The Godfather: Part II

The Godfather: Part II ★★★★★

Michael's arc in The Godfather is subtly tread. It is even more so in part II. This movie is always a rewarding rewatch because of his tiny character driven moments that are hidden in the complex plot. His unspoken agenda reveals itself slowly through his calculated attacks.

I used to feel this movie suffered from Brando's absence. The warmth of Vito Corleone is gone from the main story, leaving a family shattered and in pain. My perspective has changed, though, as I've come to admire his function in the flashbacks. Vito's story feels like instructions to Michael that are falling on deaf ears. To improve the life of his family, Vito is creating a foundation based on community and respect while Michael, fighting to protect his, is slowly corrupting the Corleone name. The contrasting narratives feel more like reflections of one another each time I watch it. A triumphant rise, scaling rooftops, and chilling descent. It's a bold and marvelous innovation to have two eras sharing a film, connected only by blood and theme.

I understand why Michael does everything he does. Honestly, how long do you think Fredo would live with the shame of his betrayal before making another stupid mistake? Michael's placidity is off-putting, but to him it is essential to the protection his family. Of course he cannot have both.

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