The Godfather: Part II

The Godfather: Part II ★★★★½

A good sequel is something I personally feel isn't 'uncommon' in film, in fact, I'd say there are plenty of 'good', heck even 'decent' sequels around for everyone to check out, across countless genres.

However, a 'worthy' sequel is an entirely different story in my mind.

A worthy sequel isn't just one that builds on the first film (assuming it itself is great enough to warrant a continuation) but it's one that holds all the qualities of that film and carries that forward, only expanding out the greatness that already existed prior. It logically builds on everything & providing more to the story without becoming redundant.

The Godfather: Part II is one of the few 'worthy' sequels I can place on a list.

I put off watching this for the longest time, not just because of the length which seems terrifying with all its 202 minutes to play around with, but also because of how much The Godfather itself was to soak in as an experience. Each film is their own animal entirely, with so much to look into it could drive you mad.

The Godfather: Part II is a whole lot of movie, too much even, but I can't help but think that this doesn't just beautifully continue the story of the original which stands as an all-time classic. In a way, I think it's slightly superior. Francis Coppola had the insurmountable task of continuing the story of one of cinema's greatest achievements and he somehow finds the formula to successfully carrying on that legacy on practically every level. He expands the story outwards but also manages to make everything feel reserved & contained, as intimate as the first entry.

Here the story is broadened, it's more complex, more ambitious & larger-than-life across the board. Granted, it does get a bit messy at points due to how scattered this can feel in terms of structure, however, it always manages to bounce itself back on course. In spite of the runtime the momentum this movie builds is simply astonishing.

Coppola captures not just the crime-ridden, gang-run New York city of the 1900s to perfection but his attention to detail in regards to Italian culture is something that consistently left me in awe. Obviously, this is a world that Coppola understands better than almost anyone (who isn't Martin Scorsese, of course) and it's shown in spades. From the aesthetic presentation all the way to the sounds, whether that be the musical cues or sheer level of noise he provides to recreate the city environment. The narrative also ventures outside the United States a tad more this time around and when it does there is a clear level of understanding of that time period that I personally adored. Displaying not just good insight into historical events but genuine care in wanting to ground this story to be as raw, and as real as possible.

That reality only aided the key dynamic that makes this story captivating to me; the family dynamic. Witnessing the dissension of the Leone family isn't something necessarily original, as the first film uses that journey to carry itself forward. Coppola does manage to take that narrative that may come across as repetitive and brings out a story of true tragedy, loss & betrayal.

Despite our characters having all the desires, we're always presented with the idea that they always feel as if internally, they're empty, or missing something crucial to complete themselves. There's an emotional battle with identity that this film explores that truly hit me because it's probably a fear we all have in the back of our minds. Losing who we are to become something we truly at our essence are not destined to.

None of this is to say that is the story's only purpose, because it carries the legacy of its prior entry forward wonderfully.

Much of the narrative hinges on the legacy of Vito Corleone as our key character consistently trying to mold into a figure that he fails to live up to. Al Pacino channels aspects of Marlon Brando's original performance and retains some of the elements of his iconic character, but always makes his role his own. He is Michael Corleone, and you always feel that despite the lofty expectations. Nothing about what he does feels like an imitation, this feels like a character acting out in his father's shadow & the path the character is taken on is insanely gripping. Michael to me was a broken man, pretending to be something he at his core isn't despite his legacy & made me even more excited to see where this all concludes.

The aiding side characters all play their roles exceptionally well too, with some pretty neat cameos and returns that deliver that nostalgia a sequel generally needs. None of it felt forced or out of place, and when it is used I thought it only added to the emotion of the story.

Even with a lack of action or overt suspense that many other crime films have to keep you invested never hinders what Coppola presents for me. The Godfather has a unique quality with not just its presentation & acting, but the emotional crux of each of the characters involved within it that makes it all so captivating.

More than a 'crime film' this is a family drama, and one of the best I can recall. It is a humongous amount of emotional weight to swallow but the journey is so worthwhile.

Sorry for the gigantic rant, but films like this are always a joy for me to talk about. There's so much passion packed in between each frame & scene that I find myself gushing for hours on end when I think about projects like this.

The Godfather: Part II is everything a sequel needs to be. It takes for a classic story in a logical but fascinating direction and leaves room for an extraordinary amount of potential for its conclusion, which I plan on fairly seeing soon. To those of you who actually read this much appreciated, and I'd hug you if it weren't at the risk of public health.