The Godfather: Part II

The Godfather: Part II ★★★★

Just the slightest step down from The Godfather, but in comparing it to footsteps, it's more like a single step than the whole flight of stairs. The prequel-sequel hybrid narrative is really what brings things down just that much: as unique of a narrative device it is, and how well it juxtaposes its two protagonists, it sometimes feels like Coppola is biting off just a bit more than he can chew compared to the far more streamlined narrative of The Godfather. It's less of a problem in the Vito Corleone segments - which are just rapturously engaging, and in which De Niro captures Brando's presence perfectly - and more so in the main Michael story. Pacino's great once more, but the increasing tensions in the Corleone empire almost feel too massive at points. Unlike with The Godfather, I sometimes found myself wondering what Part II was really building to, and that's a weird feeling. That said, what it ultimately does build up to in those final moments is chilling. It truly boosted the entire film up a notch, and I think a rewatch down the line (perhaps less than five years from now this time) will iron out some of the problems I have. For now, it's a very worthy sequel that earns its place in the history books.

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