The Godfather: Part II

The Godfather: Part II ★★★★½

I love every individual scene in this movie, but I've always felt the intended juxtaposition between the Vito scenes and the Michael scenes never fully registers. Instead it just plays out like one half continuation of the first, and the other half fan service - Godfather: Vito Rising. I think either half could exist on its own, and that neither really benefit from being part of the same bill - with one exception. Vito's decisions were to strengthen his family and friends first, his coffers second, whereas Michael acts for his business at the expense of his family. There's an elegance and a legitimacy to Vito's mannered dealings, while Michael gets increasingly ghoulish (personified by Pacino's increasingly hunched and Nosferatu-like posture throughout) as he struggles to maintain an increasingly gaudy (see Part III) and disingenuous industry. Of course, we already knew that by remembering Brando's resonance, and the scenes in Sicily feel a little to reminiscent of Michael's fatal pilgrimage there in the first. From the performances to the cinematography it's all great, but it feels a little too arbitrary and strung together to really have the impact Coppola's landmark original. This Hyman was already popped.