As I was watching the movie, I felt there was something missing, something I'm usually so used to while watching other movies that it's long since faded into background noise. Then I realized what it was: I wasn't having my intelligence insulted every thirty minutes.
Here's an example. Towards the end of the movie, there's this big space battle. The ship the sinister antagonist, the Operative, was riding on gets hit and it's obviously doomed. So what happens? We see the Operative run to the escape capsules, get into one, and launch it away from the ship, and the escape capsule clearly gets away before the ship is destroyed.
Look, you can almost hear the movie saying. We're all adults here. You know and I know that the bad guy isn't going to die as part of a random accident with twenty-five minutes of film remaining. So I'm not going to pretend to you that he died in the wreck just so I can whip him out again in the final scene and yell "Boo!" Instead, I'll play fair with you and we'll just see where this leads us.
I like that. I wish more movies were like that.
I only ever saw one episode of Firefly, and that was two weeks ago. I thought it was pretty good, granted. But I can only imagine how awesome I would have thought all this was if I'd actually been a fan of the show. There were some people at the screening who rather clearly were, and a couple of times I was worried they'd just faint dead away.