This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Andrew Hans’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
well well well. it's actually all over...
bye-bye, all of evangelion
i want to start off by saying that evangelion as a whole is one of my favorite series of all time. watching the series was actually kind of life changing, and to this day i can't think of another series that makes me feel the way evangelion does. thank you, hideaki anno.
i've always been a little bit conflicted on the rebuilds. i loved idea of bonus eva content, but i wasn't the biggest fan of the direction they went. some of the characters felt pointless, old beloved characters felt bastardized, plot points felt forced, i had a hard time caring about it. these issues i had mostly materialized in the 3rd movie.
in evangelion 3.33, after a time skip of 14 years, everything in the world is completely unfamiliar. shinji awakens on a ship manned by wille, an organization dedicated to stopping nerv. he emerges to bitter familiar faces and missing friends. his confusion translates directly to the audience and while some people might find this refreshing or interesting, it made it hard for me to give a shit. wille is in the movie for like 30 minutes and the crew from nerv has been pretty much completely replaced. even some of my favorite characters like misato feel entirely changed. i had a really tough time caring about wille because not only do we have no context of what has happened in the past 14 years, but we don't really see any clear picture of what they're doing or what they have been doing. while we're on the topic, i didn't give a shit about mari, didn't really give a shit about kaworu, and quite frankly i didn't really give a shit about shinji (stupid fucking idiot doesn't listen!!!). on top of all this i felt that the "curse of the eva" was a little strange. to me it just kinda felt like a way to force the characters to stay the same age so they look like the same beloved characters. things felt like they just happened for the sake of happening, and to me it just all felt so purposeless.
after a rewatch my position shifted a bit, and after watching 3.0+1.0 i now care about a lot of the things that i didn't previously. thrice upon a time wraps evangelion up with a nice little near perfect bow. first of all, it starts at an 11 in terms of insanity. evangelion has always been huge on large scale combat, stakes, destruction, etc., but somehow this opening scene manages to promise that the movie will outdo itself. i cannot express how much i love this opening fight. i really don't think i've seen anything like it in media. not only that, but it establishes what exactly wille is fighting for and against. not to mention it makes me like mari, despite feeling like she maybe isn't the most necessary character. i wasn't entirely sure that restoration of the world was possible, but knowing that it is makes me actually route for wille. as the movie continues we get to see the true aftermath of an impact, and surprisingly...things seem hopeful for the world. we see society rebuilding itself and how survivors are getting along. we see old friends who have aged past the eva pilots and are living new adult lives. we see rei learning about being human. this part nearly brought me to tears. it was beautiful and honestly i would watch a whole movie of them just living in this village and adjusting to their new lives. throughout this whole time shinji mopes and i do actually kinda feel bad for him as opposed to how i felt about him in you can (not) redo. i'm not sure i can even explain why, but his silence and sorrow is painful. i guess i feel bad because we as an audience can see that this is possibly the most hopeful that the series has ever felt, but shinji can't see it himself because he feels so guilty for everything, which he absolutely is. but it's important to remember that he is still a kid. even his pilot peers have had 14 years more experience than he has despite their physical appearance remaining the same. the rest of the movie is great evangelion content. some amazing action and world altering sequences, but i don't wanna talk about most of that. i mean let's be real, most of evangelion is just people shouting nonsense and then a bunch of pretty colors and amazingly designed beings performing said nonsense.
the complaints that i have about this movie are few, but one is that i feel there are some strange tonal and pacing shifts. for example shinji's talk with gendo just kinda feels a little too long, and quite opposite to usual evangelion fashion, i feel like things become a little bit too over explained. the score and soundtrack of the movie is so good and unique, but in this moment i feel like it gives the scene a very strange feeling.
i'm honestly getting a little tired of typing this on my phone so i'll just close this by saying that i feel like this movie completely recontextualizes not only the entirety of the rebuilds, but much of the show. characters that i thought had been abandoned reappear, things that i felt served no use become purposeful, and points of confusion actually get explained just enough. this really feels like a great way to end a whole series, and i can't help but feel overwhelmed with joy that i've been able to experience it all.