TheCloser79’s review published on Letterboxd:
Almost completely freed from the conventions of modern cinema, Francis Ford Coppola celebrates for the second time the career of Michael Corleone, once thought up by Mario Puzo, which he has since expanded into a complex biography and an ethic painting of several eras.
Staged calmly and broadly, Coppola always finds the right images and undertones for the melancholy from which his second part of the "Godfather" saga is knitted: It is more meandering than at the beginning, the story deepens the complexity that already exists in the predessor.
The film also lives largely on Al Pacino, whose role finally seems to match his ego. He and Coppola stage their Michael Corleone as a very empathetic character, but at the same time their interpretation is far too ambivalent at any time to slip into perverted hero worship or glorification.
"Godfather II" is at the same time the highlight and climax in those moments in which the more than three-hour epic almost merges the careers of the young Vito and the aging Michael - the external rise of the father correlates with the inner decay of the son. Cinematic duality in staging and narrative terms par excellence.
The often formulated, but still inappropriate question of whether the middle section outbid or underbid the overture can only be answered as follows: "The Godfather 1 + 2" is a big whole, and as such it should be treated.