Just so this is out-of-the-way up front: I never watched the TV series Veronica Mars. I have pretty much zero context for the film other than that a lot of people really liked the show but then it as cancelled and then last year the makers of the show started a KickStarter project to make a movie. With a $2 Million goal they had modest hopes, but then they were funded to the tune of $5 million dollars from people in 21 countries, became the fastest kickstarter project to his $1 million and then $2 million, and now we have a movie. A movie which a lot of people have really been looking forward to but I have no context for.
So how does it stand up? Pretty well actually.
It’s been ten years since the series ended. Veronica has graduated from Stanford and is interviewing for prestigious law firms in New York. She’s living with her boyfriend and not investigating crimes. Then she finds out an old high school friend has been and her ex boyfriend is the prime suspect so she goes home to help out.
What follows is a murder mystery. Not an amazing one, but a competently executed one. If you’re a fan of TV mystery shows then you’ll easily be able to follow along and probably guess the twists and turns before, or at least as, they happen. Obviously the boyfriend isn’t the killer and Veronica, who had tried to escape her hometown and the life she led there, is sucked right back in.
What sells the movie though is that everyone involved is clearly having a good time. Everyone involved is clearly wanting to continue with the franchise and that really comes through.
Further, the dialogue is snappy and funny and the timing is pretty much spot on, you can really tell that these guys have worked together before and were able to fall right back into their old rhythms. Kristen Bell in particular has the comic timing down pretty flat, which makes sense since Veronica is the sassy sarcastic type.
The big question for non-fans such as myself is “does it stand alone?” Well, yeah. It’s not perfect, and there are clearly a lot of fan service moments which sailed right over my head (or would have, but my screening was filled with fans and exclaimed loudly each time one of these moments transpired) but thanks to a slightly too long opening narration I was caught up on the basics of the premise and the rest of the story held together.
That is to say, there was a lot of fan service but not so much that it ruined the movie for me. I did have a few issues with the ending (not the resolution of the mystery, but the ending) but they’re relatively minor in the grand scheme of things since it was clearly “we don’t know if we’ll get to do this again” fan service.
All in all Veronica Mars the movie isn’t a perfect movie but it is a fun one, which makes it entirely worth checking out.