It's been one year since the Pevensie's stepped into Narnia. This time they're called back to help Prince Caspian regain the throne his uncle has usurped. But 1300 years have passed since they last stepped foot in Narnia. It isn't the same place they remember. Everyone they knew is gone, invaders called Telmarines have taken over, driving the remaining Narnians into the woods and Aslan hasn't been seen since in hundreds of years.
There is more action in this movie consisting of more than one battle, which I approve of. We get to see the various fighting styles of different Narnians as well as fighting on a wider scale than the final battle of the first movie. This creates a darker overall tone.
The four Pevensies are each given equal screen time which is nice and their character development is more interesting in this movie. Peter is consumed with responsibility and his leadership role, creating tension between him and Prince Caspian. He also finds that victory is far more difficult to come by this time around. Edmund comes into his own, in terms of a warrior and sibling and in some ways his maturity overshadows Peter. Susan is actually allowed to fight alongside the boys, having command of her own archers. Lucy has the job of bringing back Aslan, her steadfastness an important aspect in bringing the Pevensies and Prince Caspian together.
The supporting characters like Trufflehunter, Nikabrik and my personal favourite, Reepicheep are well-rounded and an important addition to the cast.
I loved the sets, the detailing of the props as well as the costumes. It's the small things that help create the overall look and feel of another world and the crew definitively pulled off the look of Narnia. They also did a good job of showing how things have changed in the 1300 years since the Pevensies last visited.
The special effects are another aspect of the film and they've amazing. You won't be disappointed. The griffins, the River God, Aslan, the fauns, Reepicheep and the White Witch are just a few examples.
The darker tone may scare younger children as well as the various battle scenes. As well, the film longer than I thought necessary to set up the plot and engage in th main storyline.
The addition of a romantic flirtation wasn't needed. I expect it was only because the writers, having seen Ben Barnes and looking at the book, decided another subplot was needed to fill out the script. I'm a big fan of sticking to canon unless it absolutely contributes to the plot in a positive way and this was just a bit of fluff that catered to fan girls.
Somebody find Eli Wallach.