Whoever came up with the saying that nothing ever beats the original obviously has not seen The Godfather Part II. It is, with all respect to the first movie, indeed the better half.
Without going along the linear techniques of presenting the stories, The Godfather Part II gave the audience an entirely new experience. I believe that the problem with sequels are that they try to be so tight-knit with the original, that it loses the essence of being a separate film. This movie, however, embraces that individuality and captures the heart of any Godfather fan out there.
This film took the risk in devising the plot in an unconventional way. The stories are almost always cut at the most gripping parts, and then shifted back to a flashback of the past alluding to the events happening in the present. Although plot styles like this aren’t new to us, most viewers are suckers for this kind of approach. To me, at least, it allows us as the audience an entirely interactive experience by letting us “solve” the puzzle pieces ourselves. In contrast to a linear, traditional way of presenting cinema, this alternative method is preferred by more today. Not only does is challenge the director to push the potentials of his film even more, it also challenges the viewer to think instead of being a stagnant part in the cinematic journey.
The sub-plots in The Godfather Part II were very moving in a sense that the situations were clear, honest and realistic depictions of the problems among families today. There are issues on inheritance, quality time for family, unconditional love for a brother (or in this case, conditional), and so on. No matter what age, and what standing in life, there is sure to be at least one sequence throughout the entire film that one could relate to. I think this is also one of the reasons why it was such a success — it appealed to almost everyone, without sacrificing its artistic style and dropping into the traps of mainstream, “spoon-feeding-no-analysis-nor-thinking” type of films.
What’s problematic for me, however, was how the scene of Fredo Corleone being shot to death under the orders of Michael was viewed in passing. If you’re going to glorify such violence, then I hope they gave it at least a bit more air-time to allow the shock to sink in. I do not know whether its my principles that are being challenged, or I just really felt this as a fan wanting to know more, but whatever the reason behind it is, I wanted a little justice to be shown, at least. It’s not that I want to omit this scene altogether and leave Fredo alive, but it is that I feel like he deserved so much more than what he was given with. I think about the many little boys watching this film with their fathers and thinking its okay to kill a brother — and that bothers me a lot. Even though there were so much more killings that happened, somehow the idea of “losing the sense of family” hit me so much.
Despite my feelings of discomfort towards the violence shown to Fredo, I still am and will forever remain a fan of The Godfather Part II. It surpassed Part I in so many levels that I feel like I do not want to see Part III in the fears of it ruining the perfection that Part II left me with.