James does the character a fair tribute. This film succeeds largely due to her great impression of Streep's original interpretation. Like the best retracings of characters, though, she paints enough outside the lines so we get to enjoy some amount of growth, even if we know where her story leads. Lily James deserves better than a sequel like this, even if she helps to elevate it to an above average film.
Wright has made a film that plays a good contrast to Christopher Nolan's superior Dunkirk. We see the threat that looms at home before it strikes abroad. So much is at stake, the tension is unbearable, yet Churchill finds a way. Good Lord does he ever.
If you like zombies, but never tried a Jane Austen story, let this be your bridge. If you like Jane Austen and your boyfriend / husband likes the zombies, this is probably the closest you'll get to enjoying something together. Or, if you are like your wife and me, you'll hope they make a sequel.