More_Badass’s review published on Letterboxd:
From New York to Havana, past to present, The Godfather Part 2 is an exercise in contrast. Two storylines thematically juxtapose Vito’s fateful rise and Michael’s tragic downfall, a truly epic narrative that dwarfs the first film in its complexity.
Vito’s story - from Sicilian childhood to burgeoning crime boss - acts as a wonderfully compelling prequel. We witness circumstance and encounters mold the young immigrant into the Don we know so well, through a lively pace and quaint period atmosphere. Following Vito’s struggles on the streets of New York sharply accentuates Michael’s destructive tenure as Don. Humble legacy versus violent feud, the bustle of Little Italy versus Cuba and Miami and Nevada, the bonds of blood and culture versus familial strife and absolute power corrupting absolutely.
In all aspects, Part 2 is more ambitious and grander than the classic original. But I found the first Godfather’s family dynamic and focused character study of Michael to be a tad more engrossing.