The Death of Michael Corleone happens BEFORE Godfather 3…
Michael dies at the end of Godfather 2. He is alive, nominally. Has defeated all enemies and consolidated power. But has also lost family, friends and all sense of soul.
THAT tableau snapshot. THAT economy of movement. Pacino, sat, brooding, in black, against an autumn landscape. THAT is his death. There!
Now, part 3 still exists and is a fine, self contained yet somehow still formulaic soap opera on epic scale. In that sense, it is a perfectly apt sequel to part 1. It’s just not part 2. Because all the titivation of title and pseudo-erudite darkness can NEVER match the sheer genius, insight, scope, craft, texture and depth of Part 2.
Quite how Coppola did not ‘get’ that is beyond me. This retooled part 3 is now out on Blu-Ray etc. Feel free to invest in it because it is still solid cinematic craft. But it’s no Part 2..nothing ever was or will be..except Part 2 itself. But I am kinda biased. I love it. Had you not guessed? 😉