Please don't read this if you haven't seen the movie. A great deal of it probably won't make any sense anyway (as I find myself writing around things in case someone succumbs to temptation), but I do firmly believe that it's a movie best seen without any more information than what's in the trailer (at most).
I was spoiled by accident for one major development and I regretted it a lot—and frequently I don't mind spoilers. Honest.
SPOILERS begin after the whitespace.
This is going to be even more disjointed than the last post. Sorry.
Idiot plot: if they knew the Operative would expect them to go to Mr. Universe (and the "they won't see this coming" is the thing that ran around the theater, and it was awesome), why didn't they also expect that he would trash the communications system? As they were landing, I literally could not figure out why they were heading planetside, because of course he'd trash the communications system as thoroughly as he'd trashed every other place that might give them refuge, and they should have known that.
I'd been spoiled regarding what happened on the landing—well, not that it was on landing, but I knew it had to be then—and between the spoilers, the idiot plot, and the arbitrariness of it, I don't have much of a reaction to it, which saddens me. I was much more moved by River diving through the blast doors, as that was a choice.
Inconsistency: didn't Kaylee say she was going to rig the blast doors so they wouldn't open again? And who the heck opened them—yes, even as we get that great image as they re-opened, I was wondering that. Bad brain, no biscuit.
Horrible jarring character moment: Mal's ending speech about love. What the fuck, over? Compare that to the ending of "Objects in Space" or "Safe" and it's like he was temporarily replaced by a pod person.
I actually do not like the darkening up of Mal for the movie, though for different reasons than preferring the revised-Mal in the series. In the series, I don't think it makes sense of Mal to lighten up over the course of the series because there's nothing there to make him move. River, Simon, and Book aren't going to heal his wounded soul if having Zoe and Kaylee and Serenity most importantly of all (and maybe Wash a bit too, though not Jayne) didn't.
In the movie, he kinda gets an arc to justify his initial darkening by (if I read it right) coming to the realization that he's accepted Book and the Tams as crew and family. Well, that would be all fine and dandy, except that it's not consistent with the series (which I could accept) and it makes him stupid (which I can't). Keeping the Tams on his ship for a year, and bringing River back, without the good clear reason of "they're crew" that he had in the series? That's just foolish, and Mal ought to value his ship and his existing crew more than to take such a risk without that reason.
Mal was already past this by the end of the pilot. I hate it when movies make characters lesser to increase the drama quotient (cf. The Two Towers).
So, is River's implanted trigger gone as well as the Miranda-visions when she vomits? If so, well, I don't think that makes any sense; if not, they are still in a world of trouble, which they weren't acting like.
Mal/Inara = still dull as dirt.
I miss Simon's waistcoats. (Is Simon/Kaylee going to interest anyone who hasn't seen the series? It didn't even interest me that much, and I actually ship them.)
The opening really rocks. I love the way the layers of reality keep unfolding.
I think that there must be a school that turns into philosophical black men into badasses. Or possibly turns people into philosophical black male badasses.
Book's background is forever to be a mystery (confirmed by the Q&A, as if that was necessary).
The specific mechanism of the Reaver origin story bothered me, though that I liked that it was the Alliance. It felt maybe overdone (I know Stephen King's done it, and I feel like others have too), maybe too close to the idea that progress depends on aggression, or maybe something entirely. I was interested to note that the Alliance is unambiguously evil here (in the show, one could make the argument that the project's secrecy meant it was a rogue intelligence agency, or corporate corruption via Blue Sun).
Umm, I think that was it.
Also, feel free to provide links to interesting spoilered commentary that I was resolutely ignoring before yesterday. I'd appreciate it.