Generally favorable reviews - based on 34 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 34
  2. Negative: 0 out of 34
Watch On
  1. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    If you can't be original, why not borrow from something no one has seen, like Ben Affleck's last five movies?
  2. Scene for scene, Serenity is more engaging and certainly better written and acted than any of Mr. Lucas's recent screen entertainments.
  3. As challenging as it must have been to pilot Joss Whedon's space opera from the TV junk pile to the big screen, the finished product is a triumph.
  4. While it's a geek's paradise from scene one, newcomers are likely to feel left out until they get their bearings. Fortunately, Whedon's characteristic humanity, coupled with the slyest sense of humor in Hollywood, greatly eases the transition.
  5. An appealingly low-rent, if not earth-shattering, 26th century "Star Wars" with faint glimmers of "Blade Runner," "Buckaroo Banzai" and "The Manchurian Candidate" for good measure.
  6. A brash, funny, action-packed bit of sci-fi ecstasy--and a giant raspberry to the execs who let "Firefly" fall out of the sky.
  7. Whedon wants to make a Serenity trilogy, and I suspect the actors will grow on me if he does. In this case, familiarity would breed not contempt but comfort.
  8. 75
    Serenity is made of dubious but energetic special effects, breathless velocity, much imagination, some sly verbal wit and a little political satire.
  9. 75
    Serenity shows what might have happened if Han Solo had been the focus of the original "Star Wars" instead of whiny Jedi wannabe Luke Skywalker.
  10. Although Mal is ostensibly the movie's hero, and River its heroine, Whedon does a good job of giving all onboard their own story arc, their tragedies and triumphs. The cast, to a man (and woman), is solid, although it's the ballet-trained Glau, who gets to mope in high angst and go Zhang Ziyi-crazy in a couple of martial-arts scenes, who steals the show.
  11. 75
    It features truly monstrous bogeymen in the Reavers, cannibalistic renegades who, legend has it, went to the edge of the universe and were driven mad by the abyss.
  12. 75
    A fast-paced, engaging science fiction adventure tale.
  13. Reviewed by: Ryan Devlin
    Serenity may not be the next "Star Wars," but it's the best we've seen since the original trilogy, and if Wheedon is planning Serenity trilogy (the door is left open), it would certainly be welcome.
  14. After witnessing the wearying parliamentary debates among good and bad senators in recent Star Wars episodes, it's a pleasure to watch a sci-fi movie where more than just the spaceships move quickly.
  15. 63
    For folks like me, who missed "Firefly," the short-lived TV show on which the movie's based, watching Serenity is like showing up for a big lecture course at the end of the semester. And yet, after an hour of intense disorientation, the movie's arch sarcasm becomes oddly entertaining.
  16. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    The dialogue, delivered mostly in Southern accents, is intended to be funny and fresh, but much of this Western-influenced sci-fi adventure story feels reheated.
  17. Reviewed by: Greg Bellavia
    This is a film that exists because of fans, was written for the fans and yet can be enjoyed by just about anyone willing to have a good time.
  18. Reviewed by: Olly Richards
    If you're a novice, this is a plucky introduction to Whedon's world and the most fun sci-fi of the year. If you're a devotee, this is the magnificent return you've been praying for.
  19. Serenity evinces the kind of swashbuckling bonhomie that made so many of us fall in love with the original "Star Wars" films, a love that was mightily tested by George Lucas' humorless prequels.
  20. 91
    If you think the "Star Wars" prequels are a disease, then Serenity is the cure.
  21. Jaw set but never stiff, he (Fillion) gets both the Whedon wit and the Whedon grandiloquence between cheek and gum, and gives the whole enterprise the heft of a real saga.
  22. The film's strength is compelling character relationships and Whedon's trademark dialogue, a smarter version of the cliched action-movie barrage of wisecrack under fire, only better executed, laden in personality, and enriched with evocative western colloquialisms of a frontier culture.
  23. Serenity may be short on exposition, but it's smart and fun.
  24. 90
    Serenity is a trim little picture of epic proportions.
  25. A sci-fi saga that manages to be at once stirring and screwball, gut-busting and gut-wrenching, and more fun than you had at any bigger-budget movie this past summer.
  26. 80
    Serenity is still taut, immersive, and alternately hilarious and heartbreaking, a well-balanced blend of whooping Wild West action and space opera.
  27. It's but a witty, engaging hodgepodge of archetypes and clich├ęs; it retreads not only the TV show's story lines, but also those of every "Star Trek" and "Gunsmoke" episode. It needed the room of a big screen just to fit all of its influences into a single place.
  28. 80
    A highly entertaining piece of genre-blending fun.
  29. No matter what's coming their way, post-apocalyptic doom or gloom, this James Gang of the galaxy is just plain fun to watch.
  30. Reviewed by: Matt Singer
    Though richly allegorical, Serenity also works as a rousing and unabashedly manipulative adventure that never takes itself too seriously.
  31. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    I mean Serenity no disrespect when I say it's enjoyably junky.
  32. Reviewed by: Derek Elley
    What makes Serenity refreshing is its avoidance of CGI, which gives the pic a much more human dimension; the evident chemistry between the cast; and a humor that doesn't rely simply on flip one-liners.
  33. Chiwetel Ejiofor (Dirty Pretty Things) is the sinister operative dispatched to retrieve the ship's psychic passenger, who as played by Summer Glau kickboxes better than Maggie Cheung and Zhang Ziyi combined.
  34. 50
    It's the zippy chatter among the Serenity's wised-up space pirates that gives the film most of its punch, but with only serviceable action sequences and largely cookie-cutter effects, you can still sense the void just outside.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 645 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 19 out of 289
  1. WhiffleM.
    Jun 14, 2008
    What's not to love? An opening scene that changes perspective three times, followed by an extended-take tour through the ship, What's not to love? An opening scene that changes perspective three times, followed by an extended-take tour through the ship, introducing all the crew members in the process. Like the much-lamented TV show, a labor of love. Buy it, as you'll want to see it again and again. Full Review »
  2. MarkM
    Oct 2, 2005
    Thank you Joss, mission accomplished.
  3. Scott
    Oct 11, 2005
    Finally, a film which treats viewers as intellegent people... Serenity is what I want to see more of in the cinema. Fast paced, witty, and Finally, a film which treats viewers as intellegent people... Serenity is what I want to see more of in the cinema. Fast paced, witty, and moving, it shows Sci Fi can have interesting characters and Action movies can make you think. Full Review »