Asher’s review published on Letterboxd:
I'm sure to some the idea of following up The Godfather - which many consider the pinnacle of cinema - was not a wise one. But when The Godfather: Part II finally revealed itself to audiences worldwide on December 20th 1974, most - if not all - were truly mesmerized by it.
This was not just some sequel. This was a sequel with brains. A sequel that was just as - if not more - brilliant than its predecessor. It perfectly built upon the events and happenings of the original. It was exquisitely told. And it added so much more life to most of the characters from the original.
It did a marvelous job with the backstory of Don, Vito Corleone. We got to see further into his persona. We got to understand and relate to a mythical figure of crime. And the actor who portrayed young Don, Vito Corleone, delivered - not just a great performance - but a rich one. That actor was, Robert Deniro. Who would go onto win an Oscar for his first and truly legendary work in his fruitful career.
And the elements were we got to see, Don, Micheal Corleone grow from a small time crime lord into a true force to be feared and reckoned with was nothing short of stunning. Seeing him rise to riches and power just to lose everything dear and special to him was a truly rich and highly emotional viewing experience.
And the events that folded out before our very eyes throughout this spectacle was awe-inspiring and meticulously presented. And - like the original - the score was just as fitting and as haunting here as it was before. Why, it was - pretty much - the same exact score. And choosing to bring most all the score back for the sequel was a very smart move. As it added more appeal - and an underlying sadness - to the experience.
And - as with the original - the script in this one was wonderful and was directed with fine execution.
Overall, The Godfather: Part II is a magnificent work of celluloid magic. It's overflowing with immaculate beauty. Depth. Character. And is a truly arresting experience.
Coppola - as he did with the original - more than proved his gifted talents as a visionary filmmaker with this astonishing milestone...
I end my review saying this: The Empire Strikes Back may be the sequel of a lifetime... But, The Godfather: Part II is the sequel of all time.