Sorry - long (spoilery) post.
I'm one of those people who loved TLOU and thought it absolutely did not need a sequel. I'd hoped the inevitable sequel would be completely removed from Joel and Ellie because to me their arcs resolved really neatly in 1. I don't think TLOU has a "cliffhanger" ending, it's thematically pretty airtight - what happens after Joel's lie to Ellie isn't interesting, it represents a culmination of the developments throughout the prior game.
So I was real glad to see Joel die at the start - thought we'd be moving on - less glad to see him hovering over Ellie and Abby throughout the game in some form or another.
I think TLOU2 succeeds in what it wants to do, but sadly what it wants to do is not that interesting/engaging/novel - complicating the utility and morality of revenge is only interesting to a point and has been done loads better elsewhere. It's also not helped by the pacing and structure like others have said which are both maddening and confusing. Halfway through Abby's part I had to stop and figure out where I was in the timeline of flashbacks and flashforwards and plotlines running concurrent to Ellie's actions from the first half.
Definitely think it's representational politics, though flawed, are cool as heck. It's great to see so many different kinds of people in a game, a shame they're all put through the wringer though, and at times it defo feels a bit contrived.
I have to say, though, seeing how toxic the response to this game has been has made me reconsider some things. Made me like it a bit more. I can't believe the attachment people have to Joel and the sense of entitlement about their perception of his death. My favourite thing about TLOU was how it complicated player/character identification - how Joel acts in ways that I, as the player, found abhorrent. Turns out loads of people just loved cracking skulls, shooting doctors and holding up Joel as some sort of hero. In that way, the fact its pissed off so many people, I'm starting to think TLOU2 is actually doing some more interesting things than I thought - asking questions (intentionally or otherwise) about what it means to identify (or absolutely not identify) with the character you're controlling and the story being told. It might be a clunky and not hugely interesting story in its own right, but the response has been fascinating.