Darren Carver-Balsiger’s review published on Letterboxd:
***SPOILERS for all of Evangelion, in a vague sense***
Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo botches the setup of the previous two films. It is a film which starts with the Third Impact that ended the previous film and moves to an attempted Fourth Impact as its finale. Basically it's just filler to get us between apocalypses. At this point, only Evangelion fans need stick with the story, because it's getting convoluted and repetitive.
Evangelion: 3.0 is a radical departure from the show, with the plot no longer matching it except in metaphorical ways. Which is fine. The setting of this film is a broken and destroyed world, which does lessen the new destruction at the film's end. There are some nice ideas though, especially around mass extinction as a catalyst for evolution, and the need for people to wear their sin. At its best Evangelion: 3.0 is a stripped down movie of little action and internal struggle. It explains the Third Impact in a way that is more explicit and clear than the show. However things are different. Shinji is no longer weak, but naïve and stupid, being active in his role as instigator of the apocalypse.
It's strange thinking about how much turmoil the Third Impact put Shinji through in the show and The End of Evangelion, because there is nothing internal about these events in the Rebuild movies. This film deals with two Impacts and we get none of the introspection that made the original so great. It's all external, conversations and explanations, nothing internal to Shinji and his dreams, emotions, and memories. There is no push to make Shinji realise his place in the world. Plus the impacts here are depicted in mostly dark red visuals, which I just find so dull compared to the colour of the original.
Finally, I never understood the hype around Kaworu as a character, and I remain indifferent towards this interpretation too.
Overall Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo is a strange mix. It has plenty of smaller moments, which generally work. Yet its plot has no real stakes and is almost nonsensical in its repetition and lack of clarity. What I most admired about The End of Evangelion was the devotion to picking apart the psychology of a single character and turning the internal into something external. This film misses that badly and feels like Evangelion only in story, lacking the unique approach that made it special. I'm writing this having not yet seen the final film, but I fear it will be difficult for the Rebuild series to justify itself.