TheCloser79’s review published on Letterboxd:
Sixteen years after "The Godfather - Part II", US director Francis Ford Coppola broke his word and, contrary to previous statements, turned his mafia epic into a trilogy. He developed the screenplay again together with Mario Puzo, from whom the literature came.
"The Godfather - Part III" has certainly not turned out to be a bad film. The implications of the Vatican and the Mafia, referring to the theories about the death of Pope John Paul I, embedded in the epic about the Mafia family Corleone, is fundamentally exciting material. However, the open end of the second part would have been a much more effective conclusion and not to present Michael Corleone as a purified godfather, who wants to finally leave the half-world behind by doing business with the Vatican Bank. At times this almost seems like an apology for the special hardness of the predecessor, a cuddle course with the viewing habits of the mainstream viewer. "The Godfather - Part III" also looks more like an economic thriller, like typical, modern big budget cinema, which is based on a daring topic, but which lacks the special charm of the first two parts from the 1970s.
Nevertheless, the plot has been inflated to around 160 minutes, which for the first time leads to lengths and weaknesses in the dramaturgy. Part III has to deal with the typical difficulties of sequels that appear to be forced. Vincent Corleone is an illegitimate son of Sonny who has never been mentioned before. There is always reference to the previous events, especially from Part II, but mostly to add a maudlin component to the film, without which the other parts got along excellently. It's about Michael's relationship with his ex-wife, it's about his daughter's relationship with Vincent, it's about Michael's son who would rather (and will) become an opera singer instead of studying ... etc. Groaning. This is simply too much, applied too thickly and somehow inappropriate in the context of a “The Godfather” film. But all of this contributes enormously to stretching the film, as if you are trying to preserve the epic by doing so - which does not succeed, at least in the familiar quality. The political thriller part is watered down, something big whole, bombastic, groundbreaking cannot emerge. Despite all the technical finesse and Pacino, who is still sublime in acting, credibility somehow falls by the wayside, culminating in a shattering, but nevertheless constructed, melodramatic ending.
This is overloaded Hollywood cinema, the mingling of the story of a penitent man seeking reconciliation and the critical view of suspected mafia involvement of the Vatican does not really want to harmonize. What remains is an interesting, fairly good film with many strong individual scenes, but which does not reach the very high standards set by its predecessors and which is ok as a trilogy conclusion, but somehow unsatisfactory.