ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA
PG-13, 122 minutes. Through today only at Westbrook. Still playing at Waterford.
Peyton Reed’s “Ant-Man” films have generally served as a kind of palate cleanser to the world-ending stakes of the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe. Paul Rudd’s Scott Lang is just an ordinary dude, or so they keep telling us, who still can’t really believe that he’s part of the Avengers at all. He gets to be the wide-eyed middle-aged fanboy of the group in those films. In his own films, he’s just living a blue-sky life in San Francisco as an affable single dad and ex-con who was once fired from Baskin Robbins and who has occasional enemies to defeat. In this third film, “AntMan and The Wasp: Quantumania,” he’s coasting on his own post-Blip celebrity with a best-selling memoir out, lots of fans around town and a generally sunny disposition — when he’s not breaking his teenage daughter Cassie (now played by Kathryn Newtown, always an enjoyable presence) out of jail for civil disobedience. There is a fun, light, sitcom-y touch to these early scenes in which he and his makeshift family, Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly), Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) and Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) sit around the table for takeout pizza. They use their particle technology to blow up the tiny pie. “I just saved us $8,” Pym declares proudly. But Ant-Man is part of the larger chess board of the MCU, so naturally he’s doomed to be sucked into the multiverse mess, setting up pieces for more Avengers films to come with the introduction of a new villain, Kang (played with a maniacal sorrow by the great Jonathan Majors). And the results are mixed.