In 2002, Joss Whedon had a TV show on FOX called Firefly, and it was glorious.
It was short-lived. Fandom cried out in anger and frustration. Heck, they still are mad about it. Firefly is one of those series that still has a backing behind it.
Then, in 2005, Joss Whedon was able to bring his space Western to the big screen and it, too, was magnificent.
Unfortunately, the film did not find the sort of success that would have brought it back. All that was a shame, since the film was really good.
Captain Malcolm Reynolds (Nathan Fillion) commanded the ship Serenity on missions of “thievin'” and “misbehavin'” throughout the Verse. During one of the trips, he and his crew ran into trouble from the Alliance, who were searching for the retrieval of River Tam (Summer Glau). River’s messed up mind held a secret that the Alliance did not want revealed so they sent an assassin known as The Operative (Chiwetel Ejiofor) to recalim her.
Serenity is one of the better science fiction movies you will come across from the last 20 years. The inclusion of the cannibalistic Reavers creates an amazing monstrous enemy that provide tension and fear much like the Xenomorphs or the Predators. Diving into the history of these creatures was a nice touch for the series.
While the movie puts an excellent bow on the end of the TV series, anyone who may not have been a fan of the Firefly TV show might have some issues knowing what is going on. Joss Whedon has said before that this is basically the story arc of what would have been a second season of the show, so anyone who was unfamiliar with the characters might not have been as richly rewarded as some of the others. If you have not seen the 14 episodes of Firefly, I would recommend them before you watch Serenity. They are excellent anyway.
This is very much like a Joss Whedon film. The dialogue is crisp and witty. There is humor and drama, and, just when you start to love someone, he pulls the rug out from under you and kills them off. It does happen here so be ready with the tissues.
Mal is a complex character, very much at war with himself. His very nature was a struggle for him as he tried to cover everything. He matched up brilliantly with the cold and calculating Chiwetel Ejiofor as the villainous Operative. The counter balance made for a strong conflict between the two men. Nathan Fillion is a treasure too. You cannot find a better roguish captain than him. The twinkle in his eye tells you everything you need to know about Mal Reynolds.
Serenity was a great finale to the series, even if it was unfortunately, not a rebirth for it.