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.
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.
Better on DVD: Some footage has been added, along with some general touching up and redrawing, for both movies' video releases so far. To reflect this, the films' numbers were changed: 1.11 for You Are (Not) Alone's initial DVD release and 1.11 for the further improved Blu-Ray, and 2.22 for the You Can (Not) Advance DVD/Blu-Ray.
Broken Base: While the film series has recieved 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
Narm: The supposedly cool introduction of Kaji... Ryoji Kaji in 2.22 is turned into a hysterical laugh-fest when his seiyuu 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.
Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Audiences are universally more sympathetic to this version of Shinji and find him more effective as a protagonist.
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.
Shinji actually addresses Ayanami's absence while at the WILLE in 3.0. They specifically told him that they only found him and no one else.
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.