People, including me, say it's a sequel and everything, but that's just a simplification, it really just has a shitload of references and stuff. It's not like "20 eyars later..." sequel, it's probably more abtract then that (probably with typical Anno "Didn't think it through, but threw it in because it's neat" method). But more movies need to come out to be sure anyways.
And yeah, I loved congratulations too. Having 2 episodes devoted to abstract character development was jarring after all the plot tension right before, but after a bit, I just got used to it and saw that this was really the point of the show (that and BUDGET). The ending scene was just so damn uplifting "YES YOU FINALLY GOT OVER IT, GOOD END!". EoE had...blood and limbs and blood and exploding vaginas and blood or some shit, it was all a bit...overkill.