What I knew going in: I had seen scenes from the first Godfather before, and the essential plot.
Oh man, this was a lot of hours. Like I did when I reviewed the Three Colors Trilogy, I'll break them up film by film.
The Godfather - Aging Don Vito Corleone (Marlan Brando) is about to let one of his sons take over his criminal empire when someone wages war against him and his then clean son, Michael (Al Pacino) gets sucked in.
I never realized just how many films borrowed from The Godfather. I saw so many things that looked so familiar. Marlan Brando was spectacular in this, damn. Seeing the entire context of his performance was something else. His scene in the morgue with Sonny was the most powerful. Pacino was great as well. I became very immersed in this story, but there is a lot of filler. Then strangely some parts, like Michael's time in Sicily seemed to race by. It felt slightly uneven but you can't deny the masterful film making here. Everything from the director to the actors to the editing was just very well done. After sitting with this film for a week, I ended up watching it again and raising my grade. I couldn't stop thinking about it. A
The Godfather Part II -We meet up again with Michael, and intertwine the story with Don Vito's (Robert DeNiro) origin story. Michael has firmly replaced Don Vito in all capacities.
I liked this one a bit less than the first. I thought the parts with Don Vito's origin were really strong, and DeNiro was so good. His mannerisms were so similar to Pacino's that at times I didn't realize the scene had changed for a few seconds. But the entire trial aspect dragged this film down. I felt like Michael's story didn't truly get interesting until the last hour or so of it. The best scene is easily the emotional conversation between Michael and Fredo (John Cazale) The entire story between the two of them was so tragic. It makes no goddamn sense that Cazale wasn't Oscar nominated for this. I also watched this a second time a couple of weeks later and appreciated it more the second time around. A-
The Godfather Part III - Oh boy, I actively disliked this. I'm glad to read Coppola regretted not having Robert Duvall in this because first things first, he was sorely missed. Michael had no legitimate confidants. The one thing I consistently heard about this film was how terrible Sofia Coppola was in it, and yeah she wasn't good, but she's not nearly the most egregious part of this movie. I'd argue that Andy Garcia (who somehow got nominated for an Oscar when Cazale didn't) was on par with her. Their "romance" was gross. Diane Keaton was phoning it in for the majority of the film as well. On top of all that, Michael just got boring. I didn't need to meet up with him in the 70's when he had nothing interesting to say or do. It's well made, but ultimately unnecessary. I didn't go back for this one a second time like I did the other two. C-
Recommended: Yes for the first two, nope for the third.
Memorable Quote: "I'm gonna make him an offer he can't refuse." - Don Vito (Marlan Brando)