This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Kevin_Powers’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
"There was this kid I grew up with; he was younger than me. Sorta looked up to me, you know. We did our first work together, worked our way out of the street. Things were good, we made the most of it. During Prohibition, we ran molasses into Canada... made a fortune, your father, too. As much as anyone, I loved him and trusted him. Later on he had an idea to build a city out of a desert stop-over for GI's on the way to the West Coast. That kid's name was Moe Greene, and the city he invented was Las Vegas. This was a great man, a man of vision and guts. And there isn't even a plaque, or a signpost or a statue of him in that town! Someone put a bullet through his eye. No one knows who gave the order. When I heard it, I wasn't angry; I knew Moe, I knew he was head-strong, talking loud, saying stupid things. So when he turned up dead, I let it go. And I said to myself, this is the business we've chosen; I didn't ask who gave the order, because it had nothing to do with business!"
To me and probably to many other people The Godfather Part II is more of a continuation than a sequel to The Godfather. Looking at the rating of this film, clearly others feel the same way.
Many praise the performance De Niro puts out here and for me it didn't stand out, but I think that was the point in my opinion. He was smooth and subtle which lead to his breathtaking role becoming a solidifying mark in the saga. The intricate way he was able to portray the young Vito Corleone validates the portrayal Marlon Brando gave in the first film.
A lot of the characters might seem stereotypical and feel familiar on paper, but not one character is left out and each is explored in such an effective, in-depth way. For example, with Keaton not playing a simple role of a wife who always stands behind her husband but one who speaks her mind and is truly independent. It's a damn shame that Cazale wasn't alive for longer. He is so talented and the scene where Michael disowns Fredo always gives me chills. The chemistry between him and Pacino on-screen is evident throughout the film in its entirety.
I think the reason why I always come back to this film and love it so much is the clear direction Coppola had when making this. Nothing sticks out like a sore thumb and each of the actors are given the freedom to play everything out without overbearing restrictions. Every character is given a spotlight to shine. The smooth flow he maintains as well, with the film really being kicked up a notch in the second half is something I deeply admire. For having quite a long run time, each moment is interesting, meaningful, and captivating.
While I enjoyed the first very much, this one was just an absolute joy to watch, especially being able to see Michael's humanity deconstructed with every move he makes from the beginning. I thought that this character study was extremely well-done and so many of his quotes are memorable and fascinating to look back at and think about.