Rob’s review published on Letterboxd:
Still blows 1 out of the water every time for me. It just feels like a much more potent examination of power. The Cuba subplot and the senate subcommittee hearing really cement this for me. Michael giving Fredo that kiss “I knew it was you” just as the rebels are storming Havana. It’s like how long can you steal from people before you face the consequences? It shows you the decadence of Batista’s Cuba completely fall apart in an instant, the American investors scurrying onto ships like rats. Tattaglia seeing his brother and completely folding because he remembers he has family on the outside and realizes what can be done to them.
The immigrant subplot with young Vito is also marvelous. Of course these power structures that left him orphaned recreate themselves through him, he doesn’t know any other way! De Niro transforms Vito from this quiet sick kid to someone who just has a knack for taking what they want to this powerful figure that Brando so effortlessly brought to life in 1. Miraculous that Coppola was able to put anything this ambitious, with so much visual splendor, and so dramatically rich together.