𝐏𝐚𝐨𝐥𝐨 𝐌𝐚𝐜𝐆𝐮𝐟𝐟𝐢𝐧’s review published on Letterboxd:
The Godfather: Part II expands what in the first chapter of the saga was considered to have already happened and - together - completes the plan for the insertion of the Corleone family into the fabric of contemporary American society. Francis Ford Coppola articulates this second "episode" on two parallel and intersecting levels which almost seem to chase each other between past and present. On the one hand, he describes how the godfather became such, starting from when he fled from Sicily to New York at a very young age. On the other, he focuses on the character of Michael, Don Vito's most cultured son, who, taking his father's place, is increasingly forced to follow his destiny as a solitary and ruthless administrator of a legacy of organized crime, financial investments and intransigent family management dynamics.
This Godfather II, more melancholy and less bloodthirsty, is in some ways even better than the previous film, precisely because of the greater ambitions, the greater screenplay work and the intention to offer a double cross-section of the American mafia phenomenon linked to the emigration of early twentieth century of many southern Italians. If the film is a masterpiece, it is above all due to Coppola: following up The Godfather was a decidedly difficult task but the director manages to solve it with extraordinary skill, creating a project that goes far beyond the dimension of a simple sequel. In this he is helped by a choral cast of enormous quality, among which it is impossible not to remember Robert De Niro as a menacing young Don Vito, able both to remember Brando and to stand up to the dark and subtle interpretation of Al Pacino. The Godfather: Part II is a masterful work, spectacular and accurate in every aspect, supported by a sinister atmosphere of Greek tragedy. The ending is in tune with the rest: Michael Corleone, wrapped in the darkness and silence of his villa, reflects on his past and on the choices that made him what he is. A lonely and damned man, at the head of a vast and very rich empire, but suffocated by the evil of which he had to be bearer.