -- and jump into battle against Golden Brain, who has his hands full with this eager group of agents-in-the-making.

Is it any good?

This action/adventure animated series is fast-paced fun for kids who aren't quite ready for real baddies and critical combat. Golden Brain is hardly an imposing figure, and his thugs are doltish enough that they're easily manhandled by the intrepid young heroes and heroines. What violence exists isn't disturbing and never seems to have lasting impact, given that everyone seems to bounce back to normal fairly quickly. There is the issue of kids assuming adult responsibilities and holding the line between the world's freedom and its fall to a nefarious force, but even that matter has minimal effect on the show's overall humor.

Viewers who have seen the Spy Kids movies will notice that Mission Critical doesn't have a natural place within the franchise's timeline, even though it revives the Cortez family and references other major players from the first three movies in particular. If your kids are big fans of the movies, this might be an issue initially, but the story charts its own course well enough that they will enjoy it nonetheless. Newcomers to the Spy Kids concept won't get all of the movie references, but it's not enough of a factor that it'll interfere with whether or not they like the show.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about TV violence. Is violence a necessity in action/adventure stories? Does it make the story more exciting to have physical encounters between the characters? What kind of violence, if any, bothers you in animated shows like Spy Kids: Mission Critical?

  • In what ways do Juni and Carmen prove themselves as good leaders? Do their different styles ever cause problems for their team? What character strengths do you think are important in leadership?

  • How does this show's story integrate with the Spy Kids movies? Does the animation style help distinguish it from them? What other movies would you like to see revisited in a series?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love mysteries

Character Strengths

Find more TV shows that help kids build character.

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate