The Rebuild of Evangelion movie series is a reboot of the classic anime, Evangelion. The show was known for its brutal mecha vs. monster combat, its examination of the effects of such combat on its human participants, and its dense storyline that never really got explained or resolved. The first two Rebuild movies largely followed the original plotline, through approximately the first four-fifths of the show. The third, however, takes a dramatic turn from the original canon. In order to truly analyze the movie, I’ll need to move into major spoiler territory. If you don’t want to know the spoilers, skip to the last paragraph and the score at the bottom of the page (if you haven’t already).
The main plot point of You Can (Not) Redo is the fact that Shinji was woken up 14 YEARS after the events of You Can (Not) Advance. Unfortunately, since this is Shinji’s story, the audience is left just as confused as Shinji himself. The movie is packed with references to events and technologies that we never got to see, leading to a confusing mess of jargon and history that Shinji (and we) are left to fend for ourselves in figuring out. For instance, apparently the Angels were thought to be long defeated, and NERV had apparently found a way to use Angel biology in their weapons and in the production of new EVAs known as Adam’s Vessels (this is just a theory, however). Also, the pilots are shown to never age (Asuka and Mari both look the same as they did in 2.22), but they never bother to explain why. These kinds of missing details, and many others both large and small, make the movie confusing as all hell. Add to that the fact that it’s poorly paced, always seeming to either drag or to be moving too fast, with an abrupt transition into the third act and an unsatisfying ending that doesn’t resolve much of anything, but it’s not a very good cliffhanger, either.
You Can (Not) Redo is a mess of a movie. It answers a few questions, but raises about a hundred more. It is consistently confusing and unhelpful to the viewer, with a massive twist and absolutely no explanation of said twist. It takes repeated viewings to even begin to make sense of the plot. This obscurity was more than likely intended, and, if so, was accomplished beautifully (we’re only privy to what Shinji knows for the most part, and he has no clue what’s going on), but that doesn’t change the fact that it makes no sense. On the plus side, however, the animations are beautifully done, with the same fluidity and attention to detail that marked its predecessors, and the film has just enough hints that an observant and imaginative viewer can put together a large amount of the story after several viewings. That’s stretching quite a bit, however. Overall, You Can (Not) Redo is worth the watch for dedicated Evangelion fans, but still pales in comparison to its predecessor movies.
UPDATE (10-26-2013): After a massive amount of thought, I’m demoting the movie to 2.5. The brilliant animation and beautiful music are not enough to save this movie from it’s own plot.