Julio Olivera’s review published on Letterboxd:
Perfectly open to the very likely possibility that, like its predecessor, this one will be more enjoyable on rewatch.
Instant reaction: you could take the entire Vito prequel out of this. It’s fan service more than anything else. I love DeNiro’s performance but, come on. Maybe I’ve been desensitized by modern day prequelitis, but we get the birth of his last name, his catchphrase, name checking of his allies and kids... I guess I should commend Coppola for not explaining the eventual underbite.
But yeah, it’s almost three and half hours. And I didn’t feel it needed to be. Would I feel differently if I had a more emotional connection to The Corleones? Probably. Right now, I just watch them fall apart with detached fascination. There are some fantastic moments, usually involving Pacino confronting someone about something shitty they’ve done. But the plot is so convoluted, it drains some of the magic out of the whole thing. Again, maybe on rewatch that’ll bother me less, once I don’t have to worry about deciphering who’s betraying who and why.
It’s also fair to note that the hype behind this movie is OUT OF THIS WORLD. It’s what everyone brings up as an example of a sequel that’s better than the original. DeNiro won an Oscar for it. It’s impossible not to go into it with extremely high expectations. Therefore, it’s hard not to be let down in one way or another.
So that’s that. I don’t know when I’ll feel like spending 3.5 hours giving this one another go, but I’m pretty committed to watching the third installment within the week.
EDIT: Downgrading this to 3 stars so I can give Part III 3.5 stars.