We're having a bit of a snow storm (or the temperate zone equivalent) in Ireland at the moment, which has me stuck at home for the next few days with plenty of time to kill. So I decided to rewatch 3.0, and I think I've finally figured out what I think of the film; for now, at least.
I think 3.0 is a good film, first and foremost. It's a very risky film, going from what was an overall light-hearted, feel good mecha action movie with an occasionally disturbing bit to a deliberately isolating and sombre film from which there is almost no levity and where the main character loses whatever hope he might have had before, and it's a risk that is pulled off really well. As usual, the editing, scene transitions, pacing and cinematography are on point and demonstrate why Evangelion as a whole is a masterclass at flowing seamlessly between everything. The film does a great job at getting the audience into Shinji's head, and all but telling them that Shinji is the central character of these films; not an ensemble piece like many expected/wanted.
However, I am personally mixed. On the one hand, I love all of the character interactions and the second act/NERV HQ portion of the film in general. I just love everything about them, and it's the primary reason I'm so glad that 3.0 is such a drastic change from the previous two films in terms of style and focus.
On the other hand, I'm totally indifferent to the action scenes and technobabble in the first and third acts. I like action scenes, but the ones in 3.0 do so little for me that I tend to start blanking them out when watching the film. Not helping this is the soundtrack: it's overall great, but for some demented reason, they try to shove 40-odd minutes worth of music into a 20 minute climax (from descending into Central Dogma to Mari ejecting Shinji's plug) and it just makes the climax too hectic for its own good.
At the very least, the film knows exactly what it wants to be, goes for it as hard as it can, and pulls it off as best it can. Whether or not you will enjoy it, however, is a personal opinion, and I'm okay with that.
Also, I'd like to address one of the posts made recently:
And the world is truly doomed as it forever, and it can never be restored.
With the way things are, maybe the characters would be better off dying.
I disagree with that. From what little we see outside of NERV HQ, outside of the ruins of what may be Tokyo-3, I don't believe the world is doomed or its people are so bereft hope that they would be better off dead. People are still around, as evidenced by the well-staffed WILLE organization and the countless ships, submarines and crew members they have on hand. Those people are still working together, despite one or two minor quibbles from inexperienced, younger crew members, and they're doing the best they can.
Yes, the world (or what we see of the Arctic/Antarctic region at the beginning and NERV/Tokyo-3) looks pretty bad, but there's nothing to suggest that it's completely beyond repair. One might say the same thing about the world in 1.0 and 2.0, but they managed to restore a small portion of the ocean - so there's every reason to believe that the people of this world might be able to change things for the better. Maybe they're getting to work on it right now (if only in the smallest possible fashion), and we may see that in the final film.
I'll happily admit to speculating on that last point, but it's clear in 3.0 that despite what's happened, people are still going to do everything they can to make things right. As a trailer for the film once said, "There is hope. There is always hope."