Movie Guy: 'Spidey 2' swings into summer

Spider-Man is one of the few comic book characters that really meant something to me in my youth. I loved Spidey's high-flying adventures, and I was particularly drawn to his intelligence and the playful vibe behind his heroic efforts.

That should explain why I thoroughly enjoyed "The Amazing Spider-Man 2." Unlike some other cinematic superheroes, this new Spider-Man flick never forgets that it is first and foremost, a crowd-pleasing popcorn movie. There are certainly plenty of superb special effects and the main characters are always a lot of fun to watch, but the bottom line is that "Spider-Man 2" succeeds because our hero so easily draws the audience into his web of fun.

Andrew Garfield is back in the title role, and he's on top of the world when this latest film begins. He has become more adept at using his superhero powers, and his relationship with his girlfriend, Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) seems to be firing on all cylinders.

Of course, that would make for a pretty boring movie, so the filmmakers bring in a few supervillans for our hero to fight. Jamie Foxx plays the main bad guy, Electro, a blue-skinned mutant who can control electricity and who seems to be obsessed with Spider-Man.

I'm not a huge fan of Electro or any of the other villains who seem to only appear to keep the action quotient up to summer-movie standards. Neither of these second-tier bad guys can really test Spider-Man. I would have preferred to see Spidey match wits and webs with one truly formidable opponent. Having Spider-Man take on these lesser villans keeps the story from truly flying high.

Fortunately, this is not the case with the relationship between Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy. There is some obvious chemistry on display here, and the film blooms into life whenever Emma Stone comes on screen. Unfortunately, she spends much of the film waiting for her web-slinging boyfriend to come home, but she certainly makes an impact despite the limited screentime.

As for her boyfriend, Garfield proves once again that he was born to play this part. Garfield has an innate intelligence to him, but also a sense of mischief and he is very adept at playing Spider-Man's child-like wonder at the physical abilities. He is simply a lot of fun to watch, which really ties into my childhood memories.

"The Amazing Spider-Man 2" proves to be a great official start to the summer movie season. This is a film that gives us plenty of special effect spectacle, some nice central characters and a rousing action adventure. The film is a bit too long for my tastes and I wasn't impressed by the multiple villains, but I had a grin on my face throughout the entire movie and I left the theater looking forward to the next adventure.

What more could you ask for from a summer popcorn movie?