fives’s review published on Letterboxd:
Michael is one big asshole, isn't he?
I'm exhausted. Not because I was tired of the film, but because Gofather Part II is an exhausting journey. These movies are so well made that I wasn't bored at all for three and a half hours!
The parallels between this and Part I were very clear to me, and were brilliantly executed as well. Both films show the rise of a Corleone, and the fall of another. In The Godfather, Vito's fall is serene, almost fulfilling, while Mikey's rise to power feels almost wrong. And it is wrong! This life isn't for Michael, because he cannot be as good at it as his father was.
In Part II, we get to see the rise of Vito Corleone, and we see how smart he was. And, as established in the previous film, his main concern was his family. The fall of Michael Corleone destroyed him and his relationship with his family, because he always put business before family. And when we think he is going to realize the mistakes he has made, he just screws everything up again. That is why he can't succeed. At the end of the first film, all of the deaths were of the Corleone family's enemies. In this film, some of them were from the family itself.
The writing, directing, acting, the everything, is, once again, just perfect. Outstanding film.