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20180629T1107 0401 CNS MOVIE REVIEW ANT MAN 800Paul Rudd stars in a scene from the movie "Ant-Man and the Wasp." (CNS photo/Marvel Studios) NEW YORK (CNS) -- There's plenty of humor and action in the fast-paced sci-fi adventure "Ant-Man and the Wasp" (Disney).

What's noticeably lacking is any exposition or guidance for those not already familiar with the characters and their relationships from 2015's "Ant-Man" and 2016's "Captain America: Civil War." While the film can still be enjoyed on its own, newcomers will feel somewhat left out as a result.

One example of the potential confusion awaiting novices is the fact that, when we first encounter him, Scott Lang aka Ant-Man (Paul Rudd, who also co-wrote the script) is approaching the end of a two-year sentence of house arrest. That's the consequence, we learn, at least by implication, of his activities in the latter of the two previous movies. But specifics on what exactly he did are not shared.

Whatever his wrongdoing, Scott -- whose alter ego, thanks to a high-tech suit, can shrink or grow at will -- is now anxious to focus on serving his time and raising his young daughter, Cassie (Abby Ryder Fortson).

Scott's good resolutions are undermined, however, when his predecessor as Ant-Man, Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), and Pym's daughter, Hope (Evangeline Lilly), aka the Wasp, draw him into their quest to rescue Hope's mother, Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer), the original Wasp. Janet been stuck for decades in the Quantum Realm, a kind of subatomic limbo.

To retrieve her, the trio will have to do battle with two principal enemies: Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins), a petty gangster out to profit from Pym's technological breakthroughs, and Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen), a victim of Pym's past misdeeds. They'll also have to stay one step ahead of Scott's jailers, led by S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Jimmy Woo (Randall Park).

Altruism and family bonds are showcased in director Peyton Reed's Marvel Comics adaptation. As flashbacks show, for instance, Janet's plight came about when she voluntarily entered the Quantum Realm, knowing she would not be able to return, because it was the only available means of averting a major catastrophe. Scenes illustrating the warm affection shared by Scott and Cassie, moreover, are likely to charm audiences.

The screenplay -- on which Rudd collaborated with Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Andrew Barrer and Gabriel Ferrari -- also sends a clear message about ends not justifying means. Thus Ghost, who is suffering from a molecular malaise, believes that the energy Janet has absorbed during her exile will cure her, and is willing to endanger Janet's life to achieve this. The dialogue consistently labels this attitude morally unacceptable.

Less congenial for viewers of faith is the fact that the central romance between Scott and Hope, while it represents a positive partnership, develops in the wake of Scott's split with Cassie's mom, Maggie (Judy Greer). Maggie, too, is shown to have moved on from their marriage.

Though these factors are kept in the background, they still contribute to ruling this out for impressionable kids. Given its relatively restrained mayhem and infrequent lapses into cussing, though, "Ant-Man and the Wasp" is possibly appropriate for older teens.

The film contains much stylized violence, acceptability of divorce, a couple of uses each of profane, crude and crass language, several milder oaths and occasional wordplay. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 -- parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

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Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.

alertAt the Spring Assembly of the U.S. bishops, Cardinal Joseph Tobin suggested that a delegation ofbishops go to the border to see for themselves what was happening to newly arrived immigrants, families and children. On July 1 and 2, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. bishops conference, and five other bishops conducted a pastoral visit to the diocese of Brownsville, Texas. Stops included Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle with the community, a visit to anHHS/OBR Shelter and Mass for the families there, a visit to the Customs and Border Patrol processing center in McAllen, TX, and a press conference at the end of their visit. Catholic News Service accompanied the bishops on their border trip. 

  1. Backgrounder and analysis of the bishops’ trip to the border: Cardinal DiNardo told CNS, “You cannot look at immigration as an abstraction when you meet” the people behind the issue.
  2. At final press conference, Cardinal Daniel Dinardo said the church was willing to be part of any conversation to find humane solutions because even a policy of detaining families together in facilities caused “concern.”
  3. Bishops serve soup to immigrant families at a center run by Catholic Charities and listen to their stories. Scranton Bishop Joseph Bambera said he found hope in hearing the people in the room talk about what’s ahead. They didn’t speak of making money but of finding safety for their children, he said, driven by “the most basic instinct to protect your family.”
  4. At an opening Mass he Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle-National Shrine near McAllen, Texas, Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville told Massgoers, “The bishops are visiting here so they can stop and look and talk to people and understand, especially the suffering of many who are amongst us,”

A delegation of U.S. bishops goes on a fact-finding mission at the U.S.-Mexican border to learn more about Central American immigration detention.

Following their visit to an immigrant detention center, U.S. bishops said they are even more determined to call on Congress for comprehensive immigration reform.