Grade: B+
Entire family: Almost (parental discretion advised)
2018, 118 min., Color
Action sci-fi-comedy
Marvel Studios
Rated PG-13 for some sci-fi action violence
Aspect ratio: 2.39:1 widescreen
Featured audio: DTS-HDMA 7.1
Bonus features: B-
Includes: Blu-ray, Digital Code
Amazon link

We’ve gotten to the point where we know a Marvel superhero movie is going to be good, just as surely as we know that legendary Stan Lee is going to turn up in a cameo. Ant-Man and the Wasp is another solid entry in what’s becoming a long line of solid Marvel productions. A little less dark and violent than some of the Marvel movies, it’s also one that’s close to being appropriate for the whole family. It’s just a question of where parents draw the line with sci-fi violence.

Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly click pretty well together as the title characters, and if you don’t happen to have seen (or remember) Captain America: Civil War, not to worry. There’s enough exposition included for you to have an idea of why Scott Lang (Ant-Man) is currently wearing an anklet and serving a two-year sentence under house arrest. In fact, the plot of Ant-Man and the Wasp is much easier to follow than any of the Avengers films, which is another reason why children younger than 13 can also enjoy this one. It’s not just miniaturization they’ll see, but mega-enlargement as well, and that’s fun for any age.

Former S.H.I.E.L.D. scientist Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and his daughter, Hope (Lilly), have opened a tunnel to the quantum realm, where Hope’s mother had been lost years ago after shrinking to sub-atomic particle size and going there voluntarily to save the world. Because Scott had also been to the quantum realm, he begins having flashes that suggest to them all that Hope’s mother may still be alive.

The plot follows this trio as they try to find the part(s) needed to strengthen their connection to the quantum realm so they can go back there and hopefully rescue Janet—all while trying to dupe FBI agent Jimmy Woo (Randall Park, Fresh off the Boat) into thinking he’s still at home under house arrest. Michelle Pfeiffer reprises her role as Janet, while Laurence Fishburne turns up again as an old friend of Hank’s who had also worked on the miniaturization project.

Two villains turn up: Sonny Burch (Walter Goggins), a minor criminal looking to swipe Pym’s technology so he can sell it on the black market, and Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen), a character who can phase through objects and threatens the team’s mission.

See? It’s far less confusing than the typical Avengers film! For a change the mission is saving a person rather than saving the planet, and while it’s tonally lighter than some of the other Marvel films, the special effects are just as terrific. Kids will especially delight in seeing Pym shrink down his whole building into wheeled airplane carry-on size and walking away with it like a piece of luggage, then setting up shop again. Don’t overthink this by wondering how he gets electricity, sewer drainage, gas, and other services. Just go with the flow, and you’ll find Ant-Man and the Wasp lots of fun. And it’s mild enough that I would guess that first graders and up would enjoy this one without one atomic subparticle of childhood trauma.

Language: No f-bombs and fewer than ten lesser swearwords (“shit,” “goddamn”)

Sex: One passionate, fully clothed make-out scene, is all

Violence: Everything is macro except for several people being tasered at close range

Adult situations: Nothing really—no drinking and smoking, no seedy scenes, just wholesome heroics

Takeaway: Ant-Man hasn’t been getting the love that other Marvel superheroes have enjoyed, but it’s only a matter of time, because this guy is on the verge of breaking out