It’s difficult to think of this as a sequel per se. It’s a true and natural continuation of the original and amongst the best films ever made in its own right.
The way the story flits between the story of Vito’s humble beginnings when Sonny, Fredo and Michael were infants and compares and contrasts where their lives have brought them is magnificent, the relationship between Fredo and Michael being particularly poignant. We see how Vito used violence to settle scores and remove the opposition, where an increasingly cold and hard Michael uses it as matter of factly as a business tool, even with his own friends and family. Francis Ford Coppola’s uses of light breaks with tradition, choosing to contrast the outside world with the Corleones’ dark underworld which is constantly steeped in blackest shadow. This is one of Al Pacino’s best performances, complimented perfectly by Robert Duvall, Robert DeNiro – who makes a very believable young Vito – and John Cazale.
Not quite the measure of the original, but still complex, sophisticated and more an experience than mere entertainment.