The massive cliffhanger of the previous film, 2.0, left many hyped up for the sequel, wondering where it was going to go. Well we finally got our answer. In many ways, 3.0 aims to be bigger and more serious than the previous one, and even a bit of a return to the roots of the series. Unfortunately, something was lost in the process: its heart.
Do you remember the stunning finale of 2.0, where Shinji risked life and limb to save Rei? Despite being quite a morally ambiguous act, it left a bittersweet feeling. A perfect balance of dark and light. 3.0 does it best to make anything that happened completely negative. Taking place in after 14 years, we find that not only did the event not save Rei, but also killed hundreds of thousands of people. Everyone either hates Shinji, or have moved on, and Shinji is once again lost, confused, grief-stricken, and with no-one to comfort him.
Kaworu makes his triumphant return, and here, the Messianic Archetype
gets even more blatant, ranging from his self-sacrifice, to even a crown of thorns analogy. Frankly, it's just ridiculous. It's as if they were so determined to make him more of a savior to Shinji that they neglected him any hope from anyone else. This is entirely pointless, except to provide Shinji with even more grief when Kaworu meets his demise. Worse, this all happens thanks to Shinji making a childish decision with no moral ambiguity.
That leads to one of its major problems. It tries to return to the angst-filled
tone of the original, but forgets to make us care. By the end, things have become so bleak and hopeless, that there doesn't appear to be any hope, contradicting the entire point of Rebuild. There doesn't appear to be any point to it, except to drag Shinji through the grinder even more. He doesn't change, any actions he makes are undone or pointless, and at the end, he is even lower than he was in End Of Evangelion.
Since he is doomed to fail no matter what, why should we care?
It honestly feels like they have written themselves into a corner. In trying to make the darkest thing possible, 3.0 has effectively undermined the entire series. 4.0, the last film, has its work cut out for it. The fact that it might not make 2013 feels like the final kick in the groin. Until then, Rebuild ends with this incredibly bleak, hopeless, and soulless film.