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Ant-Man and the Wasp

Marvel offers a brief break from universe-destroying supervillains in this light flick

© Marvel Studios An urgent new mission finds the Ant-Man fighting alongside The Wasp to uncover secrets from their past.

Teaming up to help Captain America fight the Avengers, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd: Mute) broke federal law. He escapes prison on a plea bargain: two years of house arrest and no hanging with superheroes.
    For a year and 51 weeks, Lang has kept his promise. At home, he helps fellow former felons launch the X-Con security company and sets up elaborate games to entertain his daughter.
    His enforced tranquility is shocked by a memory that seems to belong not to him but to the wife of former mentor Hank Pym (Michael Douglas: Unlocked). Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer: Murder on the Orient Express) was lost to the quantum realm. Lang calls Pym on a hidden cell phone, breaking his probation.
    He breaks probation again when Pym and Van Dyne’s daughter Hope (Evangeline Lily: Little Evil) kidnap him. In Pym’s secret lab, Lang learns that Van Dyne may be alive, trapped in the quantum realm. Her family thinks Lang’s flashes of insight can help locate and extract the missing woman.
    Can Lang forsake Ant-Man? Can he stay at least one step ahead of the FBI?
    Breezy and funny, Ant-Man and the Wasp is a popcorn flick for summer break. It falls firmly in the comedy category, sustaining Marvel’s jokey rep. Lots of slapstick humor and not too many shticks keep family audiences chuckling. Director Peyton Reed (Ant-Man) shines brightest in comic action sequences, building a frenetic energy that’s exciting.
    As for plot, it’s overstuffed. Three antagonists, all underdeveloped, pop up when convenient to the story. Reed gives each too little to do. Pfeiffer gets minimal screen time. The talents of Laurence Fishburne and Walton Goggins, both great actors, are underused. Even Lang’s relationship with his daughter, the centerpiece of the film, is shortchanged. It’s a shame to waste such a deep bench of talent.
    Reed does, however, expand the roles of Scott’s former felon pals. This reformed trio is comically brilliant and solidly entertaining. Best prison bud Luis (Michael Peña: A Wrinkle in Time) steals the show with his comic storytelling and unflappable good nature.
    The bits are funny, the cast works well together and the pacing is quick. As long as you don’t think about the plot too deeply, the film is a breeze. As with all Marvel movies, stay through the credits to enjoy two fun teasers.
Good Action • PG-13 • 118 mins.

~~~ New this Week ~~~
Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation
    Supernatural hotelier Dracula (voiced by Adam Sandler) hosts vacations for all sorts of monsters, but he rarely gets to travel. His family creates the occasion by booking the whole monster crew aboard a cruise.
    The monsters have a blast, and Dracula catches the eye of ship’s captain Ericka (Kathryn Hahn). But she has a secret that may keep her and Dracula apart.
    The third of the animated Hotel Transylvania films will entertain little ones and possibly annoy adults. Expect broad humor and bodily function jokes, not character development or subtle storylines.
Prospects: Flickering • PG • 97 mins.

    Will Ford (Dwayne Johnson) had a storied career as a hostage negotiator until an injury ended his roll. Now a security consultant specializing in skyscrapers, he’s called to consult on The Pearl, the world’s tallest building, complete with high-tech security and secrets galore. Anticipating a bright future, he moves his wife and children into The Pearl.
    When terrorists set the building ablaze and frame Ford for the crime, the veteran must evade the authorities to rescue his family. Can he save the day?
    Of course he can; he’s The Rock.
    Dwayne Johnson’s filmography is heavy on action flicks requiring little thought. If you’re a fan of that style, Skyscraper is your ticket.
Prospects: Flickering • PG-13 • 102 mins.