Critics Consensus

Snappy dialogue and goofy characters make this Wild Wild West soap opera in space fun and adventurous.



Total Count: 185


Audience Score

User Ratings: 313,110
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Movie Info

A band of renegades on the run in outer space get in more hot water than they anticipated in this sci-fi action-adventure adapted from the television series Firefly. In the 26th century, the galaxy has been colonized by a military force known as the Alliance, but its leadership has not gone unquestioned. The Alliance was once challenged by a league of rebels known as the Independents, but the Alliance emerged victorious after a brutal civil war, with the surviving Independents scattering around the galaxy. Also wandering the edges of the galaxy are the Reavers, who have won few allies due to their violent behavior and habit of ripping apart their enemies and eating them before they're dead. Capt. Malcolm "Mal" Reynolds (Nathan Fillion), who fought as an Independent in the galactic war, is the head of Serenity, a rogue frieghter ship whose crew includes Mal's first mate, Zoe (Gina Torres), who fought alongside him in the war, her husband, hotshot pilot Wash (Alan Tudyk), sunny but dependable mechanic Kaylee (Jewel Staite), and hard-nosed gunman Jayne (Adam Baldwin). The crew of Serenity wander the galaxy, taking on whatever work they can get, from criminal activities like smuggling and stealing to legitimately offering transport to travelers. Passengers aboard Serenity include professional "companion" Inara (Morena Baccarin) and holy man Shepherd Book (Ron Glass), but the real trouble aboard the ship comes with the arrival of Simon (Sean Maher) and his teenage sister, River Tam (Summer Glau). In time, the crew discovers that River has remarkable psychic powers and was being held captive by Alliance forces until Simon came to her rescue. Now the Alliance is hot on the heels of Serenity and its passengers, with The Operative (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a sinister Alliance tracker, leading the chase. Serenity was written and directed by Joss Whedon (in his directorial debut), creator of Firefly, which only lasted 11 weeks on the air but gained a powerful cult following who rallied to get the show released on DVD after its cancellation, leading to impressive home-video sales and and an eventual motion picture deal. A couple of months prior to Serenity's theatrical release, reruns of Firefly were picked up by the Sci-Fi channel, adding even more fans to its cult following. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi


Nathan Fillion
as Capt. Malcolm Reynolds
Sean Maher
as Simon Tam
Summer Glau
as River Tam
Ron Glass
as Shepherd Book
Chiwetel Ejiofor
as The Operative
David Krumholtz
as Mr. Universe
Michael Hitchcock
as Dr. Mathias
Sarah Paulson
as Dr. Caron
Glenn Howerton
as Lilac Young Tough
Hunter Ansley Wryn
as Young River
Erik Erotas
as Boy Student
Demetra Raven
as Girl Student
Jessica Huang
as Girl Student
Marley S. McClean
as Girl Student
Erik Weiner
as Helmsman
Conor Cruise O'Brien
as Lab Technician
Peter James Smith
as Lab Technician
Cece Cline
as Young Female Intern
Chuck O'Neil
as Vault Guard
Amy Wieczorek
as Lilac Mom
Tristan Jarred
as Lilac Son
Elaine Lee
as Fan Dancer
Terrence Hardy Jr.
as Mining Camp Boy
Brian O'Hare
as Alliance Pilot
Ryan Tasz
as Black Room Soldier
Colin Patrick Lynch
as Black Room Soldier
Terrell Tilford
as News Anchor
Joshua Kwiat
as Slovenly Beaumonde Man
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News & Interviews for Serenity

Critic Reviews for Serenity

All Critics (185) | Top Critics (40) | Fresh (153) | Rotten (32)

  • Joss Whedon makes a rousing feature-directing debut, exploiting the cult status of his short-lived series Firefly to continue it on the big screen.

    Jun 6, 2007 | Full Review…
  • The settings and tone are hyper-real, yet the human behaviour is grounded and credible, the moral conflicts complex and involving. Shiny, intelligent fun.

    Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…

    Nick Funnell

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Go out and see Joss Whedon's witty whizbang of an action movie, or we will kill a kitten.

    May 12, 2006
  • A gently intelligent action sci-fi with wit, drama, and emotion to spare, this is the blockbuster you've been waiting for all year.

    Oct 8, 2005 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    Jonathan Trout
    Top Critic
  • It has a great sense of humor about it, an attractive cast and it's just a lot of fun.

    Oct 3, 2005
  • Taut, immersive, and alternately hilarious and heartbreaking, a well-balanced blend of whooping Wild West action and space opera.

    Oct 1, 2005

    Tasha Robinson

    AV Club
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Serenity

  • Feb 28, 2016
    An above average space adventure that has some fun easy characters to like and care for, With some funny humour and good action scenes it's all fun but the story has been done so many times it's hard to love and the effects weren't great, A few things that I struggled to get round but the ending was great and made up for other things, There's plenty like this film but it's one of the better ones.
    Jamie C Super Reviewer
  • Jan 15, 2015
    Joss Whedon's cult television series Firefly finds new life in the riveting, sci-fi thriller Serenity. When a fugitive named River Tam, who's been sheltered by the crew of a mercenary ship after being rescued from a secret government facility, is triggered by a subliminal signal something dangerous awakens within her. While the film picks up on some of the main story threads from the television series, it can stand alone. Most of the original cast returns, including Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Adam Baldwin, and Summer Glau, and are joined by Chiwetel Ejiofor; who gives an incredible performance as a cold, sadistic villain. Additionally, the action scenes are dynamic and exciting; bringing a lot of intensity to the film. A shiny adventure that's full of thrills, Serenity is remarkably entertaining and serves as a nice coda to the series.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • May 20, 2013
    Having enjoyed the space cowboy bravado of the prematurely cancelled "Firefly" television series, I went into "Serenity" with low expectations, figuring that the movie capper would answer some questions but leave more unanswered. I wasn't wrong though it was still nice to get reacquainted. The addition of quietly dangerous Chiwetel Ejiofor as an Alliance Operative provides a menacing new story arc. River's programmed badassery is brought to fruition but still mindfucky, and a couple characters receive heartbreaking yet honorable discharges. Jewel Staite as the plucky Kaylee and Adam Baldwin as the mercenary Jayne seem the weak links in this reunion - somewhat phoning in their once naive and sociopathic charm, respectively.
    Alice S Super Reviewer
  • Aug 31, 2012
    Joss Whedon is not the best writer but certainly creative at coming up with ideas for shows. The feature film of Firefly seems a bit more action packed and darker, but still nonetheless a pure space opera. Direction is not quite right (as usual) but offered a explanation for what were not explained in the TV series.
    Sylvester K Super Reviewer

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