I haven't read the books, so unfortunately I can't decide whether it does them any justice, but I can say with confidence that the plot is a good one with some good twists. Yes, perhaps for an adult the twists were a little bit predictable, but this movie is for teens and I think it plays to them perfectly. A lot of the plot is made up of relationships, whether that's a love quadrangle or the bond between mother and daughter. it really adds to the immersion into Clary's life as you leave the film feeling like you have to know what happens to all these complex relationships. There is one big old love story, as per usual, but I have to say that this is the first time I have ever found Jamie Campbell Bower kind of hot (sorry, Jamie, I'm sure I'd melt in person). However, there is a beautiful twist nearing the end which makes the whole thing go to pot (by the way Cassandra Clare, well done on that plot point, it adds so much confusion!)
The film has a few action sequences, but surprisingly it focused a lot more on he growing tensions between the characters than the storyline. In the end the story was a pretty solid one. Again, there were parts which were quite obvious (such as how the baddie is got rid of), but there was lots of confusion as to who was really the enemy and I suspect that City of Ashes will build on this (as well as a few other elements that were left open-ended. Personally I want to keep my eye on what becomes of Simon).
There are quite a few actors too look out for here; Lily Collins does a far better job of portraying Clary than she did of Snow White, but I'm letting her off as that entire film didn't do that well so it probably wasn't her fault. Jamie Campbell Bower is the mysterious and quite-good-looking Jace, and he does a pretty good job of acting like a tough guy. Robert Sheehan's (Misfits) talents at acting like an arsehole (but we loved Nathan anyway) were entirely wasted as he was playing Simon the lovely best friend, but he gave it a good go. No-one really stood out. It was a level playing field in which the scenes were never hogged by one actor. You can judge for yourself whether that's a good thing or not.
Having seen the film I definitely want to read the books and find out what happens.. I don't think I could wait, which is always a good sign! The whole concept of a secret world hidden inside our own is a captivating one, and it certainly makes an entertaining film, just maybe not one that will set the world alight.
7 out of 10