The return of Veronica Mars

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Veronica Mars is an addict.

At least that’s the metaphor the new film plays with, poking fun at television’s favourite teen-girl detective and her inability to stay out of trouble. After years of retirement from the private-eye lifestyle, Veronica is drawn back to her hometown of Neptune, CA, where her old flame Logan has become the lead suspect in a very public murder.

Though she tries to keep out of the action, she is pulled headfirst into what she’s best at: wrangling her way into dangerous situations and solving crime, all served with her signature biting wit.

But our heroine isn’t the only one addicted — it would be foolish to review the Veronica Mars movie without acknowledging the events which allowed it to come together in the first place. Mars was one of many too-quickly cancelled television shows, beloved by dedicated fans who spent years creatively campaigning for its comeback in television or film.

This is the same group of fans who mailed thousands of Mars Bars and over 500 pounds of marshmallows to studio executives in protest of the cancellation.

Veronica Mars stood out for its clever lead female character, a teenage private eye who involves herself in the film noir dealings of a rich beach town constantly on the verge of class war and scandal. Campy it was not — the show was grounded in gritty crime and character driven plot.

This is the same group of fans who mailed thousands of Mars Bars and over 500 pounds of marshmallows to studio executives in protest of the cancellation.

When director Rob Thomas proposed his Kickstarter campaign to crowdsource the film through fans it, was met with a record-breaking response. It was fully funded in mere hours, and was sealed with a promise to make the best possible film for the deserving fans. So the question is: did it fulfill that promise?

The film opens with a snappy overview of the basic premise of the show for any of the uninitiated watching for the first time. Moving swiftly along, Mars retains its film noir tone and traditional use of snarky voice-over narration. Using the premise of a 10 year high school reunion in Mars’ hometown, the film easily draws together its core group of characters — and then some.

The film could drag through introductions but doesn’t, making the gathering of characters seem natural and allowing the plot to move on to the main mystery and action. The central crime results in tense conflict and a satisfying conclusion.

But does this work for both the hardcore fan and the casual viewer?

I would guess that first-time Veronica Mars viewers will enjoy the overall film, but miss many of the fan-heavy references that make the reunion of the characters so special. The film is balanced enough to be exciting for the general public but, true to intention, the most thrilled audience members will be the most dedicated backers.

After all, this film was made by the fans and it’s set up in a way to keep them coming back for more.

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