Many people consider this the worst Godfather movie and sure they are not many that will disagree with this. For most is just seems tacked on with the other movies, since the book by Puzo was basically the first two movies that is what we get. Please be warned that there will be spoilers to follow so read with caution.
The movie begins with Michael Corleone being named an commander in the Order of St. Sebastian (This order does not exist in real life), basically being knighted by the Pope. Michael receives this honor because of generous donation to the Vatican earmarked for Sicily. At the event we meet a new member of the family Vincent Mancini, Sonny’s child with the bridesmaid from the first movie. Mary and Anthony Michael’s children are also in attendance, with Anthony telling his father that he doesn’t want to be a part of the family business and want to become an Opera singer. Vincent is fueding with Joey Zasa, who has become the defacto head of the family as Michael is trying to go legit after all these years.
Michael himself is trying to get the biggest deal of his life done that is taking over International Immobiliare by buying the Vatican shares of the company and bailing our the Vatican Back. Now Michael faces a problem here as the deal must be ratified by the Pope (Paul VI) and he is sick and without any word from the Pope the deal will go nowhere. Back in the US, Michael pays off everyone involved in the casinos and other dealings that The Family has done to make money, every one by Zasa get paid and Zasa is angry about this and storms out a few minutes later a helicopter comes and starts shooting up the room with Michael, Vincent and Al Neri among the lucky few to escape. This event isn’t great for Michael as shortly thereafter he suffers a diabetic stroke and is brought to the hospital. With no one really running the family Connie and Al tell Vincent to get revenge.
That’s the first half or so of the movie. In my opinion the film has some interesting things going on. Michael wanting to have a legitimate business and working with Sonny’s illegitimate child to do so, is sort of funny. The stuff with the Vatican is pretty cool as well, as there is that theory that the mafia killed John Paul I. Best of all Johnny Fontaine show up again and he plays a major part in the book. The film still has surprises and they were worth ti. All in all it is a decent film but it does drag and you are constantly wondering why you should care about the new characters.
If you have seen the first two parts and are desperate from more adventures in this universe that go ahead and watch the third one. However if you are given the chance it’s something that can be seem later on, it isn’t at all necessary to the first two films, which Coppola have said is the series and this third one is only an epilogue.