I had the pleasure of watching the Veronica Mars movie over the weekend. It was a moment that I had been greatly anticipating. Having been a huge fan of the series (who actually cried when it was cancelled) I had been keeping tabs on news of a possible movie for years. Following the success of the Kickstarter campaign (it attained the $2 million goal in less than ten hours!) I was positively giddy with joy. Finally the news we Marshmallows (the term coined for Veronica Mars fans) had long been waiting for – a movie was finally in the works that would reunite nearly all of our old favourites from the cast!!
I was a little concerned about when I would be able to view the movie as being a Brit I could not contribute to the Kickstarter campaign and was therefore unable to snag a digital copy of the movie. I was also unsure if it would get a cinema release anywhere nearby. I was very thankful when it was announced that it would be available in digital format online so as soon as it became available I instantly hit the buy button.
Finally the moment had come. The lights had been dimmed. My fiancé and I were curled up with various snacks, ready to view the movie that I had been on tenterhooks about since the announcement was first made that the dream would in fact become a reality. This was the moment where the doubts started to kick in. What if it was a disappointment? Could the magic of the series be replicated in a just under 2-hour movie? What if I had built it up too much in my head? What if the anticipation I had felt for over a year would ruin the experience for me? The thoughts all came tumbling out. However, I needn’t have worried. From the very first scene (which recapped key moments from the series) I was hooked. It felt like being reunited with old friends.
To begin, here is a little bit of background. The first season was a truly brilliant piece of television. The central mystery was who murdered Lilly Kane – Veronica’s best friend. Veronica used to be in with the popular crowd. This all changed when her father Keith (who was Sheriff at the time) pointed the finger at Lilly’s father Jake Kane as being the perpetrator. Accusing the richest man in town came with a price and Kieth was ousted from his office as Sheriff and Veronica became a social pariah almost overnight. Her father decided to set up his own Private Detective Agency ‘Mars Investigations’ and Veronica helped him out with his cases. This is where the story kicks off.
Season one was about the murder of Lilly Kane. Season two had the bus crash that killed off a subset of the student body. Season three dealt with Veronica’s move to Hearst College and had a rapist storyline, and murder storyline. Veronica Mars was far from being a perfect show. It had an almost flawless first season but season two was not quite as strong and I felt the impact of the show suffered a lot when it moved the characters to college in the third season. Not so much because of the change of venue but more that the format changed. Instead of having one mystery to be solved per season (with a few standalone episodes here and there to balance it out) this season was split into several ‘arcs’ with different mysteries for Veronica Mars to solve. It didn’t seem to work quite as well and even though the show was still very enjoyable, it was cancelled after the third season. Fans were devastated but many held out hope that a movie (long rumoured) may be in the works – and eventually it was.
Noe here’s the big question – does the movie hold up? Yes. It really does. It almost feels like watching an extended episode of the show and that is not a bad thing at all. Set nine years after the events of the third season, Veronica is now all grown-up and just about ready to take her first ‘real’ job with a prestigious New York law firm. Yet something ends up calling her back to Neptune and it is not her impending 10 year high school reunion. That something is Logan Echolls, former bad-bod extraordinaire, who has been accused of murdering his ex-girlfriend ‘Bonnie DeVille’ who used to be a girl both Logan and Veronica went to school with called Carrie Bishop. Logan had really cleaned up his act becoming a Lieutenant in the United States Navy but mud sticks and when he is found unconscious next to his ex’s dead body, the court of public opinion soon find him guilty. Out on bail, he approaches Veronica for help.
Veronica is all set-up in her new life in New York. She has been dating old flame Piz (yep – he’s still around!) and is ready to finally leave her past behind her. But the call of Logan proves too great and she ends up helping him try to clear his name. There are also a few friendly faces who will help her out including her father Keith (naturally) and best friends Wallace and Mac not to mention reformed biker Weevil, but returning to Neptune is no picnic for Veronica. As well as old friends, she also meets up again with ‘frenemy’ Dick Casablancas, bitchy Madison Sinclair who was her nemesis in school, as well as Gia Goodman (a little awkward a reunion since Veronica was responsible for putting her father in jail). Attending the reunion (unwillingly) Veronica soon picks up clues to who may be responsible for setting up Logan and in no time is back to her sleuthing ways which upsets Keith because he does not want her dragged back down in Neptune dramas.
Veronica and Logan (LoVe reunited!) still have sizzling chemistry though and Veronica cannot turn her back on him. She will have to decide what life she wants: New York with her new job and safe (if slightly boring) Piz, or Neptune which reignites her love of detective work and has the boy she has never truly been able to leave behind…
The film was well worth waiting for. It had so many fun callbacks to the series (and hilarious cameos – hello James Franco!!) and was something any fan of the series would greatly enjoy while still being open enough for newer viewers. Kristen Bell slipped back into the role of Veronica as if she had never left it. I always thought she was a revelation in the series, she ‘became’ Veronica, she didn’t just ‘play’ her and it was great to see her in this role once again. Jason Dohring was also a tour de force as Logan. He still has the bad-boy charisma but you do really get the sense that this Logan is an older and wiser version – one who may just be able to give Veronica what she needs (finally). I always loved Veronica and Keith’s father-daughter dynamic in the series and it shone here as well. Eric Colantoni is fantastic in this role.
It was great seeing Percy Daggs III, Francis Capra and Tina Majorino again although they did not get as much screen-time as I would have liked (to be expected though with such little time to work with). They felt more like the sidekicks than anything else which wasn’t a problem in the series where they got their own individual story lines. Here they just kind of provide a background role in Veronica’s plot. It was also good to see Deputy Leo again (played by Max Greenfield) and I would be remiss not to mention my favourite Dick Casablancas (Ryan Hansen) who seems to be stuck as a permanent man-child but still gets most of the funniest lines. A further shout-out to my main man Martin Starr who also plays a supporting role (you will forever be Bill Haverchuck to me!).
Is the Veronica Mars movie worth the hype? Yes. Should go go and see it (or download it)? Definitely Yes. I am very glad I bought it and can foresee me watching it multiple times though I might just watch the series again first. 😉