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Review: 'Ant-Man and The Wasp' punches above its weight

Not since Animal against the advice of Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker ingested Insta-Growth pills has a movie had as much fun with scale as "Ant-Man and The Wasp."

Among the greatest threats to the shape-shifting heroes of the Marvel sequel are windshield wipers, salt shakers and seagulls. This is surely the first movie to weaponize that most fearsome of terrors: a giant Hello Kitty Pez dispenser. In one of the film's finest moments, a loud, careening chase culminates in a dramatic fall into the ocean sounded not with an explosive splash but with a tiny ripple and a "Plink!"

In both scale and ambition, "Ant-Man and The Wasp" is an altogether more modest affair, and it's so much the better for it. Most Marvel movies strenuously insist on how much they matter — how much a carefully stitched together comic-book apparatus hangs in the balance — with only an occasional aside to acknowledge their inherent silliness. But slapstick is in the DNA of "Ant-Man and The Wasp."

For some Marvel devotees, "Ant-Man and The Wasp" will be a clever enough diversion in between the more main-event releases. But it's pretty much exactly what I'd want in a superhero movie: a funny cast, zippy action scenes and not an infinity stone in sight.

The Marvel product has, it should be noted, grown more dynamic and varied in recent years. But if you're not going to reach the mythic heights of "Black Panther," the light-hearted antics of "Ant-Man and The Wasp" are your next-best bet. As different as they are, the two films have one crucial thing in common: No outer space.

Just as "Black Panther" styled itself after a spy thriller, "Ant-Man" takes from the heist movie. The first installment in 2015 was a somewhat muddled franchise debut, thanks to a late director shuffle. Peyton Reed, who took over production on the firs