It's been a long time since I've seen so many sci-fi cliches done right.
Hah, though, in retrospect, you can see how much of it was Joss being clever.
--Killing off what I suspect were the two least popular characters. (Although one of them was the Xander equivalent/self-insert, so it's interesting that he bit it.)
--Resolving one romance (omg my OT3 ♥) but leaving the main one unresolved. (And actually succeeding in making me vaguely interested in Mal/Inara for once.)
The one thing that seems to be less than clever is that he resolved the main mystery (River) and rendered the secondary mystery apparently unresolvable (Book). It makes me wonder if we'll learn just what he was in the second movie--although that would be awkward. I could live with us not finding out ever (the generalities are obvious enough, and we don't really need specifics), but it makes me wonder what he'll do for mystery in the second movie. Assuming he doesn't devote the whole thing to The Return Of The Browncoats.
This is my generation's Star Wars, baby. ♥ And while I can tell you that it was good, it is so obviously unfinished that I can't say just how good yet. That depends on what happens in the next one. If the first movie were meant to be considered complete, they all would have died--or at least most of them.
Also, I totally called what Miranda was partway through the movie. But that's because I'm familiar with (and fond of) sci-fi cliches.
I'm looking forward to seeing what becomes of Zoe in the next movie. The man who got her husband killed is all she has left. That is a fucking awesome broken state of mind.
In conclusion: my OT3 is SO CANON.