Tag Archives: Marvel

‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’: What parents need to know (for The Buffalo News)

Film Frame-Marvel Studios

One of my latest Buffalo News parents guides looked at Marvel’s “Ant-Man and the Wasp.”

Marvel has it all figured out. Just a couple of months after the release of the rather somber “Avengers: Infinity War” comes the lightest entry in the studio’s history. “Ant-Man and the Wasp” is an action-comedy with an emphasis on comedy, making it a unique addition to the Marvel canon.

A perfectly cast Paul Rudd returns as the superhero with the ability to shrink — and expand. He’s joined by Evangeline Lilly as his crime-fighting partner. With more laughs than most summer comedies, a tremendous supporting cast (Michael Douglas, Laurence Fishburne, a scene-stealing Michael Peña, Walton Goggins, and, best of all, Michelle Pfeiffer), and an engaging story, “Ant-Man and the Wasp” is a July family treat.

What’s the story? Nearing the end of a stint on house-arrest, Scott Lang — a.k.a., Ant-man — balances being a father and a superhero, while also helping scientist Dr. Hank Pym and his daughter, Hope, search for their long-missing wife/mother.

What is it rated? “Ant-Man and the Wasp” is rated PG-13 for some sci-fi action violence and, like its predecessor, includes some mild profanity. There is nothing here more worrisome for parents than most PG-13 entries.

What’s the ideal viewing age? With a sometimes complicated plot and some adult themes, “Ant-Man and the Wasp” is most sensible for kids ages 7 or older. The film clocks in at about two hours, which is just right for a superhero flick, and there are ample dialogue-heavy moments for bathroom breaks.

Will my little one sit through it? Kids, tweens and teens should have a blast watching Rudd and Lilly take on bad guys in both super small and, in Ant-Man’s case, super-large form. Minute for minute, it’s as enjoyable as any Marvel film. This is a summer movie that holds appeal for pretty much all age groups, and counts as an improvement on its so-so predecessor.

Is there anything else parents need to consider? If there is worry for parents, it’s only that kiddos might be even more stoked to dip into Marvel’s back catalog of cinema, few of which have this film’s ultra-fun, low-stakes feel. There are not many comic-book films that see shrunken superheroes flying on the back of insects, and that’s a bummer.

‘Avengers: Infinity War’: What parents need to know (for The Buffalo News)

I’m excited to share something new and (hopefully) ongoing, a parents cinema guide for The Buffalo News. First up, the mighty “Avengers: Infinity War.”

When 2018 draws to close, it’s likely that “Avengers: Infinity War” will rank at the top of the year’s box office chart. It’s easy to see why as this, the 19th film set in the Marvel universe, features a who’s who of superheroes: Iron Man, Spider-Man, Black Panther, Hulk, Thor, Black Widow, the Guardians of the Galaxy, and many, many others. After 10 years of buildup, the Avengers and their allies must finally face the mighty, planet-conquering purple powerhouse known as Thanos.

The action figures and Lego sets are out, the promotional push is in full swing, and kids are hungry to start the summer movie season. There are, however, a number of reasons why parents may want to hit the breaks.

First off, is it any good?

In most ways, “Avengers: Infinity War” is Marvel-by-numbers. It is loud, full of quips, far too busy, and pretty gosh-darn enjoyable. This is part one of a two-film saga, and as such, it lacks the satisfying finish of Marvel entries like “Black Panther” and “Guardians of the Galaxy.” But it’s certainly entertaining popcorn fare.

What’s the ideal viewing age? And what ages should avoid seeing this?

Many kids younger than age 10 or so have seen previous Marvel efforts. If they have, chances are there is nothing in “Infinity War” they haven’t already experienced: some non-F-word swearing, a few brutal deaths (one just minutes into the film), some modest innuendo, and much talk of Earth’s destruction.

This means the film is a bit dark for kids 9 and younger. Compared to the first Avengers entry, and follow-up “Age of Ultron,” “Infinity” is a more somber, grim affair. I would advise parents with young children to see it first, and if it seems too rough, hold off the wee ones for later home viewing. (That’s the plan for my 7-year-old.)

Is it really 149 minutes long?

Oh yes. And this, more than the content, is one of the main reasons why “Infinity War” is a tough call for parents. It’s a long time for kids to sit, and the cross-cutting between characters and locations might be a tad confusing. Whatever one’s age, when the end credits roll it’s hard not to feel a bit achy and sick of sitting.

Are there any positive messages?

One of the nicer elements of the Marvel films — and quite unlike the ugly, pitch-black DC films like “Batman v. Superman” and “Justice League” — is the spirit of camaraderie. That paragon of positivity, Captain America, explains that the Avengers “don’t trade lives,” and this concept is one that parents can take to heart. In “Infinity War,” the life of each member of the team matters.

Great – but will kids be upset at the conclusion?

Probably, and adults may feel the same. Without venturing into spoiler territory, “Infinity War” ends on a downbeat, “Empire Strikes Back”-esque cliffhanger. And while we can guess that many of the impacted characters will return in part two, kids may be stunned at who is “gone,” so to speak, at film’s end. Parents should be ready to explain that part two should fix things.