* For many viewers, the entire opening with River's rescue finally recounted takes the cake.
* By the end of the film, Jayne [[FireForgedFriends has a measure of respect]] for Simon, and even offers a drink.
* The rebuilding of Serenity in the end. Inara has no technical skills at all, but even she pitches in--as an artist.
* When the Reavers attack the first time, River collapses in a fit. Jayne instantly runs over to her side and asks if she's alright.
* The first 40 minutes pretty much confirm that Mal for one still doesn't trust River 100%. At the end of the movie... he's letting her ''drive''.
** Shortly after Simon decides [[spoiler:that he and River are leaving ''Serenity'', River's programming is triggered. She goes absolutely nuts and beats the living snot out of everyone in Fanty and Mingo's bar. Simon says a "safe word" that causes her to collapse.]] What does Mal do? [[spoiler:Calmly, without saying a word, picks River up and carries her back to ''Serenity''.]]
* It says a lot that ''the movie itself'' could be considered a meta-example. After responding to the fan petition, Creator/JossWhedon started seeking out a way to make this movie, and Creator/AlanTudyk decided to return a prop he reportedly filched off the ''{{Series/Firefly}}'' set--the BigRedButton used in "[[Recap/FireflyE08OutOfGas Out of Gas]]", with a note quoting that ep: "when your miracle gets here, hit this button, and we'll come right back."
* It's easy to miss, but while ''Serenity'' is plummeting toward Mr. Universe's planet, Jayne is checking the passengers' seat belts before he gets a chance to strap himself in, including ''River's''. Furthermore, when he starts getting thrown around the room by the ship spinning out of control, [[NiceGirl Kaylee]] calls out to him. They may not always get along, but the crew still care about each other when it counts.
* Jayne saying "She's Right!" after Zoe tells him to stop after he says that River is "damaging his calm". Wait, did Jayne just ''agree'' with ''River''?
* ''[[TokenEvilTeammate Jayne]]'' saying these words: [[HonorBeforeReason "Shepherd Book always said, 'If you can't do sumthin' smart, do sumthin' right.'"]] This is made even more poignant by the fact that before, he was criticizing Mal for going this route.
* The final scene with Mal and River flying, when River asks him to say the words [[{{Telepathy}} she knows anyway:]]
-->'''Mal:''' Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse... but you take a boat in the air that you don't love... she'll shake you off just as sure as the turn of the worlds. Love keeps her in the air when she ought to fall down... tells you she's hurting before she keels. Makes her a home.
** Mal calling River a "little albatross", in a CallBack to his discussion with the Operative on ''Literature/TheRimeOfTheAncientMariner''.
--->'''The Operative:''' The girl will rain down destruction on you and your ship. She is an albatross, Captain.\\
'''Mal:''' Way I remember it, an albatross was a ship's good luck, 'til some idiot killed it.
* In the entire show, all fourteen episodes and the movie, I have never heard Mal sound ''terrified'' until he screams Zoe's name and throws her to the ground before the next harpoon hits. When they make it to the bottleneck and she's telling him to go on, he stops and fumbles and just says, "Are you ''here?"''
** And then the ending:
-->'''Mal:''' You think she'll hold together?
-->'''Zoe:''' She's tore up plenty, but she'll fly true.
* River's CrowningMomentOfAwesome--[[spoiler:taking on an entire room full of Reavers and ''winning'']]--is born of a desire to protect her brother and [[TrueCompanions friends]] the way they've protected her.
-->'''River:''' No. [[TheCaretaker You take care of me, Simon. You've always taken care of me.]] '''[[YouShallNotPass My turn.]]'''
* The last minute or so. The music, the visuals, the audience, and this:
-->'''River:''' [[AStormIsComing Storm's getting worse]].\\
'''Mal:''' [[SubvertedTrope We'll pass through it soon enough]].
** And they do. Both literally [[AWorldHalfFull and metaphorically.]]
** Special points to the ship flying away. The image of a multi-ton replica of a crippled bird in cast iron, a thing that doesn't look like it should ever be able to fly, that ''crashed'', not only achieving flight, but apparently punching physics in the face while doing so. It has done the impossible, and that makes it beautiful.
* When Mal is talking to Inara right before she hints that she'll be staying on ''Serenity,'' Mal gently touches the cut on her lip. Yes, they both play it off, but its just like the moment in "[[Recap/FireflyE08OutOfGas Out of Gas]]" when Mal touches her shoulder: a small gesture that says everything he can't.
-->'''Mal:''' You ready to get off this heap, back to civilized life?
-->'''Inara:''' I, uh...I don't know.
-->'''Mal:''' ''[smiling]'' Good answer.
* As always, Simon and River's interactions.
* Simon confessing his love for her, and regrets that his singlemindedness prevented him getting closer to Kaylee, in the middle of a gorram firefight!