'Godfather III' Gets a Bad Rap

It was enough of a miracle that “Godfather II,” lived up to its predecessor, and I think it’s close to a miracle number three is as good as it is. It’s most certainly a worthy entry in the saga, but that hasn’t stopped many from acting as though it were — oh, I don’t know — a “Star Wars” prequel?

I will say this: “Godfather III” does not work as a standalone. If you just pop it in, the story and characters are hard to follow. But if you watch them all in succession, the movie not only works, it’s seamless.

Now I’m really going to open myself up. The white-hot scorn heaped on Sofia Coppola is way overblown. She is not the Francis Ford’s Jar-Jar Binks, not by a long short. In fact, I find her performance natural in its innocence, which is vital to how the story ends up.

The film’s themes are also effective. Michael finally and forever pays for his sins.