We saw it last night and I must say that I liked the first better, but considering most sequels+ are not are good as the first ones, it as good. I completely agree with Heather on the Helmsdeep battle and Ents! WOW!
I can speculate as to why they expanded on the Faramir/Frodo/Sam scenes, but I'm not going to.
I'm getting the first, and will now be buying the 2nd when it comes out.. and the 3rd as well