Before he brought the global box-office to its knees with The Avengers, Joss Whedon brought his beloved sci-if/western TV series Firefly to the big screen with Serenity, which offered proof positive that his butt-kicking Browncoats deserved a much better fate than premature TV cancellation.

Serenity is taut, immersive, and alternately hilarious and heartbreaking, a well-balanced blend of whooping Wild West action and space opera.” – Tasha Robinson, Onion AV Club

This action-packed outer space adventure allowed Whedon to fill in the Firefly backstory, especially the history and mystery of the spaceship Serenity’s volatile and traumatized stowaway, River Tam (Summer Glau). Her lethal skills as a programmed “weapon” makes her a coveted prize for the power-hungry planetary Alliance, represented here by an Operative (Chiwetel Ejiofor) who’ll stop at nothing to retrieve River from Serenity’s protective crew. Laced with all the quip-filled dialogue and ass-busting action that we’ve come to expect from Whedon, the writer/director goes a step further here, supplying his established ensemble cast with a more fully-developed dynamic of endearing relationships. Serenity’s cast is led with depth and humor by cult favorite Nathan Fillion as Captain Mal Reynolds, whose maverick spirit is matched by his devotion to crewmates Wash (Alan Tudyk), Zoe (Gina Torres), fun-loving fighter Jayne (Adam Baldwin), engineer Kaylee (Jewel Staite), doctor Simon (Sean Maher), and Mal’s former flame Inara (Morena Baccarin), who plays a pivotal role in Whedon’s briskly-paced plot. This fun and exciting sci-fi flick, a blast for both hardcore Firefly fans and newbies alike, makes us all hope we haven’t seen the last of Whedon’s good ship Serenity. (Dir. by Joss Whedon, USA, 2005, 119 mins., Rated PG-13)