It's funny that the posters for Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker say, "Rule the School. Save the World." The irony? Never once do we see teen spy Alex (Alex Pettyfer) ruling his school. In fact, we hardly see him doing anything teen-related. He's shown sitting in class once. And he carries some textbooks. But unlike films like Agent Cody Banks and Spy Kids, the youthful flavor implied by the tagline is completely missing.
Without a teen zest, a youthful joy or themes specific to being a young spy, Stormbreaker isn't a teen spin on James Bond movie. It is a James Bond movie with a younger actor (and no sex). The character's age brings nothing new, fun or fresh to the character or the adventure.
In fact, the script—based on the best-selling Alex Rider book series by Anthony Horowitz (who wrote the screenplay)—could have literally been recycled from a Bond movie. The only changes are that the promiscuity is deleted and a new exposition is added to explain the young age of our hero. Alex was orphaned as a child and raised by his uncle Ian (played by Ewan McGregor in a blink-and-you'll-miss-him cameo). When tragedy strikes, Alex finds out that his uncle wasn't always absent because of any bank job—but because he worked for the government. Alex is then swept into the plot of an eccentric criminal mastermind—with ironically named henchmen, like Mr. Grin—who wants to take over the world with an absurdly over-the-top plan. Alex even has his own "M" and "Q" characters.
Had we seen more of Alex Rider getting to be a teen before getting into the thick of the "save the world" part, it would have felt more removed from the Bond milieu. The film would have had more life. And the peril, danger and Alex's accomplishments ...