Ant-Man and the Wasp

Funnier, weirder, more tender and fully fleshed-out, it’s all about family in this winning sequel to one of Marvel’s more offbeat pictures. Comparatively low-key but charming much in the same manner as Spider-Man: Homecoming was, its most inspired touches are the quirkier ones: Hank Pym storing his collection of souped-up vehicles in a vintage Hot Wheels Rally Case; a giant ant playing an electronic drum kit or taking a leisurely bath in the tub at Scott Lang’s house; a family drive-in movie night with a laptop as the big screen; Pym’s lab miniaturizing to rolling carry-on luggage size, complete with a retractable pull-handle! Paul Rudd is perfectly dopey and yet sincerely endearing while interacting with daughter Cassie (Abby Ryder Fortson), while Evangeline Lilly looks unusually hot with bug wings and gets the best action scenes. Marvel baddie The Ghost is reinvented here as a desperate yet sympathetic victim of an old S.H.I.E.L.D. experiment gone awry, with Hank’s former “Goliath” cohort Bill Foster (Lawrence Fishburne) having taken her under his wing. And Michael Peña provides the bulk of the laughs as Lang’s friend and business partner Luis. But as original Ant-Man Hank Pym, Michael Douglas is the central figure, embarking on an urgent mission into the microscopic acid trip of the Quantum Realm to find his lost wife Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer), the original Wasp. Speaking of acid trips, Stan Lee has one of his funniest five-second cameos yet. As if you wouldn’t already, stay for at least the first post-credits scene, which relates directly to the cliff-hanging climax of Avengers: Infinity War and presumably sets up some aspect of the follow-up. And, oh yeah, for all you aging hipsters: don’t blink or you’ll miss Scharpling & Wurster.