Honestly I don’t get why a lot of people act as if this is better than the first. It was a very good movie, but there were some things that I didn’t like.
I never bought De Niro as a young Vito Corleone. His face just isn’t shaped like Marlon Brando’s, and it took me out of the movie a bit when my brain kept trying to shove their faces together to make a coherent connection in my head. There’s also the absence of characters. This isn’t the fault of the film, but it did seem odd that half the cast just wasn’t there because they all died in the first film. Then there’s the fact that it felt a little too long for not building up to anything nearly as grand as the final act of the first film. The first film felt so perfectly coordinated, but this just felt like the story sort of fizzled out.
It was good, but I’m not sure I can see myself returning to it after watching the first film again. Some stories are better left without sequels, and I think this might be one of them, despite popular consensus.
I feel kind of odd about this one. It was really great, but something just felt off in the pacing and story building. I’m aware of the eternal debate around this movie, and I think I’m leaning slightly toward the negative side. The first half of the film is fantastic, but it felt underdeveloped in regards to the characters.
Joker was obviously supposed to be the protagonist since we have his voice-over and the story follows him into Vietnam, but that felt really weird to me since I was never given screen time with him to actually get to know him as a protagonist. He was introduced, but we never meet him. He’s just there, and the narration feels disjointed from anyone I’m supposed to care about because of that. It doesn’t help that the entire boot camp segment is centered around Gomer Pyle, making it seem as if he’s supposed to be the character of interest. I know I felt more interested in him than Joker and Cowboy.
The change to the second half of the film also felt a little odd and without breathing room. It goes straight from the end of a climactic end to the first act of the story, and then suddenly Joker is out in Vietnam. I feel like there should’ve been something there to bridge the gap. Even a “Part II” title card would be enough to make it seem less awkward.
Ultimately, despite some good stuff happening in the second half, the film probably should’ve been just the first half, but longer and more developed. It’s still pretty great as it is, though, and I’m sure I’ll come back to it some time.