- Part of the advantage of aging Steven up is Zach Callison (who was twenty-one as of the film's premiere) can finally stop using his little boy voice, which means he can finally sing in his natural register. Turns out singing in Steven's little boy voice was holding him back!
- The old school Disney/Broadway-style musical number that opens up the movie, sung with regal splendor by the Diamonds, two of whom are voiced by Broadway legends. You could almost imagine the Crewniverse going "We've got Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole on board. We need to give them a chance to kick ass!"
- When the Diamonds try guilt-tripping Steven into staying by mentioning all the things they did only because he said so, Steven isn't the least bit fazed. Younger Steven would have been so eager to please that he'd be very conflicted, while this Steven just brushes it off with what is basically "Keep up the good work!". He's come so far.
- The first time the Crystal Gems fight Spinel, she has rage, a cool scythe, and surprise on her side, while they're rusty from two years of peace. The resulting Curb-Stomp Battle, set to "Other Friends", is pretty amazing. Spinel One Hit KOs the three main Crystal Gems with a single attack and cripples Steven's Gem powers before Steven finally manages to take her down, and even that could well have been part of her plan in the first place.
- Taking the apparent timeframe into context, Spinel must have come up with her plan, obtained her weapons, and traveled to Earth in just a few hours. Despite her intentions, it's rather impressive how fast she put everything together. And that's not all. All four of the Crystal Gems are experienced fighters, having gone up against monsters, Rubies, Jaspers, Fusions, and Diamonds. Garnet and Pearl were in the Gem War 6,000 years ago, Garnet and Amethyst are born fighters, and Steven is a gosh darn half-Diamond himself. Spinel, on the other hand, was designed to be a best friend, not a fighter, and was completely out of the war, so as far as we know, she has had zero experience in combat or warfare. She still managed to come up with a coherent diabolical plan to destroy the world in a few hours, and kick the CG's butts. You can't blame their combat rustiness entirely for her victory.
- After losing the main three Crystal Gems and his own abilities, Steven is very discouraged but the threesome of Bismuth, Peridot and Lapis manage to use song to cheer him back up and get him back on track - which is awesome when you consider how all three of them were before they came into contact with Steven and shows that they're able to step up when Steven needs them.
- This time, it's Sapphire that changes the fate she sees and unintentionally forms Garnet, by refusing to let Ruby get shattered by the giant anvil as her future vision predicted. Amethyst and Pearl needed Steven's help to recover their memories, but Garnet doesn't need it, having figured out who she was on her own. Apparently, Sapphire and Ruby's love is so strong, they don't need to remember their relationship, it was all instinctive.
- Even after getting his powers crippled, Steven manages to lift Spinel's massive injector up off the ground...momentarily.
- Steven and Greg fusing despite Steven's weakened powers! How they do it also deserves mention: Pearl (reset to the way Homeworld made her) said that she would serve "Um Greg Universe" "as long as (he) exists", so Steven suggests that he and Greg perform on stage. Cue the two strumming guitars, fire surrounding them and them back-to-back before they are covered in fog. When the fog lifts, lo and behold we get the debut of Steg. And lo and behold, "Um Greg Universe no longer exists".
- Steg is pretty darned awesome. He's a fusion of a father and son, with the best traits of both on full display. In the scant few minutes that Steg is active, he shows just how charismatic the two are, how much confidence they can have, and most impressively, he shows off just how great The Power of Rock can be!
- Although sobering, there's one moment after Spinel's song "Drift Away". Poor Spinel has just poured out her feelings about how Pink Diamond essentially abandoned her in the garden. Steven is momentarily in disbelief that his mother would do that, but then adds "Actually, I can totally believe it." Despite that it's tough medicine to swallow, Steven's reached a point where he doesn't hold his mom up on an unrealistic pedestal of paragon virtue. He's come to accept that his mother wasn't perfect and made her share of bad choices. But he doesn't entirely condone what she did either. Instead, he maturely acknowledges it and takes the steps to help Spinel heal.
- When Garnet regains all of her memories, Spinel hurls a chunk of rock at her to try and prevent her from fully returning. Garnet proceeds to No-Sell the attack while in the midst of cycling through her past forms.
- The second time the Crystal Gems fight Spinel is sweet revenge since Spinel doesn't have her special weapon and the Gems are ready for her. Making it even better, Garnet is singing the calm and soothing "True Kinda Love" throughout. It's not unlike her rematch against Jasper in "Jail Break", but this time Pearl and Amethyst are also kicking ass alongside her.
- During the evacuation of Beach City, a car is thrown by rising toxic goo towards some citizens. Connie leaps off Lion and slices the car cleanly in half.
- While evacuating Beach City, Greg gets some goo splashed on his arm, turning it grey and leaving it numb. Does Greg scream? Call for help? Fall to the ground and cry? NO. He gets in his van and evacuates Barbara and Sadie! No guesses where Steven gets his spirit from.
- Steven finally regaining his powers when he discovers his missing piece: the ability to change. The fight immediately after even shows how he's grown in control of his powers - he's even able to use his bubble shields as impromptu boxing gloves so he can do Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs.
- The lead-up to it: Steven's at his darkest hour, about to be dropped to his death by Spinel as he helplessly wonders why his powers haven't returned, despite reliving his past issues- struggling with his powers, someone he's never met before trying to kill him for what his mother did- its the story of his life; so why haven't his powers been restored yet? What's his missing piece? It's then that an incredulous Spinel unwittingly gives Steven his epiphany:Spinel: I knew I was gonna set you back, but this is how you started? The legend, Steven Universe? You gotta be kidding me! How did a powerless loser like you become savior of the galaxy?Steven: ...I changed. That's the final piece. All those struggles — I learned from them, and I grew. Oh my gosh- It's not just my Gem powers I've forgotten! All of this "happily ever after" stuff has made me forget the first power I ever had — the power to change!
- Also notable about the final battle is that he wins by going on the defensive the whole time; not once does he actually strike back against Spinel, blocking and parrying her attacks instead until she backs down. If you watch the fight closely, it becomes clear that it was over the second Steven got his powers back. He never takes a single hit, and effortlessly no-sells everything Spinel throws at him, up to and including a punch roughly the size of the entire temple.
- The entire sequence where Steven and Spinel are circling each other in the sky. Spinel is clearly still angry, ready for a fight, while Steven continues to sing. The camera pans in on Steven's face, his eyes filled with tears as he bursts through the clouds and proclaims "We don't have to fight!" as the moonlight gleams off of his gem! What a badass!
- Easily the most notable thing is that this is a complete reverse of the first major fight versus Jasper, where the Crystal Gems told Steven to help evacuate with the others while they handle Jasper, much to his complaint. Now, Steven's the one who's telling the Gems to help evacuate while he handles Spinel, and they don't even question it or worry, showing their confidence in him. And to top it all off, Steven faced an incredibly tough foe, alone and without the Crystal Gems, and not only did he hold his own, he won without even striking her. He's come a long way from being the boy who could barely hold his own in a fight and mostly relied on the gems to fight for him.
- Look at the kinds of shields Steven cycles through when his powers return. It goes from his hand shields, to his bubble, to his spiked bubble... to the rhombus shields. That's right, Steven accessed Pink Steven's powers like it was nothing.
- The lead-up to it: Steven's at his darkest hour, about to be dropped to his death by Spinel as he helplessly wonders why his powers haven't returned, despite reliving his past issues- struggling with his powers, someone he's never met before trying to kill him for what his mother did- its the story of his life; so why haven't his powers been restored yet? What's his missing piece? It's then that an incredulous Spinel unwittingly gives Steven his epiphany:
- Meta: This movie holds a critically acclaimed 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The last time Cartoon Network hit this milestone was with the overwhelmingly positively received, but not as acclaimed, Ed, Edd n Eddy's Big Picture Show 10 years prior, which too was considered to be a mile above its home series, something rare for TV movie adaptations of cartoon shows.
Awesome / Steven Universe: The Movie