Aquaman

Warner Bros.

A sprawling, lush spectacle, this DC Comics adaptation is also overlong, overcomplicated and, at times, just plain dumb. After washing up on shore wounded, the queen of Atlantis (Nicole Kidman) is nursed back to health by a lighthouse keeper (Temuera Morrison) whom she weds and with whom she has a son before being forced to return underwater to the arranged marriage she was trying to flee in the first place. Once grown (Jason Momoa), the couple’s superhero offspring reluctantly gets mixed up in the politics of his mother’s kingdom where the realm’s vizier (Willem Dafoe) and a spunky princess (Amber Heard) are trying to stop its current sovereign (Patrick Wilson), the protagonist’s half-brother, from launching a war against the entire human race. While director James Wan’s film showcases long-term marital fidelity and elevates mercy over vengeance while also deploring the ravages of marine pollution, the dialogue in David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick and Will Beall’s screenplay is sometimes so obvious viewers can finish characters’ sentences for them. Though some unnamed set of gods are fleetingly mentioned, it’s the occasional salty talk that may give the parents of teens pause. Possibly acceptable for older adolescents. Constant harsh but mostly bloodless violence, compelled bigamy, a couple of mild oaths, about a dozen crude and crass terms. A-III; PG-13

Mary Poppins Returns

Disney

Delightful sequel to the 1964 classic finds the omnicompetent nanny of the title (Emily Blunt) swooping into Depression-era London to help the now-grown brother (Ben Whishaw) and sister (Emily Mortimer) she tended as children face a family crisis. He’s a recent widower whose three children (Pixie Davies, Nathanael Saleh and Joel Dawson) need more methodical care than that provided by their well-meaning but overtaxed housekeeper (Julie Walters) while she will require a nudge to end up in the arms of the local lamplighter (Lin-Manuel Miranda), as she’s clearly destined to do. There’s also a financial threat looming over the household since a seemingly friendly banker (Colin Firth) is actually scheming to foreclose on the mortgage. Sprightly set-piece musical numbers, the main character’s engaging blend of common sense and whimsical magic, and brief but thoroughly entertaining turns by Meryl Streep, Angela Lansbury and Dick Van Dyke make director Rob Marshall’s loose adaptation of material from books by P.L. Travers a first-class treat for all but the youngest and most skittish members of the family. Characters in peril, brief, extremely mild risque humor. A-I; PG

Second Act

STX

Appealing workplace comedy posits that street smarts should rate at least as highly as an educational pedigree. Director Peter Segal and screenwriters Justin Zackham and Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas have turned the plucky old formula sideways, with the result that their heroine (Jennifer Lopez) is not facing predations such as sexual harassment or a phalanx of poisonous, scheming co-workers, but rather dealing with crises rooted in self-confidence and her difficult past. After her social media-whiz godson (Dalton Harrod), unbeknownst to her, creates a largely imaginary new resume for her, including a Harvard degree and a stint in the Peace Corps, she’s hired by a Manhattan cosmetics firm (headed by Treat Williams) where she gets into a rivalry with a fellow executive (Vanessa Hudgens) who is also the boss’ daughter. Deceptions pile up, as the plot formula dictates, until everyone finds ways to reveal their own truths, gain emotional release and make their lives better. Possibly acceptable for mature adolescents. References to sexual activity and an out-of-wedlock birth, some crude language. A-III; PG-13

Bumblebee

Paramount

Above-average installment in the sci-fi action “Transformers” franchise, set in 1987, charts the friendship between the shape-shifting alien robot-auto of the title, a yellow Volkswagen Beetle when in car form, and a vulnerable but plucky teen (Hailee Steinfeld). Still mourning her deceased father, whose mechanical skills she inherited, she finds solace in her bond with her newfound amigo whom she protects from hostile humans (most prominently John Cena as a secret government agent), though she can’t shield him from the threat posed by visitors from outer space. Gadgetry and the brawling of outsized extraterrestrials continue to be the hallmarks of the series, despite an overlay of Eighties nostalgia and soft sentiments, including an innocent romance between the heroine and her love-smitten next-door neighbor (Jorge Lendeborg Jr.). Working from a script by Christina Hodson, director Travis Knight revisits familiar themes of alienated, isolated youth and the tendency to fear what we fail to understand. Possibly acceptable for older teens. Much stylized violence with slight gore, at least one use of profanity, about a half-dozen milder oaths, a sexual reference, a couple of crude and a few crass terms. A-III; PG-13 

USCCB Office for Film & Broadcasting classifications:

A-I – General patronage

A-II – Adults and adolescents

A-III – Adults

A-IV – Adults, with reservations

L – Limited adult audience

O – Morally offensive

Motion Picture Association of America ratings:

G – General audiences; all ages admitted

PG – Parental guidance suggested; some material may not be suitable for children

PG-13 – Parents are strongly cautioned to give special guidance for attendance of children under 13; some material may be inappropriate for young children

R – Restricted; under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian

NC-17 – No one under 17 admitted