These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
The same tropes that applied in NGE still apply (although to varying degrees), but of special mention here is Shinji, who, while having shut up many of his detractors after his stunt pulled at the end of 2.22, has attracted an interpretation that notes that while his actions and personality are more sympathetic than they were in NGE, they were also considerably less heroic. And then 3.33slaps you hard in the face with the latter problem and breaks Shinji so thoroughly that he erases much of the gains he made in 2.22 for the people who hated his original, passive personality.
In 3.33, are Misato and Asuka really as cold as they appear to be, or are they just too hardened by the 14 years after the Third Impact to properly show Shinji their affection? The movie certainly offers evidence for both with their actions.
Did Kaworu hide information from Shinji to get him to do what he wanted? Several of the things he tells Shinji are either extremely vague or contradictory of information we're told later.
Angst? What Angst?: Mari fits this trope. The other kids pilot because of various issues they have. As far as we can tell, Mari does it because fighting monsters in a giant robot is awesome.
Shinji saving Rei and almost ending the world only with sheer willpower at the end of 2.22MAY qualify for one of the most awesomeass pulls in the history of anime. But as it turns out, the majority of humanity has, indeed, been wiped out as a result.
The "Curse of Eva" to some fans, as it can be interpreted as a Hand Wave to justify why Asuka and Mari haven't aged.
Asuka Langely Shikinami. Reactions to her characterization falls into two camps - she is either hated by people that loved Asuka Langely Soryu, or loved by people that hated the original version of the character. There is absolutely a middle ground, but the two stances are so pronounced in the fandom that it's hard to notice.
Mari. To some she's awesome, badass, and hot. Others dislike her for being a flat, unrealistic, and underdeveloped character only there for Fanservice with little effect on the plot and would rather have Asuka get more screentime, which is ironic as Anno have singled her out as the only character that is not "a part of him".
Also, the impressive amount of Impacts and Near-Impacts on this installment seems really annoying and unnecessary to some viewers.
Q for people who were enjoying a less psychologically driven and angsty take on Eva, and for Shinji/Rei shippers who were overjoyed with their relationship being played up in the first two movies. On the other side of things, Shinji/Kaworu shippers probably had a field day with Q.
Broken Base: While the film series has received acclaim from critics, fans are more divided over the series. Some enjoyed 1.11 for being a visually-improved version of the series, while others were quick to call it a rehash for not deviating enough from the original work. 2.22 was liked for changing things up while still featuring what made the original series enjoyable, but detractors felt that it deviated too much from the source material. 3.33 quickly became this upon release. Some like it for returning to the series' plot with a different spin, while others hate it for changing so brutally almost all of the setting and not continuing on the threads 2.0 left.
Covered Up: This doesn't apply to any Japanese person since it's a classic pop standard and children's song, but face it — the only reason you know about Tsubasa wo Kudasai is either because of 2.22, or K-On.
Also Angel of Doom from 1.11, played during the fight with Ramiel. Fantastically epic, and can also be found on the second disc of the 1.11 DVD release as a music video.
From the ones without lyrics, Yamashita in Rebuild 2.22. Especially striking with the animation to go with it.
How has nobody mentioned Beautiful World? Intense, emotional, and sung by Utada Hikaru, among other things. There's even two versions: The original one, which played at the end of 1.11, and a remix at the end of 2.22. Both are great in their own regard.
Growing the Beard: 3.33/Q, to some, is when Rebuild finally stops beating around the bush with its themes, and started to try to reach for some of the reflection and emotional and psychological depth that made the original series engaging and memorable to begin with, instead of just being a more generic Cliff's Notes version of the series with forcefully inserted fanservice. But see also Jumping the Shark and Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy on this page.
Harsher in Hindsight: Remember how Shinji thought everyone hated him in the original series? In 3.33., that belief becomes reality.
The popular "Kaworu died for your sins" meme is taken quite literally here, with him dying to stop Shinji from totally ending the world.
Shinji's "Asuka! Sorry!" line from his battle with Kaworu in the original series becomes this after learning that the two of them fight each other in almost exactly the same situation this time around.
Also, Shinji's intense anger and confusion at Kaworu for betraying his trust in him in the original series becomes a lot more ironic in the third movie, where Shinji betrays Kaworu's trust in him for the same reasons.
Hell Is That Noise: Ramiel now shrieks whenever it powers up its energy weapons, only adding to its overall alien freakiness.
As does the first 3.33 Angel, doing an even freakier shriek that's decidedly not of this world.
Hilarious in Hindsight: In the self-parodying radio drama Evangelion: After the End from 1996, Asuka complains that the new see-through design of the plugsuits are way too revealing. It sounds familiar, now doesn't it?
The Double Entry system from 3.33. As if Pacific Rim needed any more comparisons between it and Evangelion.
One of the oldest and most prominent Epileptic Trees of the original series was that Keel Lorenz, head of SEELE and mastermind of most of the plot on par with Gendo, was actually The Wandering Jew, cursed with immortality and seeking death. While this rumor had no actual foundation in the series proper, Gendo's final speech to SEELE in 3.0, right before "killing" them, depicts them all as immortal beings who manipulated mankind from history's inception, having literally created civilization as we know it.
Holy Shit Quotient: Off the fucking charts, particularly in 2.22. Pretty much everything in the fight against Zeruel, from Unit 2's shiny new Beast Mode to Unit 00's attack, to Zeruel lopping off limbs with ridiculous ease... And then it eats Unit 00, and Unit 01 eats him turns into a god or something...
A 26-second trailer for 3.33. Whenever Shinji isn't looking pissed off or at the brink of tears, he's smiling and blushing... with Kaworu.
3.33. pretty much takes this Up to Eleven, given how much time is given to show Shinji and Kaworu's relation. The entire piano scene sounds like they're making love, not discussing how much better duets make a song, and Kaworu getting this pose in◊ while the two go stargazing. "I was really born to meet you," indeed.
Asuka and Mari, though it's pretty one-sided on Mari's end, as she's fond of calling Asuka "princess" and Trolling her while maintaining the Cat Smile wearing demeanor that made her such a Memetic Molester to begin with.
Shinji Can (Not) Win, and variations of the (). Normally done to mock Shinji's Butt Monkey status.
"Shinji, get in the fucking robot!" or "Get in the fucking robot Shinji!" A phrase used by many fans who are confused by the characters's priorities in whether they want Shinji to pilot the EVA or not. It can also be used to make the characters look like jerks who blame Shinji for the damage he causes despite them being the ones who told him to do it. Exhibit A and B.
Fans and imageboards simply titling the infamous piano scene in 3.33 as "the gay piano" due to the unbelievably massive amount of Ho Yay that is in that scene. In fairness, it's hard to not interpret the scene that way.
Moe: The cuteness quotient of the boys and girls get turned up a lot in this retelling, and it helps that by 2.22, they spend more time actually being happy children rather than psychotic emotional wastelands.
Just watch the scene where Rei actually greets her classmates: when Shinji engages her in conversation, she's smiling the whole time. Rei, smiling for a consecutive eleven seconds. Did Third Impact happen while we weren't watching?
Gendo appears to actually care for his son this time around, and that he might actually become a better person this time... Until 3.33, where he reveals that he was just pretending to attempt to be a loving father just to further manipulate his son's emotions, and then saddle him with the emotional guilt of killing millions of people. He somehow became an even bigger dickhead than he was in the original series.
Narm: The supposedly cool introduction of Kaji... Ryoji Kaji in 2.22 is turned into a hysterical laugh-fest when his Japanese voice actor attempts to recite some English lines that are well out of his grasp. The effect is only compounded by the "What the hell?" face made by the person whom Kaji addresses, leaving one with the lingering suspicion that this was intentional on the creators' part.
Parts of the soundtrack border on this due to rather odd English lyrics.
The happy music and Shinji's screaming when he tries to save Rei will either scare you to death or send you into a laughing fit.
While the product placement has been noticeable before, it kinda takes you out of the film to see a prominently-displayed "Yamaha" logo on the piano that Shinji and Kaworu are playing. It's pretty impressive Yamaha was able to keep their company going after wide-spread genocide and the near-annihilation of the entire human race.
Ron the Death Eater: Asuka and especially Misato as depicted in 3.33 can fall into this, with some fans exaggerating their undeniable jerkassery or ignoring any of the reasons for their behavior. Never mind that said characters do act sympathetically in spite of the situation that they are in. Still, their attitudes and tight-lippedness towards Shinji are pretty inexcusable, so use your best judgement on this one.
The former character at least has a better reason for her bitterness given that she lost an eye because of Shinji's actions, so she gets off a little.
The Scrappy: Many have come to dislike Misato once she Took a Level in Jerkass in 3.33. Asuka growing colder is at least excusable, as she was an already dysfunctional child put through even more trauma that Shinji inadvertedly caused. But not only was Misato a grown woman and a caring mother-figure to Shinji in the past, but she actively encouraged him to follow his heart and do the thing that accidentally caused Third Impact. Yet now she treats him with the utmost contempt for it, showing him No Sympathy, and goes as far as to place a bomb-collar on his neck just in case he almost destroys the world again, stopping short of flat-out killing him. Time will tell if the final film salvages her.
Granted, her encouragement of Shinji was for him to pilot the Eva for himself, not for anyone else, and this was when she thought Unit-01 would simply curbstomp the angel as it had in previous instances of it going berserk. She shuts up pretty quickly after Ritsuko explains that the unit has become "God-like" and they're witnessing The End of the World as We Know It. Whether you find her behavior in 3.33 understandable or not is a question of Alternative Character Interpretation.
Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: 3.33 really drives home the point that you cannot change the past. Any attempt to do so will only cause you more unneeded pain.
Spoiled by the Format: Genre Savvy audience members know that Shinji setting off Third Impact at the end of 2.22 wasn't going to take, since there are still two more movies to go. Except itdidtake - it just didn't take out all of humanity this time.
Superlative Dubbing: The dubs for the movies, particularly the second one, have been heaped with praise, even from people who hated the dub of the original series.
They Changed It, Now It Sucks: Inevitable, considering that the original series has been analyzed and over-analyzed for every day of the decade since its release.
Asuka's English VA, in the commentary, noted that she was sorta disappointed with the fact that, 1.) Asuka is not obsessed with Kaji in 2.22 (in fact, she barely notices he exists) and 2.) Never got to speak German. She subverts this, though, as she still loves being Asuka, and is glad Asuka survived getting smashed during the Bardiel battle.
3.33 is getting hit by this due to its drastic departure from the previous series, and even the previous movie.
This Is Your Premise on Drugs: Inverted. Whereas the original series could be described as a giant robot show off of meds, these movies are on the metaphorical meds, in an attempt to make the series more sane. Being Evangelion, though, things become more insane over time.
Played straight with 3.33, though. That movie basically walks into the bathroom and swallows the entire med cabinet in one go. It makes The End of Evangelion seem subdued in comparison.
Uncanny Valley: In spite of the character being more sympathetic overall, Rebuild of Evangelion manages to have Rei be even further in the Uncanny Valley. The ominous BGM that always plays in her presence (at least in the beginning) made it quite clear that Shinji definitely senses something very unsettling in her.
Zeruel after it absorbed Rei definitely qualifies. The bottom of a woman body topped with an angel? Augh.
Visual Effects of Awesome: It's amazing how modern special effects enhanced the battles from the original TV series. Ramiel exhibits this best: while it still appears as a giant blue octahedron, it morphs and changes shape in such incredible ways that would've been impractical in the 90s.