"The Amazing Spider-Man 2" is jam-packed with all the razzle-dazzle special effects possible. The noisy action scenes are louder, stronger and longer than ever. The quiet moments between CGI circus acts show the softer side of Spidey's life.

Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker/Spider-Man has great chemistry with lovely Emma Stone. She plays his love interest with just the right mix of sultry and wholesome. Chris Cooper and Dane DeHaan play the Big Business bad guys of the piece.

Jamie Foxx is over the top as super-charged hyper-villain Electro. A bizarre accident transforms him into a mega dynamo. His transparent blue skin crackles as he absorbs and dispels colossal amounts of electricity. He hurls lightning bolts, destroying anything and anyone in his path.

This is a film with all the standard comic book elements done pretty well. But the bloated plot is overloaded with way too much of everything. At nearly 21/2 hours, the endless battles and false climaxes get tedious. The mellow scenes go on so long they get boring. But hardcore fans will get what they came for.

—John Depko

*

'Locke' comes loose suspensefully

In the suspenseful drama "Locke," British actor Tom Hardy totally owns the screen. In fact, he's the only actor seen in the entire film.

As Ivan Locke, Hardy is seen leaving an enormous, empty construction site one night. In what could be an ad for BMW, Locke cruises easily down a moodily lit highway and begins making calls from the car's Bluetooth system.

We learn that Locke is on his way to London for some kind of emergency, and the drive will take a few hours. With the camera almost glued to his handsome bearded face, we learn bit by bit about his life from conversations with the boss, coworkers and wife, among others. Each call gives us another key to Locke's soul.

This may sound corny or dull, but in the hands of this gifted actor and a tight script from director Steven Knight (who wrote "Eastern Promises"), the story pulls you in and doesn't let go. There is humor and anger, hope and heartache all registered mainly in Locke's gentle eyes and voice. Any normal person would probably have an accident if they had to grapple with so many crises from behind the wheel.

If you aren't familiar with Hardy, you will be after this movie. From "Inception" to "Warrior" to his villainous role as Bane in "The Dark Knight Rises," this is an actor of remarkable subtlety and range.

—Susanne Perez

JOHN DEPKO is a retired senior investigator for the Orange County public defender's office. He lives in Costa Mesa and works as a licensed private investigator. SUSANNE PEREZ lives in Costa Mesa and is an executive assistant for a company in Irvine.