|This article does not cite any references or sources. (November 2010)|
|Spy Kids character|
Alexa Vega as Carmen in Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams
|First appearance||Spy Kids (2001)|
|Last appearance||Spy Kids: All the Time in the World (2011)|
|Created by||Robert Rodriguez|
|Portrayed by||Alexa Vega|
|Family||Gregorio Cortez (father)
Ingrid Avellan Cortez (mother)
Juni Cortez (younger brother)
|Relatives||Isador "Machete" Cortez (paternal uncle)
Valentin Avellan (maternal grandfather)
Helga Avallen (maternal grandmother)
Marissa Wilson (paternal aunt)
Wilber Wilson (paternal uncle)
Carmen is one of two main protagonists (the other being her brother Juni) in the films. For most of her life, Carmen had no idea her parents were secretly spies. Carmen's main concern was with her little brother Juni, whom she felt she was unfairly forced to babysit. She responded by treating Juni abusively. However, Carmen was also hiding her own secrets: in addition to skipping school to go on outings to the city without her parent's permission, she also had to deal with wearing diapers because of a bedwetting problem that she was desperate to hide from her brother.
In the first Spy Kids film, Carmen and Juni discover the truth about their parents when they are kidnapped. Though Carmen and Juni fight with each other throughout their adventure, the two of them bond and form a rapport of mutual respect. Carmen is also influenced by her real uncle Machete, who let her know that he had the same problem with his younger brother, Carmen's father. She also finds out that her brother had always been aware of her nighttime bedwetting and had kept that knowledge to himself on her mother's instructions. Carmen also develops a sense of family, and insists that if any Cortezs become involved in missions, then all of them should.
By Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams, Carmen has stopped calling her brother names, and they are able to work better as a team. However, problems still arise between them from a romantic interest Carmen develops in Gary Giggles. Gary however, has mixed emotions for Carmen. At some events, it is evident that he likes her, and at some events, it looks as if he doesn't, like when he says to Juni that Carmen is a dork. Juni tries to convince Carmen that Gary is trouble, but to no avail. Later, Carmen, after a conversation with Gary's little sister Gerti, changes her mind about Gary and convinces Gerti to turn against her father, who has an evil plan for world domination.
In Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over, Carmen, an experienced hacker, goes on a quest to shut down the Toymaker's evil video game Game Over, which enslaves its users. However, she makes it only as far as Level 4, before being kidnapped and held prisoner by the Toymaker. Juni comes to her rescue and they continue on her quest to shut down the game. Carmen is absent for most of the movie, and she only appears near the film's climax.
Alexa Vega reprised the role in Spy Kids: All the Time in the World as a supporting character. Carmen and Juni provide guidance to the new agents, Rebecca and Cecil. During the gap between the 3rd and 4th film, Juni left the O.S.S., leaving Carmen feeling betrayed and abandoned. When he does return during the film, the two are extremely antagonistic toward each other (much like they were in the first film), before eventually reconciling and becoming a team again. Carmen and Juni reopen the Spy Kids program as its new co-directors.