40. Hanna (A-)
41. The Godfather (A+)
42. The Godfather: Part II (A+)
There's always been a lively debate about which of the films is better: after first viewings, I would say I'm in the "Part II
is better" group, albeit with a caveat; namely, Part II
has the considerable advantage these days of being far, far less familiar to audiences before they even watch it. Had I been there in theatres in 1972 and 1974, I might think differently. But we'll never know.
Pacino continues to be much more low-key here than in later movies, though he gets a few chances here to explode in the manner we're all familiar with. Despite the occasional cutaways to Robert De Niro as a young Vito (De Niro doing a good job of imitating Brando's accent), I think the movie benefits from a much clearer-cut focus on Michael. The scenes with Michael's dissolving immediate family are much better-developed here, and the various parallels with the events of the first film are artfully done. Whereas the first film ends with a montage of deaths done essentially out of desperation, this one ends with a montage of deaths that are all utterly unnecessary and motivated solely by Michael's spite and vengefulness.
Up next: is Part III
as disappointing as so many claim?