Spoiler-Free Review: Evangelion 3.0 You Can (not) Redo

Of the entire Harry Potter series, in terms of both movies and books, I absolutely hated Order of the Phoenix. It was one of those stories that could summed up in a sentence or two in its entirety without losing any bit of detail to the story (The Ministry of Magic doesn’t believe Voldemort’s back until Harry and co. fight him on the Ministry’s turf where Sirius dies). Sure, technically stuff happens (I think all but the most avant-garde of works hold this common thread), but when it comes to the grander scheme, it was pretty obvious that it was only used as a stepping stone to get the meat of the series’ latter half.

A similar thing can be said about Evangelion 3.0: You Can (not) Redo, but for some reason I thought it was a solid enough addition to the franchise that I didn’t mind it.

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Eva 3.0 immediately throws you into an enthralling action sequence, filled to the brim with characters you’ve never seen before, characters sporting different looks, and you questioning the exclusion of certain characters right off the bat. While you’re confused as to the present situation and the details that happened between the previous movie and this one, you’re still entertained as well as somewhat kept at ease about your lack of understanding once Shinji enters the scene, equally as confused and asking the same questions on your mind.

As expected from the franchise by this point, however, Shinji gets more questions than answers as he finds that his old allies have grown some rather tough exteriors since the last time he saw them. Without spoiling anything, the interaction between most characters throughout the movie is similar to what you’d expect from rock stars after their band has split up, with Shinji’s actions all being done for the sake of bringing the hypothetical band back together. To see some of the more carefree characters suddenly sporting a hardass personality, especially in the midst of some blockbuster-status action and cinematography brings a certain amount of unspoken sadness that the original Evangelion anime so excellently pulled off. To know that the cast as a whole is showing some obvious signs of mental wear and tear really brings this metaphorical cloud of bummer into what could otherwise have been a simple popcorn flick… which, in an attempt to cover my ass, the Evangelion franchise is far from.

In general, the franchise (and the current Rebuild movies) has had the challenge of presenting something new and fresh while still maintaining certain elements from the original anime. Eva 2.0 took the first steps towards this concept, and 3.0 carries onward from there. Sure, this means sudden revelations in the movies being cheapened by fans having already seen them in previous iterations, but the story being woven as a whole is something unique and intriguing thus far, and has set the stage to what looks to be something that no one can predict come Eva 4.0.

Skimming through what I could tolerate of the bashing of 3.0, the main source of “criticism” seems to come from people who expected the preview played at the end of 2.0 to have been more accurate to what 3.0 became. Considering that one of the trailers later released involved nothing but a piano and some shrubbery, I feel like fans shouldn’t be surprised at the level of disconnect between the movie and trailer. Evangelion as a whole is notorious for its cryptic and occasionally misleading bits of promotion that you would think fans would have caught on by now. At least find some comfort in knowing it was Paranormal Activity’s level of trailer-trolling.

Evangelion 3.0: You Can (not) Redo may not have been the most eventful movie, but that’s not to say it was a slog, either. Revelations have been made, interests are piqued, and characters are far from where they were in the last movie. The stage has finally been set for 4.0 and any self-respecting fan that has been following the movies for this long deserves to see how things continue to play out.

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About daemoncorps
Gabe (daemoncorps) has been writing about anime and the like since 2005, but has been babysat by it for much longer. He primarily spends his days distracting himself on twitter or writing for Fandom Post until he realizes he has a weekly webcomic (tapastic.com/series/scramblebouquet) to work on. He also just finished writing his first full-length graphic novel about unemployment (https://tapastic.com/episode/293804).

6 Responses to Spoiler-Free Review: Evangelion 3.0 You Can (not) Redo

  1. Foggle says:

    Personally, I thought the movie was pretty bad, and I had completely forgotten about 2.0’s preview when I watched it, so that had no bearing on my enjoyment of it. Glad you liked it, though. (As we are partners in crime, I invite you to check out my review here: http://animationrevelation.com/readables/?p=934 )

    • daemoncorps says:

      I actually remember when the AR post for 3.0 was put up, but made a point not to read it (or much 3.0 stuff outside of trailers) until I watched for myself. I do agree on how no one really answers Shinji’s questions, but I feel like the series in general makes a point of keeping people in the dark about certain things. Re-watching 1.0 on Toonami, there was a perfect place for an actual explanation as to what the Evas are, but no one seems to feel the need to bring that up.

      • Foggle says:

        Warning! Thar be vague-ish spoilers below.

        I don’t think there’s anything particularly wrong with them not explaining things to Shinji (a little mystique is always good, and indeed Eva has done similar things before), I just think they went about it in a bad way. The entire story of 3.0 probably wouldn’t even have happened if Misato and co. hadn’t immediately treated Shinji like a punching bag at the beginning of the film. Clearly he is a dangerous guy who can cause untold amounts of damage and suffering when provoked, but they yell at him, refuse to give him straight answers, and even let Asuka attempt to punch him through a window. The only things they do tell him are that they can and will kill him at a moment’s notice (provoking him further), and an outright lie (sending him over the edge once the truth is discovered).

        I mean, of course they’d hate him for what he did at the end of 2.0 (which wasn’t entirely his fault, which you’d think at least Misato would recognize), but they should at least have been smart enough to try and make him feel safe and not want to defect to the enemy’s side. The entire plot basically hinges on the characters being stupid, especially the final act, though that part is more understandable given Shinji’s mental state at the time.

      • daemoncorps says:

        Spoiler reply to the vague spoiler comment!

        In general, I feel like most points of conflict in stories could be resolved if opposing parties calm down and explain where they’re coming from. Maybe I should re-watch it, but it looked like they just happened to find Shinji, so they weren’t all that prepared on how they’d approach him (besides the collar, which already seems like a rather malicious type of mindset from the get-go). The mindset of the cast in general seems to be that of people that underwent a worst case scenario where a terrorist-type person causes massive destruction and isn’t around to be punished, so there’s all these pent up feelings that don’t make people want to just sit down and talk even when they really should. I liked to think that everyone’s feelings in the movie were a sort of elephant in the room not to be addressed, but at the same time I feel like the movie could have really benefit from giving at least a bit more insight into what people were thinking.

      • Foggle says:

        I certainly agree that there should always be some sort of conflict, and I’m not suggesting that they should have just up and forgiven Shinji or anything! I just think they behaved very stupidly, especially since 14 years had passed (ugh), meaning they’d have had tons of time to plan for this kind of scenario.

        That said, everything I’ve read about this movie proves that it’s a very “love it or hate it” film, so I’m not surprised we had different opinions on it! It’s good that you enjoyed 3.0, and I’ll be watching 3.33 once that’s out to see if my thoughts on it differ at all. For now, I can only wish I liked it as much as you did.

  2. Eva says:

    I am extremely surprised at the number of people who where confused or disappointed at this film. I am confused as to whether or not we just saw the same movie. If this movie is confusing then Evangelion is not the series for you, stick to something lighter and easier to digest. EVA has always been for the hardcore anime fans and 3.0 delivered a mind-blowing epic storyline with absolutely amazing visuals.

    It was a surprise that the story took a different turn, but it was pleasant because its new material for the true EVA fans. Do you really just want to keep watching a remake of the old series crammed into an 1hr with better graphics? Not only is this new material, but it is executed extremely well, and I am sure the true EVA fans can appreciate. The storyline is so deep and touches elements of philosophy, psychology, and spirituality. It’s understandable that many people simply cannot fully grasp all the depth that is contained in this film.

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