Thomas’s review published on Letterboxd:
While the second film featured a mix of familiar scenes and new material, “You Can (Not) Redo” completely departures from the original series and continues the story in a fully different way. There is a time-skip of 14 years, and the world as well as the characters and their relationships have drastically changed. Therefore, the film is an excitingly fresh experience for Evangelion fans and invites several interesting questions. The problem is, Shinji doesn´t ask most of them, and nobody tells him anything. Sigh, Anno loves to frustrate his audience.
Like its two predecessors, “You Can (Not) Redo” is an audiovisual spectacle with stunning animations, great sound and score, intense action, intriguing symbolism, philosophical/religious subtext, and a strong sense of impending doom. It´s also a character drama that mainly focuses on Shinji. It explores his struggle with the burden of his guilt, the weight of a responsibility that should never be his, the consequences of his choices, and the abandonment by the ones closest to him. All of this further worsens his already present insecurities and depression, pushing him to a breaking point. In short, the film shows Shinji at his lowest point. Here, Shinji´s relationship with Kaworu becomes once again very important for his development. To be honest, I was always a bit lukewarm about Kaworu as a character, but the film did a good job making me invested in their friendship. And the animators didn´t need to go that hard with the piano scene, but I´m glad they did. Shinji remains a controversial protagonist, but I have nothing but empathy for this cursed child. Yet the focus on him means less focus on other characters and overall, I don´t think it was a good idea to make “You Can (Not) Redo” the shortest movie of the Rebuild series. It feels quite rushed at times, and I think it could need more time dedicated to flesh out all its fascinating ideas. The climax is once again emotionally charged and impactful, though it can´t top the finale of the second film.
I have some more issues with this film than I had with “Evangelion: 2.0”, but I appreciate its audaciousness and the risks Anno took. All in all, it´s a classic Evangelion experience: Confusing but mesmerizing. Yet it mainly feels like the calm before the storm that´s gonna be “Thrice Upon a Time”. I´m just glad I didn´t need to wait almost 10 years for it like some of you did.