A Critic's Meta Review: 5/5
The Godfather Part II (REVIEW)
God damn you, Carter Beauford. You slick bastard.
I’m sorry, guys - it’s just that every time I try to type the first sentence of this review, I keep getting distracting by the incredibly complex and layered groove that starts off the version of “#36” performed live at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, CO on August 15, 1995 (nine days after I decided to force my way out of my mother’s womb and onto the surgical table where those snippy little scissors did their infamous deed to my poor, unsuspecting penis).
Let’s try this one more time - wait, what is this? Scat vocals? Dave...you dog!
Alright, enough. There’s nothing that could possibly pull my attention away from this review at this point, especially after having just heard...oh my.
Okay, Dave. I’ll let you guys finish this one.
Damn, that was beautiful. Tim Reynolds channeling Ravi Shankar towards the end there.
Where was I?
Oh yeah - Godfather II!
What, you didn’t think I was going to just review the first one, did you? And leave out the superior sequel?
I mean, come on - there is a reason why this movie is considered to be the better of the first two.
The first film had some superb acting, and a great storyline. But this one is on a whole different level. It is something Shakespearean, to be honest. And the story of Michael Corleone is every bit as tragic as anything that alleged fictional entity ever put down to parchment back in the early Renaissance era.
A decorated war veteran. A devoted father. A loving husband (to two different women, but at different points so the love was not necessarily being spread too thin). An increasingly less reluctant criminal mastermind. A befuddled brother. And, of course, a son.
Now, which of these roles do you think Michael found to be most difficult? Actually, there’s no reason to think - he admitted it to Fredo: “it’s not easy being a son.”
It really isn’t. In fact, in my experience, being a son is one of the most difficult jobs on the planet.
Well, for starters, you’ve got to fill the shoes of a man who either wore a size far larger than anything you could ever even dream of fitting into, or didn’t wear shoes at all - just lounged around in socks while waiting for you to figure out how to do what he was supposed to be doing the whole time.
That’s it. Those are your only two options - no in between.
And Michael - well, I think it is safe to say that he would have certainly made his father proud in some ways but, in a lot of ways (perhaps the most important ones), he really screwed the proverbial pooch.
For all his faults (and, honestly, there really were not many), Vito Corleone was an incredibly upstanding, fundamentally decent man. I am serious when I say that he was not a man with many faults, by the way. So he murdered a few people - can you really tell me that none of those guys had it coming to them? Not a single one? Not even Don Fanucci?
Come on...that dude was a creep.
Young Vito Andolini came from absolutely nothing. And, by the end of his life, he had obtained absolutely everything - immense wealth, a reputation that completely eliminated the need for him to ever have to introduce or explain himself, a family that absolutely adored him, and a beautiful little kitten that he could stroke whenever he pleased.
Michael Corleone, on the other hand, was born with all of the odds stacked in his favor. His father made sure that he, along with all of the other children, never struggled financially. When Michael expressed an interest in higher education, Pop (as Tom Hagen put it) “pull[ed] a lot of strings” in order to get him a deferment from the army. And then, when Michael went ahead and enlisted in the Marines anyway, this, too, was accepted by his loving dad. In the end, the elder Don Corleone cared for nothing as much as he cared for his family, and he exhibited this through his actions.
Sonny, despite his hot temper, was still an incredibly loyal son. This is why it pained Vito greatly to learn of his death. But Michael, though he was loyal in the sense that he always took the family’s side when it came to business affairs, was hardly much of a son - or a family member to anyone, for that matter.
At the end of the day, the only thing that Michael truly cared about was being a good Don. And, by the end of the film, he certainly has proven that he is quite possibly the best Don there is. But at what cost?
Well, see for yourself - the dude just sits there, alone. He has nothing, while his father had everything.
At least Fredo’s stupidity was obvious, which made it kind of funny in a twisted sort of way.
Michael’s idiocy is just...sad.