This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
angie’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
well, here we get a somewhat different question: do you love anyone enough that you would let yourself die so that they might live? Kaworu's answer is a resounding "yes", but the someone he loves is sorta two different people. i'll get back to that in a sec
the opening sequence here is v cool but also kinda empty-feeling, and the majority of the middle portion is kinda terrible. just a bunch of meandering punctuated w/ exposition dumps. i didn't hate this Rei like a lot of ppl did, and to some extent she's kinda cute in how confused she is by literally everything, also just like me. but most of this film feels like a filler episode, rly
the one thing that does make it shine is Kaworu, and the gay romance between him and Shinji. face it, he's hot, and they're v cute together. rly rly loved seeing them play the piano, i'm absolutely going to track down some Kawoshin yaoi in order to fully enjoy this. ahem. in the series, Kaworu is the only person who genuinely understands Shinji, and it's kinda the same here, and my friend Gabe has a rly excellent writeup abt that and what's kinda fucked up abt it. here though, Kaworu also serves a rather surprising purpose: to totally confront Shinji w/ the truth abt what his actions have caused
the final battle is p ok, but nothing super special. what's rly affecting here is the dynamic between Shinji and Kaworu. Kaworu's promise to Shinji, that if they take the Spears away they can prevent NERV from triggering Fourth Impact, goes awry ofc, and it's rly stunning seeing Shinji fight Asuka and Mari while Kaworu sits in deliberation. Shinji, overwhelmed, ignores him when he corrects himself though, and this creates a fascinating problem: Kaworu v clearly believes in himself, Shinji wants to believe in Kaworu, but he's mixing it up w/ the himself that he sees in Kaworu. Kaworu's voice of optimism was always a cautious one, and Shinji, finally seeng a way to make himself useful, wants to be more reckless
Kaworu and then Shinji realise they've been duped when it's almost too late, though, and in the end, Kaworu is confronted w/ that question from the beginning, and answers yes. but the someone he loves is twofold. on the one hand, it's Shinji, it's always been Shinji, and please for the love of god the two of them shld kiss already ok. i wanna see them kiss. but he's also in love w/ humankind as a whole. we see this sort of inverted Genesis parallel: once the first Angel, he is now the thirteenth. obv the thirteenth disciple of Jesus was Judas, and his language also parallels Lucifer being cast down from heaven. but it is not Kaworu who has betrayed anyone, but he who has been betrayed; and it is not he who deceives, but he who has been deceived. here Kaworu and Shinji play the part of Eve, rly: they are not responsible for the sin, but it is through them that they come into the world. but Kaworu atones rather instantly by letting himself die to stop Fourth Impact, and his parting words to Shinji suggest he do the same
it's kinda surprising to me then that i didn't like this that much, bc it's exploring one of my fav themes, which is the psychological aftermath of realising how you've been used by ppl for evil ends and how fucked-up the situation you spent formative time in was. on a technical level the colour and composition is amazing this time around, it's a v gorgeously-animated movie, but the writing just doesn't do it justice. so on both levels, one question rly remains, and that is: after all this, how do you pick up the pieces?