Having never seen any of the Rebuild movies, and having just watched the series and End of Evangelion for the first time and come away pretty disappointed with both endings, how do these new movies compare? I’m still fascinated by the world and the broad themes, but the deeply cynical skew and tone of EoE (and everything about Shinji in that movie) just really put me off.
The first movie is a spectacular remake of Episodes 1-5 of the series and should be required viewing for all Evangelion fans.
Movie 2 starts out as a retelling of the 2nd quarter of the show (minus the one-off episodes), but about halfway through (the movie even signifies this by Shinji’s music player going to Track 27) it starts to be its own thing, with the end of the movie completely different than before.
Movie 3 is COMPLETELY different from the series. It skips ahead 15 years after Movie 2, with Misato now in charge of a rebel organization fighting against Gendo. Most of Misato’s people despise Shinji, most notably Misato herself as well as Asuka, after what happened at the end of Movie 2. This was such a complete change from what came before that it’s quality has become very YMMV in the Eva fanbase.
I personally think the movie series is excellent, but in all honesty, Movie 3 is almost entirely a setup movie that develops the new status quo and whether it will hold up will depend on how good Movie 4 is.
The characters themselves are, for the most part, the same as the show’s, but have minor variations. Shinji isn’t quite as cowardly as before and his newfound aggression ends up causing a lot more damage as a result. Asuka has a new last name and is much more competent this time around. Rei finds her humanity a lot sooner, and thus, is more emotional. Stuff like that.
It might help to reset your view of the endings. Deep emotional trauma in the worst possible environment doesn’t have a textbook ending. Having the courage to try, to dive into the bad and try to make something of it? Is a big deal. And I know from experience? It doesn’t look pretty for a good, long while afterward.
But Rebuild so far is visually glorious, but a bit different in tone. It almost takes “what if being more stable doesn’t make you any better equipped to deal with the impossible?” vibe later on. And people keep fighting to live anyway.