Before I get into this gigantic embarrassment of a post, I should probably talk about why I like Evangelion
in the first place, because while I've tried over 300 different anime shows and movies, I still don't even like enough of them to create a full 3x3 favorites grid—but if I were able to, you can bet your ass that Evangelion
would be on it.
Suffice to say, Eva
is rather special to me. The direction is awesome, the characters are fleshed out, well-written, memorable, and believable, there's practically no filler, the pacing and story structure is excellent, and the way the story progresses and evolves is very crunchy and interesting. Not to mention the rich themes, all of which resonate with me on a very personal level—depression, anxiety, loneliness, escapism, identity and the pursuit of self-actualization, fear of growing up, fear of putting yourself there only to get hurt in the process, how much it sucks to be alive, etc—all of which are explored so
very well. It's just a very deep show with a lot of philosophical shit to chew on, but it doesn't necessarily shove any of that into your face, and even when it does, it still manages to be a thoroughly enjoyable experience, mainly because of the strength of all its other
I can't easily say the same about any other Japanese cartoon that I've bothered watching. It's not like there's nothing to be annoyed with about it, but it's really hard for me to think of another show that has given me more food for thought than this one, and naturally, I just have a deep appreciation for it because of that.
In particular, I'm a big themes guy. If you've ever seen me give such high praise towards anything, you've probably seen me put a big emphasis on how good the themes are—because I just like shit that's about
stuff. I like being able to watch a movie knowing that I'm gonna be able to take something practical away from the experience, or something that I can apply to my daily life, or incorporate into my personal worldview in some way. In general, it's just a good way to trick me into thinking that what I just consumed wasn't a complete waste of my time, or a piece of disposable entertainment that I could've gotten anywhere else. That's why I tend to like more thematic shows.
But themes are not everything. In order for themes to really
work, you do need to have tha solid foundation first. For a movie, the foundation might be the quality of the story. In a video game, it might be the gameplay. Whatever the case is, the foundational elements of the work in question are how you sell
your themes to me. A theme by itself is meaningless, in the same way that (and I apologize for the forthcoming food analogy) a single slice of tomato doesn't make a good sandwich. It's not that I can't get behind tomatoes; tomatoes are fine. But I can't get behind the idea that a single slice of tomato is enough to constitute a full sandwich—let alone a good
That's where the Rebuild of Evangelion
come in. Now, Hideaki Anno—bless the man—wanted to
make lots of extra money
retell the story of Evangelion
for a new generation, so he put out a new series of films dating back to 2007 in an effort to reboot the franchise.
The first movie, 1.0, was essentially an HD remaster of the first six episodes of the show with very minor differences, but was ultimately the same experience (even though they gutted episode 4, one of my favorites, in the process). I thought it was okay; it's a decent way to dip your toes back into the series. The second movie, 2.0, however, took the series off the rails by telling a completely different (and arguably more accessible) story with a tone and feel that was markedly distinct from the original show, but still managed to explore some similar ideas. I found this film quite off-putting, personally, but it wasn't a complete trainwreck.
Then 3.0 happened, which I regret to say has honestly made me lose faith in this entire tetralogy, to a point where I try to forget that this reboot even happened—and I'm prepared to go over every single reason why. If you enjoyed this movie, that's totally fine—this piece will make no attempt to persuade you into feeling the way I do about it; instead, I'm just going to focus on explaining my own thoughts and nothing more. Because I have a LOT to say, and I'm ready to jump into it.
The final piece to the tetralogy, 3.0+1.0, has yet to come out, but is due to be released this year. In a way, you could consider it to be the Half-Life 3
of anime, so even though 3.0 disappointed the shit out of me, I'm nonetheless hotly anticipating this movie (and I've never anticipated an anime in my life), because I'm just so eager to see where it's going to take us from here.
Although, to be frank, the only way I can see myself fully
enjoying the final film is if they retcon the SHIT out of 3.0. I'd love to be surprised, but that's how I currently feel.
Anyway, back to 3.0 business. This is gonna be a scene-by-scene overview, but I'm not gonna be doing too much in-depth analysis, because I just don't think the film is worth the effort. The bulk of my problems lie on the surface anyway.
Oh, and obviously, I'm gonna spoil the shit out of everything in this movie, so don't read this post if you care at all.
The movie opens up with this disorienting yet relatively dull seven-minute action sequence that doesn't really provide us with any real sense of what's happening, or how any of it is supposed to connect with 2.0's ending, so I'm immediately uninvested—although, because I've never really had that much of a hard-on for space battles or mecha fights to begin with, I'm definitely biased. I get it—Eva
is a mech show. I may be in it primarily for the more dramatic and psychological elements, but because we're ultimately talking about franchise involving super robots here, it's not like I'm utterly incapable of stomaching some mindless action every once in a while.
The tone here suggests that I should be on the edge of my seat, but instead, I'm already half-asleep.
This is where having good and likable characters comes in, though—because while I'll subject myself to all kinds of boring shit, so long as I actually like
the people I'm watching or listening to, 3.0 doesn't exactly deliver on this front, either.
I'll give you Asuka, I guess. In the show, the appeal of her character was almost completely
lost on me (and NO, I don't give a fuck if you think her attitude is justified by her tragic backstory), and 2.0's reworking of her personality failed to win me over—she's still an annoying bitch; they just tipped the tsundere scale more in the "dere" direction in order to give her more waifu appeal. The intent is to transparent that it just makes me cringe. However, I can
concede that I'm somehow in the minority here. In 3.0, though, her character is literally just "angry bitch who screams a lot."
Almost everyone in this movie, really, is just a shallow, flanderized husk of who they used to be in the show. It's fucking miserable to watch, and if that's the point, I fail to see how that's supposed to endear me to the film or its purpose in any way.
I'm about to go off, though—because compared to this next
character, a character like Asuka is practically my waifu.
Stare into the anthropomorphized face of Japanese corporate cynicism.
Easily cracking my top ten most hated fictional characters of all time at this point, there is nobody in the franchise more insufferable to me than Mari """""Illustrious""""" Makinami. I would call her the Jar Jar Binks of the series if Jar Jar wasn't infinitely more likable. The whole "mystery" behind her character is so contrived, fabricated, and unearned, in the sense that it stems solely
from the idea that she did absolutely nothing in the film she debuted in. That alone doesn't actually make her interesting, though, and there's no reason why it should.
What little personality she does
have is fundamentally dogshit, and she could not be more out-of-place in a series like this. She's an insipid and trashy embarrassment of a character who was seemingly only created for merchandising purposes and, of course, "sabisu sabisu." Even if her salacious disposition did not precipitate all of my least favorite tropes in anime, it wouldn't make her existence any less indecorous to the spirit of Evangelion
Maybe that's the point, though. Of course, I can't rule out the very real possibility that she's meant to provide some kind of ME!ME!ME!
-style commentary on the toxicity of fanservice, and how its abuse can foster the stereotypical otaku porn addict lifestyle or some shit—and given that Anno's own Studio Khara did create ME!ME!ME! themselves (and Asuka, Mari, et al. even make cameos), it actually wouldn't be a huge shocker if this turned out to be the case.
Maybe once 3.0+1.0 drops and recontextualizes everything, it'll turn out that Mari was the key to all this
all along, and I'll look like an utter fool for doubting Anno's genius—but that's an L I'll take when I receive it, I suppose. For the time being, I fucking loathe this cunt. Her very presence is an insult, and the less screentime she gets, the happier I am.
So, what's actually going on in this opening? It's not actually made clear until several minutes in.
Basically, Asuka and Mari are on a mission to recover this large cross-shaped object from the earth's orbit, which is being guarded by weird robots. Asuka's on top of things, but Mari doesn't seem to be taking the mission very seriously. She just sings nonchalantly (which is extremely annoying, and we're made to suffer through it for a whole minute) and lollygags during combat situations while flying at a lower altitude than she's supposed to. While this doesn't lead to any serious consequences, it does serve to re-establish Mari as the annoying and worthless twat that she is, much to Asuka's chagrin.
Asuka has this weird thing where she refers to Mari as "Networking Four-Eyes," and I'm guessing as some kind of banter-ish insult, but it's such an awkward thing to call somebody. It reeks of Engrish, which I suppose is more the translator's fault than the movie's, but still. Why not just translate it as "Four-Eyes" if you want to communicate that she's just name-calling?
Well, whatever. From their exchanges, it's clear that Asuka and Mari don't respect each other—but their dynamic isn't that interesting, and their banter is neither funny nor endearing. Part of it is because I don't understand where Mari's impudence is coming from, because these movies consistently refuse to explain who the fuck this person even IS. From what we can gather, Mari is essentially an annoying brat for the sake of being
an annoying brat, just so that she can have cute and irreverent anime dialogue, or make all these smug reaction gif faces for people to spam on message boards. Whenever Asuka chews her out, my reaction should be, "Aw, c'mon Asuka, loosen up a bit!" but my real reaction is, "Just fucking shoot her, or something."
Apart from this weak dynamic, problems continue to manifest regarding the opening's overall spectacle. The CG animation during the squabble is distractingly bad and cheap-looking. I hate it so much. It's hard to describe, but something about it just lacks the grit, weight, and ferocity possessed by pretty much any other fight scene in the original show—but it gets even worse later.
The designs are still pretty interesting, though. I'll give it that.
Once that cross-shaped object is retrieved, Asuka takes a quick breather before another hostile robot, with these... I don't know, giant metal reflective ribbons
pops up from it, like some kind of defense mechanism. Whether these enemies are supposed to be Angels, or something else entirely, is not made very clear—this one only gets identified as a "blood type blue," and a "Mk. 04B."
Asuka tries calling to Mari for support, but her carelessly low altitude has sunk to a point where she's forced to retreat, leaving Asuka high and dry. The translation of her dialogue during this scene contains what I can only describe as "cutesy gamer" speak, dropping some hip lingo like "Soz!" and "Have phun!" while she descends. I don't know if the translator was just trolling, or if Mari is actually that
cringe, but it was pretty embarrassing nonetheless.
This new enemy proves to be too strong for Asuka to handle alone, so she desperately calls out to the person inside the cross—causing it to break open, revealing Shinji Ikari, still inside the cockpit of Unit 01. Although he's unconscious, the Eva itself is wakes up before effortlessly tearing the Mk. 04B to shreds with a powerful beam of light. It then proceeds to descend back down to earth, with Asuka looking visibly awed.
Here, we catch a glimpse of my other
least favorite Evangelion
character, Kaworu. In the show, I disliked him mainly for his insisted
importance. He shows up suddenly and completely out of the blue towards the tail-end of the series, and dies in the same episode. The show gives you virtually no time to emotionally connect with him whatsoever, and despite the fact that Anno tried his damnedest to get me to feel something during his death scene, I do consider that to be one of the show's more blatant failures.
What this film presents, however, is an opportunity. Maybe this time, I thought, they'll actually do something
with this character. Maybe we'll actually get to know him this time. Maybe he'll end up being interesting. But does he? Well, let's cross that bridge when we get to it.
All together, this is a fairly tepid and uninteresting opening sequence—and it's all downhill from here. In spite of everything I've said so far, this is actually one of the better scenes in the movie. From this point on, the film regresses to a hot haze of messy, confused, and infuriating bullshit.
Once Shinji wakes up, he finds himself strapped to a gurney in a cramped room, where he's immediately taken and questioned by a group of unknowns—not to mention, a collar of some kind is fitted to him, as well. He's lucid, but rescuing Rei in the previous movie is the last thing both he and the audience remembers him doing. As he gets brought over to some kind of military control room or command center, we're treated to a number of interesting revelations.
Misato, Ritsuko, and everyone else at NERV are still alive and working as normal, but they all look different—older—especially Misato, who seems to have acquired a battle-hardened and icy disposition thoroughly detached from her former self. She also looks like M. Bison from Street Fighter
, which isn't a great look for her, but it does go to show a waning interest in her physical presentation. At first, she refuses to even look
at Shinji; everyone else glares at him contemptuously, for reasons that are as of yet unknown.
As Ritsuko confirms Shinji's identity, she mentions something about a "Near Third Impact"—more on that later.
It was on this frame that I began to have a very bad feeling about this movie.
Eventually, it's revealed that Misato is now the captain of NERV (or what appears to be NERV). They've been trying to find Shinji's Eva Unit for years because of how powerful it is, but as it turns out, they don't actually need Shinji as a pilot anymore; they've found a way to integrate Unit 01's power to the ship itself, like an engine, which—to Shinji's confusion—Misato uses to engage in an otherwise impossible mission shortly thereafter.
The ship itself is called the Wunder, which is a ludicrously
over-designed monstrosity made entirely with computer-generated puke. Unless you like sore eyeballs, the extended action scene we're treated to with this ridiculous hunk of junk is quite miserable, and something I would easily consider to be fast-forward material. It's honestly one of the most horrendous things I've ever seen, made all the worse when you consider how long the sequence lasts.
Just before this skirmish, though, Shinji makes it clear that he wants to help, but everyone just ignores him. Eventually, he gets Misato to tell him one thing—"From now on, you won't be doing anything."
Following that nightmare of a scene, we get some more exposition. It's revealed to us that this movie actually takes place fourteen years
after the end of 2.0 (the same amount of time that has passed between the release of this movie and the release of The End of Evangelion
, which I'm sure is no coincidence). The collar placed around Shinji's neck is called a DSS Choker, which is a device that will instantly kill him if he loses control of his emotions while attempting to pilot an Eva, the way he did in 2.0 while rescuing Rei—as Ritsuko explains, "It symbolizes your punishment as well as our mistrust in you."
Okay, let's slowly unpack this.
The idea here is that, when Shinji saved Rei at the end of 2.0, he basically risked everything to do so—including the fate of the world. Saving Rei should've been an impossible task; she was literally destined
to die. That was the script. Therefore, in order for Shinji to have rescued her, he essentially had to break reality—and he succeeded, because his love or sheer strength of will (or whatever the fuck) was just that powerful or some shit. It's a very corny, over-the-top, and highly anime-esque ending—the sort of thing you'd expect a typical weeb's anime to pull, but not Eva
However, this is where 3.0 tries to pull the rug out from under us, because what may have felt like a deeply heroic gesture at the time for Shinji has more or less been reinterpreted to its logical extreme; you see, when you have to break the fabric of the universe to pull something off, reality gets broken for everybody else, too—in other words, by casting aside himself, the world, and allowing his emotions to blind him to matters beyond his own selfish desire to hold Rei in his arms, Shinji wound up inadvertently causing a Near Third Impact, which would've resulted in yet another full-blown apocalypse, had Kaworu not come out of nowhere to stop him (in 2.0's post-credits stinger).
As a result of this mess, fourteen years later, now that Shinji's been found and captured, they incapacitate him by placing a death collar around his neck just to make sure he doesn't accidentally end the world again. That's basically what's going on here.
If you recall what Shinji says during the climax of 2.0—"What happens to me doesn't matter. What happens to the world doesn't matter. But, Ayanami... At least Ayanami... I'll definitely save her!"—you could easily interpret 3.0 as a highly consequentialist "be careful what you wish for" kind of movie, where Shinji's bravery is reconstrued as recklessness, and his selflessness is perverted into selfishness. It's a movie about what happens when you refuse to accept fate, and attempt to rewrite what is "meant" to be. That is the premise of this film.
Conceptually, I'm 100% on board with this. It turns all the bizarrely straightforward and positive vibes that 2.0 brought to the table right on their heads, and forces us to think about whether swearing off the entire world to save a single person, no matter how much we love them, is really something that we should consider to be beautiful, heroic, or even responsible.
Here's my problem, though—and really, it's threefold—within the confines of the story
, 1.) How the fuck was anybody
supposed to know that any of this would happen, 2.) why doesn't ANYBODY adequately explain to Shinji what the fuck had even happened in the first place, and 3.) why couldn't we get a more entertaining movie out of this? Why did they have to make it so boring and miserable and shitty and confusing the entire way through?
We, the audience, have the ability to extrapolate everything we need to know for ourselves, so long as we're paying attention, but nothing
about the consequences of Shinji's actions—be it the Near Third Impact, or why Shinji is personally responsible for it—are carefully explained to him on any level.
In fact, virtually nothing is explained to him whatsoever. They explain the choker and what it's for, but not why he's being punished with it, nor why they don't trust him. Later, Asuka comes in to reveal the fourteen year time skip, but as Shinji points out, Asuka doesn't look a day older than fourteen herself. The reason for this, in Asuka's words, is because of "the Curse of Eva." Whatever the fuck that means.
She never elaborates, and this goes unexplained for the rest of the movie. But I suppose it doesn't really have to be, because I already know the answer: Merchandising. 14-year-old Asuka is cute, you see, but a 28-year-old Asuka harms the brand, and we can't have that.
Anyway, the point here is that everyone's being a complete dick to Shinji for absolutely no reason. I would kind of understand this behavior if they genuinely thought that Shinji intentionally
caused the Third Impact, or something, but that's obviously not the case. At all.
In FACT, during 2.0's climax, you can literally see Misato cheering him on
. She knew that Shinji was pushing Unit 01 well beyond its physical limitations, and she was aware of how dangerous that was—and yet, she can still be seen actively encouraging him with vigor and enthusiasm. Need a flashback?
"Go for it, Shinji-kun! This isn't for someone else! It's for the sake of your own wishes!"
She says this immediately after Unit 01 goes berserk and splits that Angel's fucking ribcage open. Therefore, Misato has no fucking right
to be upset at Shinji whatsoever—nor does Asuka, for that matter—and even if they did, that's still not a good reason to withhold information from him about anything to do with this ordeal.
I mean, Jesus, he's literally
been out of the loop for well over a decade, and there's seriously
not even a single person who's willing to explain ANYTHING to him? This is not only incredibly stupid—it's infuriating
to watch, because these once-reasonable characters are now acting extremely unreasonable for no good reason. God, just thinking about it is getting me heated.
And I know what you want to say—"That's the whole point, Verb, because the movie's trying to put you right into Shinji's shoes! You're supposed
to feel as confused and frustrated as he is!"
And sure, yeah, fine. Okay? I get it. On some level, taking these once-good characters and making them completely unlikable as a result of Shinji's actions is definitely the point. This movie is just the Bad Future that Shinji's getting punished with in return for trying to force his stupid male superhero wish fulfillment fantasy narrative of being Rei's big macho savior onto the fabric of reality. Because that kind of fairytale horseshit isn't real. That's not how the world works. You don't get
to be the big fucking hero. That's probably what they're going for, and I totally respect that. I even like
it to a degree, because it's cynical and mean and pessimistic and very much how I personally think about reality myself.
But the reason it doesn't work as well as it should for me is because it doesn't actually address the point that it's extremely stupid and out-of-character for people like Misato to levy such an incredibly arbitrary embargo on all communication with Shinji in the first place, because not only does it fail to help anybody
, it's actually extremely dangerous for him to be so helplessly out of the loop. And indeed, it wound up fucking everyone over in the end, as the next sequence plainly
The only question that gets a straight answer has to do with Rei's whereabouts, alhough ultimately, nobody knows where she is. The only trace of her is that Walkman thing, which is enough for Shinji to ascertain that she must have made it out alive. Conveniently, as a new target approaches the Wunder, Shinji starts to hear Rei's voice, so he calls out to her. This prompts Unit 00 (with Rei inside) to bust a hole through the wall and offer him a ride out.
Before Shinji hops on, Misato arrives back on the scene, threatening to activate the choker if he goes along with Rei. Only NOW does she deign
to reveal that the organization isn't NERV. Instead, it's Wille—a new organization made up of ex-NERV employees bent on the destruction
of NERV. Gee, wouldn't that have been a great thing to tell Shinji before?
Justifiably, Shinji's tells Misato to go fuck herself before flying off with Rei—and of course, despite the complete change in personality, Misato still can't bring herself to kill Shinji. She still uses the "-kun" honorific when speaking to him, after all, so she obviously still has a soft spot for him. In any case, Shinji is able to escape. I will say that the moment where she hesitates to press the button is a genuinely touching one—but it still doesn't forgive the utterly foolish degree of spite she displayed earlier, in my eyes.
The bottom line is this: Had Misato and company NOT been such unreasonable cunts to Shinji, this film's entire conflict could've been avoided altogether
, which is why this movie is so agonizing for me to watch. Especially when I know that the real
Misato would've been 10x more reasonable. She was straight-up my favorite character in the show, and this
is what they've done to her in 3.0. Fucking Christ.
Yeah... All that, and we're just now cutting to the title screen...
For the next 30 minutes, almost nothing happens. Everything that does happen is presented to us at a painfully grueling pace, and it's the most boring shit to have to sit through. None of the Eva
charm is present here at all, to a point where it doesn't even feel like a real part of the franchise. 2.0 had moments that felt like bad fanfiction, too, but this takes it to another level.
Shinji gets taken back to NERV headquarters, where his father, Gendo, still operates. He's building a new Eva unit, numbered 13. Kaworu is there, making his gay piano noises, and Rei has a black plugsuit now. Even though she doesn't seem to remember Shinji at all, he seems to think that she's just being her typical aloof and robotic self, although it's quite obvious (to anyone who's seen the show, at least) that she's not actually the same Rei who he saved fourteen years ago.
It's essentially the same arc she goes through in the show, but done worse, and with far less subtlety and nuance, making it more tedious to sit through. She's not receptive to any
communication, doesn't know anything useful, and seems to only exist to take orders from Gendo, who is equally aloof, and fails to provide Shinji with any useful information as well, leaving him even further in the dark than he was before. The only thing he's told is that Unit 13 was built for two pilots—him and Kaworu, who he's never met before, and only knows as a mysterious pianist.
Later, as Kaworu continues making his gay piano noises, he decides to invite Shinji along to make some gay piano noises with him—even though he doesn't know how to play, and even states so. Nonetheless, he still manages to become a fucking virtuoso after receiving nothing more than a few of encouraging words and ball-tickling from Kaworu. It's a really
dumb scene, and I think everyone has made fun of it, but Shinji does remark how he hasn't had that much fun in a long time, and they seem to make their piano-playing a regular thing. As a result, we do
get to see a little bit more of that bonding that I was hoping to see more of, which is good, even if it's executed in a relatively stupid and cheesy way.
Eventually, people do start giving Shinji some answers. After expressing his desire to know what really
happened fourteen years ago to Kaworu, he actually obliges him, telling him all that he should have been told back at Wille. Later, Fuyutsuki invites Shinji over to play shogi, which was more of a ploy to reveal the truth to him about his mother, Unit 01, and Rei—and at this point, Shinji finally realizes that the Rei in the black plugsuit is not the Rei he remembers saving, and he begins to suffer a mental breakdown over this. From a visual standpoint, this sequence is probably my favorite. It's really well done.
After the construction of Unit 13 is finished, Kaworu tries coaxing Shinji into piloting it with him, but he doesn't want to—not only because of what he recently discovered, but because of that irremovable death collar that's still attached to his neck. Kaworu is able to remove it with his gay magic, or something—but for whatever indiscernible dumbass fucking reason, he decides to put the fucker around his own goddamn neck.
Can you think of one good reason, beyond the painfully obvious symbolic nature of it
, as to why the fuck he would do this? Because I sure as fuck can't. His given reason is "to shoulder the burden of Lilin's curse and the risk of EVA awakening." What burden? What curse? Wait, who gives a shit? If all you're trying to do is gain Shinji's trust so he'll pilot the EVA with you, why wouldn't he just remove the collar and then destroy it?
Would that not have accomplished the same thing? Hell, why doesn't Shinji ask what he's doing? Why doesn't he say, "Hey, you know you're gonna die if you wear that, right?"
And guess what? He does
die, and he simply wouldn't have if he didn't make the brilliant choice to wear it.What was the fucking point?
So after that dumb shit, Kaworu finally manages to coax Shinji back into piloting Unit 13. I guess the fact that Kaworu is willing to risk his life for this mission was enough to inspire him to go along with it, even though all he had to do was tell him more about the mission (which he only does later). Either way, the last thirty minutes of this movie are almost headache-inducing, and I swear to god feel almost like an Evangelion
The mission (as far as Kaworu knows) is to head back to Terminal Dogma, ground zero of the Third Impact, to retrieve two familiar lances—Longinus and Cassius—that are currently being used to impale the corpse of the Angel, Lilith. With the power of these spears, I guess, Kaworu plans to prevent the Fourth Impact, which would betray NERV, using them to rebuild the world instead (or maybe that's what Gendo told him, I'm not sure. Either way, it's just a ploy). Shinji likes this idea.
This is where the movie sort of falls off the deep end for me. For the next thirty minutes, we are relentlessly beaten over the head with Evangelion
-esque iconography—like a wall made of Eva units that "failed to become Infinity," depicted only with these foreboding red silhouettes, or Gendo's giant Yui head that explodes into a geyser of blood that rains cats and dogs all over him (which is super silly)—and assaulted with bullshit wiki-bait terms that get Proper Noun status for all the evageeks to write shitty little articles about—like Vessel of Adams, and Doors of Guf—but don't actually mean a hell of whole lot if you're just trying to enjoy a goddamn movie.
Once they locate the spears, Kaworu immediately
notices that something is wrong—the two spears have "morphed into the same shape." Uh-oh. That doesn't sound good. That probably means that something bad is going to happen if you pull them. Shinji should probably listen to him and pull back, right?
Well, no. That would make too much sense. We've been playing hot potato with the Orb of Stupidity throughout this entire movie, and it seems that the Orb has been thrown to Shinji, because—again, for absolutely no reason—Shinji refuses to heed Kaworu's warning, and insists that they pull the spears, even though it's been firmly established at this point that they need both Longinus and Cassius in order for their plan to work. There's no reason for Shinji to doubt Kaworu whatsoever, and even if there was, it's out-of-character for him to be so doubtful, because Shinji has clearly developed a deep fondness for Kaworu at this point, just as he did in the original show. There's no reason for this sudden shithead behavior, and yet it happens.
This is officially just a really dumb movie now. I don't even care. I've become numb to the frustration. I am now expecting
this movie to do stupid shit from this moment going forward—and that it does.
Every stupid decision that each character makes, from Mari's overall worthlessness, to Misato and Asuka's careless apathy and overall bitchiness towards Shinji, to Kaworu's insane decision to put the DSS Choker on, and to Shinji's refusal to take Kaworu's word for it—it all comes to a head here, because if these characters were actually reasonable, this all could've been prevented.
So, the moment Shinji insists to get the spears, Asuka and Mari suddenly show up in their Eva Units to stop them, and they have a big dumb fight. I forgot to mention, but Rei-Q (as she is called, to differentiate her from the other established Rei clones) is also involved—her Eva has a big-ass scythe now, and she's there to support Shinji and Kaworu.
Asuka's cuntiness seems to know no bounds, as Shinji tries to explain to her what exactly he's trying to do with the spears—literally save the world—and just like before, Asuka has absolutely no reason (how many times have I said that?) not to believe him. Even if Asuka knows more than Shinji—if she knows that Gendo's only trying to trick him into starting the Fourth Impact, why wouldn't she just fucking say that to him
instead of just calling him an idiot and a brat over and over again? And if she doesn't know anything, then why is she incapable of listening to reason? She's not a 14-year-old girl anymore; she looks like one, but she's supposed to be 28 at this point. Why is she just
as horrible as she was when she was a kid? I seriously just fucking can't with this stupid bitch.
Her dialogue has been so terrible across this entire movie, by the way. During the fight, Shinji finds an opportunity to strike her down, and in the process of getting up, she says, "I can't believe he actually hit a girl." What kind of stupid-ass observation is that? Of course he hit you. You're basically a fucking maniac who's relentlessly trying to kill him. What does it matter if you're a girl? Grow up.
Shinji's not free of the idiot stick himself, though. Again—Kaworu is repeatedly
telling him not
to pull the spears, because they're not what they are looking for. He keeps saying, "Stop, I have a really bad feeling about this," but no matter how many times he says it, Shinji just doesn't listen.
Mari tries attacking him, but her munitions just wound up absorbing into Unit 01's body and growing an extra pair of arms to pull the spears out with. Then, because he's a fucking moron, Shinji pulls out the goddamn spears, initiating the Fourth Impact—just as Kaworu warned him, and just as Asuka failed to warn him. I hate everyone involved in this.
What happens here is very messy, so forgive me if I don't get all the details right. Removing the spears causes Lilith's corpse to explode, which reawakens the Twelfth Angel who they had originally stopped in 2.0, but in a vulnerable state, having been merged with a Mark 6 Evangelion. This allows Rei to kill it with her scythe, which she proceeds to do without warning—because she was ordered to. This frees the Angel, allowing it to possess a new host—in this case, Kaworu. Originally the First Angel, he is now identified as the Thirteenth. Apparently, this was all planned by Gendo. He was able to predict that everybody involved would make the stupidest decisions possible. What a brilliant man.
So the Fourth Impact starts, and everyone at Wille arrives to stop it—it's essentially just your typical big climactic final battle scene where a lot of crazy shit happens, regardless of how much it makes sense, and regardless of how cool the things happening actually are. Like, there's a point where Asuka's Eva Unit turns into a fucking dog (and so does she, I guess). It's not cool—it's kind of stupid, really, but they do it. It's a thing that happens.
You know what I just realized? This is basically just an extremely edgy Pokémon
movie. It's like watching a Pokémon
movie from the seventeenth generation when you're only familiar with the first generation, but with lots of blood, machines, red lighting, screaming, and classical music playing in the background—but all in the same level of quality and logic in storytelling that you'd expect from a Pokémon
That's this movie.
The only way to stop the Fourth Impact, it seems, is to close the Doors of Guf—which requires the two pilots to be taken out of the picture, either by death or by getting ejected out of the Eva. Kaworu's death is inevitable, because the DSS Choker finally activates in what is actually a pretty gruesome and fairly well-directed scene, in terms of its emotional potency—but I'm not even kidding, not ten seconds afterwards, there's this smash cut to a close-up of Mari's bouncing breasts
as she says something about—oh, who gives a shit. WHY THE FUCK WOULD THEY DO THAT
See, I'm well-aware that Mari Makinami was designed specifically to piss me off—me
personally—and I'm not trying to say it's not working anymore, because it clearly is; I just think they're making it a little bit too obvious.
So Mari does the thing and stops the whatever and Shinji goes away and the movie's almost over please fuck my ass.
Asuka recovers Shinji from his ejected entry plug and discovers Rei-Q outside (I don't know how she's alive), in what I believe is supposed to be some kind of touching moment where the trio is reunited or something, but it's rendered ineffective by just how apathetic this movie has made me towards everything that's going on. Regardless, that's basically the end of the movie. Asuka takes Shinji by the hand, and they go on a trip somewhere on foot along with Rei, who tags along for some reason, even though she wasn't ordered to.
Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo
is a movie that possesses virtually none of the things that I enjoy about the original show, and takes the series in a direction that I'm sure appeals a lot more to weebs than it does to me.
To circle back to my previous analogy, this movie is the singular tomato placed in between two extravagant and visually resplendent wheat buns—but a tomato does not a sandwich make. I understand exactly what the movie is going for, and I've seen videos like The Curse of Evangelion
which go to great lengths to explain why the movie is actually brilliant, and how everyone is just missing the point.
I didn't miss the point, though. My problem is that, regardless of the themes, and regardless of whatever 5D chess Anno is trying to play here, the experience of watching the movie itself is flatly unenjoyable.
It's so slow and boring. The art design is dogshit, and devoid of all soul and charm. The CG animated combat scenes are a vomit-inducing eyesore. It looks and feels like a typical shitty anime. All of the characters you knew and loved back in the original show are shitty unlikable assholes now, and shadowy cardboard cutouts of who they used to be. The exposition dumps are dull as heck—and worst of all, the character of Mari exists, and doesn't die.
You can talk all you want about how that's the whole point, and that the movie is supposed to be an unwatchable pile of shit garbage—but that still doesn't change the fact. These movies were ostensibly created for a newer generation, or for all the Eva
fans in the world who liked the show, but didn't catch onto the themes—so they make the themes super fucking obvious so that nobody could possibly misinterpret them, but the problem with this strategy is that it just feels stupid and pointless for those of us—like me—who did not
miss the themes of the original show.
As a result, the movie offers nothing for someone who's already a fan, and nothing for new fans, either. You're not gonna find likable characters. You're not gonna have well-written dialogue—just Asuka whining about her "pent-up rage," or some incomprehensible gobbledygook about sacrifice and doors and the Killing of God and all this other vapid horseshit.
It's not like that sort of thing wasn't present in the show—but it was relatively muted, and it wasn't the only
thing that the show offered. Even when it happened, it was still kind of easy to parse what it all meant—and if you couldn't, it's okay, because there's so much other stuff to enjoy independently from all that symbolic nonsense, and there wasn't a constant need for the show to be so fucking edgy and dour all
of the fucking time.
I can't think of a single substantial thing about this movie that I enjoyed, but I can think of a whole lot of shit that I hated about it—the worst offense being the character assassination. All of my favorite characters are now hateful idiots who do stupid shit constantly, and for no real reason. I can't wrap my head around how that's supposed to be a satisfying narrative, even if I look at it from a standpoint of, "Oh, Anno is trying to make a point about otaku culture here."
I don't care. Make a good movie first. Make a good movie, and then you can say whatever you want about otakus. I welcome it.
I don't welcome this, though. As far as a rating for this goes, the most common rating I typically give to an anime is a 1/10, because I genuinely hate most anime that much—and this movie makes me feel the exact same way that any other typical shitty anime would. So, as much as I regret it, I do have to consider this to be a 1/10 as well, just for consistency. Any other score would just feel duplicitous, because I genuinely can't think of one thing that I enjoyed that ultimately mattered in the end. Some of the imagery was cool, sure—but that's just icing. They can't even give you scenes that are
undeniably well-executed, like Kaworu's death, without ruining them shortly thereafter with giant bouncing tits (and no, I still can't believe they did that. I can't even blame Gainax anymore, because I don't think they had anything to do with this reboot).
I guess I don't have much more else to say. Like I said before, I'm still awaiting 3.0+1.0, but I'm not expecting a redemption. I'm just genuinely curious at this point. If it's bad, I'll just go back to pretending it doesn't exist. If it's good, it's good. Win-win, I guess.
Fuck this movie, #NotMyEva.