After seeing Part 1, it was definitely a lot easier to understand Part 2. The Godfather Part 2 is not only a sequel to The Godfather Part 1, but also a prequel, going back to the story of Don Vito Corleone, and adding flashbacks.
The element of flashback in my opinion, is one of the hardest things to achieve in film- making. You either make it or break it when it comes to the element of flashback. In some films, you wonder whether it was just a dream or it actually happened, in other films it seems as if the flashback was misplaced or sad to say, really unnecessary and probably should have just been made a deleted scene for features on your DVD. But The Godfather Part 2 film adds them so strategically that not only does it fit, but it pulls it together, bringing you back to Part 1 and the story of Don Corleone, but still keeping you in the sequel, leading you to a better understanding.
The film still gives off a very much gangster feel, in my own opinion, more so than the Godfather Part, drawing you into the New York crime and mob scene. Positively, it comes off more nitty and gritty but at the same time, I would have to say, it makes Part 1 seem more classic. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; I actually think it allows a younger audience to appreciate it more.
What I do think, however, the strength over Part 1that Part 2 consists of is the screenplay which was co- written by previously mentioned (first entry for The Godfather Part 1) Mario Puzo, who I think, with his guidance, and of course knowledge of his own work, made the film a lot better in terms of storyline and plot. The Godfather Part 2 is definitely more complicated than The Godfather Part 1, chronicling the story of the Corleone family and also showing how the young Vito Corleone rose to power. Many things are going on, the cast gets even bigger, and there are so many new introductions of characters and conflicts, but I think not only does it give the film more flavor, but more to dwell on. And speaking of cast, if Part 1 wasn’t powerful enough, in Part 2, we see even bigger, very talented actors.
With the addition of Robert de Niro (another one of my dad’s favorite actors) and Diane Keaton (one of my mom’s favorite actresses) who was already present in the first film, you realize why the series is such a topic in the movie and acting world. I think these were some of their best performances, and quite shocking ones at the same time. My favorite scene was the fight between Diane Keaton’s character Kay Adams, and the Godfather himself, Michael, played by Al Pacino. For a quick anecdote, when I took acting workshops, this was actually one of the scenes shown to us on what good acting is. And afterwards, we were given an exercise to try and copy the scene.
The Godfather Part 2 certainly outdid and outshone The Godfather Part 1, which garnered 11 nominations in the Academy Awards (Golden Globes) and bagged six of them, a record in the film awarding ceremony. Again, the film was truly deserving and it’s almost a unanimous opinion that the better film is The Godfather Part 2, which is surprising seeing as it was the sequel, and most sequels are expected and bound to disappoint, but The Godfather Part 2 just raises the bar and gives the trilogy more excitement than I’d say Part 1, again a hard thing to pull off.
So with that said, all three parts of The Godfather are worthy of mention in any topic about film and will figuratively and literally go down in history as the best trilogy the screen has ever seen.