After watching the first Godfather, I wanted to see Parts II and III immediately because I was so drawn into the Mafia world of the Corleone family. I was restrained by my husband wisely restrained myself to wait until after 1973’s The Sting, but I held great excitement for reuniting with the Corleone family soon.
Truth be told, it was kind-of a let down. Sequels have a tough break trying to live up to the original greatness of their predecessors, and this situation was no different. I had a hard time following the plot through characters and locations and backstabbing — and not just because the story hops back and forth between Michael’s control of the Corleone family in the years following Vito’s death and flashbacks to Vito’s younger days as a new emigrant before he became the legendary Godfather. The flashbacks, which were part of Mario Puzo’s book but not included in the first Godfather movie, were very enlightening. I would have liked to see an entire prequel movie dedicated to Vito’s earlier days. Robert De Niro portrays a very respectable yet unassuming Vito Corleone. He definitely lays the retroactive groundwork for Marlon Brando’s winsome Godfather creation. However the absence of Brando in this second film takes its toll. Marlon Brando trumps Al Pacino as lead any day. But, then, maybe that’s the message of this sequel—a son trying to live up to his father’s legacy.
Either way, I have yet to watch Part III.
Question for my fellow Godfather fans: Have you read The Godfather novel? How does it compare to the film? After falling in love with the characters, I think I’d like to read the inspiration behind it all.