Things I Liked About Serenity, Which I Finally Got Around to Seeing
How it worked both as a stand-alone film and a continuation of the series. It didn't accomplish this perfectly, but to perfectly serve two masters would be a lot to ask, no? To do it well at all is an accomplishment.
That they answered open plotlines from the series, definitively.
That they didn't answer all open plotlines from the series.
That the action and fight scenes, while hectically cut, were always comprehensible and clear.
That the notion of sacrifices being necessary for the greater good was made explicit, not just spoken about.
Summer Glau's performance as River--it's hard to play a character like River (mentally unbalanced/all-powerful) without devolving into caricature.
The understated performance of Chiwetel Ejiofer as The Operative.
Nathan Fillion's performance as Mal. He showed, to me, a real presence here, but one that was always married to the character, not to developing his own identifiable "screen presence" that he could repeat in film after film.
The humor--plenty of trademark Whedon quips to go around, and nary a clunker among them.