Opportunity is a strange thing, as it just manifests itself and you have to decide to open the door or hide near the torchiere and peer through the curtain, to make certain they have gone away.
I had a marvelous chance to see “Neon Genesis Evangelion 2.22: You Shall (Not) Advance” with the family in tow. Now, I initially argued against seeing it, as I did not really enjoy “1.11” and since they were so behind the curve on things, I was afraid I would be spending huge amount of movie time explaining things. If you thought I was bad coming into this film, they were even worse, but they said they would take the chance.
I had to explain about the Second Impact and what these angels were and trying to do and what the EVA units were and trying to do. Now, not a lot of time has passed between the films, so we still have Shinji Ikari, who is more determined than ever to stop being a pilot, partially aided by the fact that Rei Ayanami is back to some degree of health and can reshoulder the burden.They also are given the ‘present’ of a new pilot, Asuka Langley Soryu. Despite her heritage, she is considered American, which means she is brash and rash. Oh, and also has boobs. She takes care of EVA unit 2 and we see all three of them work together to attempt to take out an angel, trying to fight as a cohesive unit.
The story focuses less on the fighting and more on how all of these people work together and pretend to be friends. It does help the series along, as we do not have endlessly endless fighting, but many of the problems come with being a ‘swing’ film.
Not all second films of a trilogy are that good. It is more of a conduit to take you to the conclusion, so, at best, they have a coupler point, which can get a bit frustrating. This film does set up some tantalizing danglers (like, who is that Mari person, really, and why does she have a five on her uniform? Where are EVA units 3 and 4?) but it is still beset by the problems from the first film, in that you don’t care about anyone. Well, I didn’t care about anyone…..except the penguin.
Dad appears to be more emotionally distant than he was in the first film, the EVA pilots to not operate as a cohesive unit (they can barely stand one another, whether away from their units or in them) and their friends come off more as hanger-ons to glom some perks. There are some charming moments (when they go to this special research facility and have to be decontaminated), but they are few and far between in a movie that is flat all the way around. Again, I will admit that I bring a lot of baggage to this series. I want to like it, but it’s just not working for me. Perhaps if I did the Big Chain and watched it in a marathon, it might make a better degree of sense, but I am less interested in seeing the final installment than I was in trying to grab “2.22”. I have to assume that this really is a tight niche film and I am not that tight niche viewer.
Still, if you dote on giant fighting robots, you could hardly go wrong. If you are a caliber of dilettante as I am, it was an opportunity to try and bond with the family. (As it was, the wile bailed after 40 minutes and the daughter started sketching and watching the film out of the corner of her eye).
I give this 2 ½ stars out of four.