Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is a really, really, really, really weird movie.
Yes, the original Guardians of the Galaxy helped ease audiences who only knew Earthbound adventuring into intergalactic stories, and yeah, there's now a Marvel movie with Strange right there in the title, but there's nothing holding director James Gunn, whose manic creativity can conjure everything from the creepy, crawly Slither to the live-action Scooby-Doo movies, back this time around. The follow-up brings the ecstatic visuals, a peyote dreamgasm of colors and neural fractals, the far-out concepts -- Kurt Russell's plays Chris Pratt's dad, who is also a sentient planet with a goatee -- the humor (yes, Ego the Living Planet does have a penis), the action, owing more to a traveling carnival's Tilt-a-Whirl than Star Wars, and scenes that roll it all together. Nothing this summer will top the eyeball-popping cartoonery of Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) and Yondu (Michael Rooker) careening through jump gates. There's a story, kind of, about family and friends and history and hugs, but there are rougher patches for the full-thrust forward Guardians, which soars when the crew's standing around bullshitting amid impending doom.