Dan’s review published on Letterboxd:
First time watch. It’s hard to say which I preferred, this or The Godfather, as they’re both absolute masterclasses in storytelling and filmmaking. I felt the first was a bit more streamlined, while the second felt a little more like an epic.
Obviously the score, cinematography, direction and performances are just as stellar as they were in the first film. I thought the writing may have been a notch higher in this, particularly the dialogue. There may not have been as many quotable lines as there were in the 1972 classic, but I thought there were some really good uses of subtext in this one.
A bunch more powerful moments that really shock you to the stomach and get the emotions going, but to be honest I wasn’t as enamoured with this as I hoped. It being split into two timelines, I have to say I very much preferred seeing Michael’s story continue after the events of part 1, to seeing Vito’s backstory.
I thought the film ended kinda weirdly too. I enjoyed the idea that - while he’s finally killed all of his enemies - he’s also lost everyone he loves too. But the actual final shot felt like a weird way to end things. Not story-wise but execution-wise. Maybe it needed to linger a bit longer or maybe it needed a few extra minutes to round things off. I’m not sure, I just know it felt abrupt.
We’re still talking about an absolutely brilliant film here though, so don’t think that I’m bashing on it too much.
I could see a lot of inspiration from this in Peaky Blinders, what with the whole ‘trying to make the business legitimate’ thing and some of the themes and aesthetic choices. Overall an absolute classic and formative film for the genre.