I’m perennially late with my Eva reviews, so here’s the one for the third movie. By the way, if you think Pacific Rim is in any way comparable to Evangelion, you’re a weeaboo.
By the end of the second Eva movie, Anno Hideaki was going strong – the series storyline was presented in a clear way, Shinji was demonstrating initiative rather than emo whining, and the animation was spectacular. Perhaps there was a dearth of new material, but over a decade had passed, and there were a few new flourishes. Enter Neon Genesis Evangelion 3.0 – some spoilers (structural and the main one) follow.
After a spectacular space battle against some Angel-derived technology, Anno hits us with new everything: new clothes, new character designs, new characters (voiced by currently popular seiyuu), new mecha, and most surprisingly a new storyline. There’s a timeskip, and things have changed massively in the interim – were the long delays between the second movie and this one (previously titled Q, or Quickening) caused by Anno totally revising the storyline?
There’s another amazing action sequence that explains nothing, and then Shinji ends up back in lamer land. All that decisiveness he gained in 2.0 evaporates and he recedes into moping around a twilight-stained world, desperate for attention but apparently not exposition. Everyone hates him now, but instead of finding out why, he tries to chat up Rei and ends up hanging out with Kaoru, who plays the piano with him but doesn’t actually explain anything.
The movie ends with a big action sequence involving several Evas, some Guren Lagann-style animation, Angel-derived tech, some Lances of Longinus, and either Adam or Lilith (I have no idea anymore). It’s a lot like Death and Rebirth, where Anno has a big budget and uses it to confuse everyone.
Like the majority of anime movies, Evangelion 3.0 is flashy but comes up short in the plot department. But rather than a pedestrian storyline in which nothing happens, here a lot has happened in the past, and perhaps does happen during the movie, but no one knows what any of that is. I really enjoyed Evangelion 1.0 and 2.0 because Anno forsook his obscurantist ways to state outright what was happening and what was in Central Dogma, but in 3.0 he relapses, leaving fans to read tea leaves and guess at what he meant. Given I spent too much of my teenage time involved in such fruitless activity, I have no patience for it now.
All up, Evangelion 3.0 takes the movie continuity in a familiar, troublesome direction, and its value will be determined by how the next movie turns out.