Whether a film is good or not has arguably never mattered as much as it does with Veronica Mars. After all, this isn’t a studio tentpole but instead a film brought to life with Kickstarter, along with 91,585 backers who’ve patiently waited almost seven years since the show was cancelled. Well, fear not Marshmallows, Rob Thomas has delivered a film that’ll satisfy even the staunchest fan – and potentially gain some new ones in the process. Kicking off with a (very) brief recap of the series, the film sees Veronica (Kristen Bell) return to her hometown of Neptune to help her ex-boyfriend Logan (Jason Dohring) who’s been accused of murder. Enter familiar faces as Veronica is dragged back into a life she thought she’d left behind.
While Thomas has smartly ensured that the film works as a standalone crime drama, there’s no doubt that fans will get the most out of it. Not only is there the fun of ticking off returning characters – only Leighton Meester’s Carrie Bishop had to be recast – but certain developments will hold more resonance with fans. One moment in particular brings back memories of Serenity, a plot point that to the casual viewer might not seem like much but for fans, it’s a big moment. Alongside this, the film has several nods to both the original series and the years since, such as with the reappearance of one particular idea that was meant to continue the series.
It all adds up to the feel of a film made with a passion that equals that of its backers, rather than one that’s been conjured up just for a quick burst of publicity. The cast aids proceedings in this sense, with all slipping easily back into their roles and avoiding becoming caricatures of their original turns. Leading the way are Bell as the wonderfully sardonic Veronica and Dohring as the darkly charismatic Logan, but all play their part however big the role. Their strong chemistry - and that of the entire ensemble - will help the film appeal to Mars newbies, boosted by a central set piece revolving around a ten-year school reunion that anyone can relate to.
On top of this, several choice cameos (including one wonderfully self-deprecating turn) give further evidence that Thomas has been careful to make the film accessible to a new audience. It might not be action-packed, but a superbly tense final showdown feels appropriately cinematic too and the mystery is strong enough to captivate throughout. One particular sub-plot involving police corruption feels like it’s been added in to be revisited in potential further outings, but that’s a small qualm for a film that proves hugely enjoyable for fans and newbies alike. We’re on Team Marshmallow, are you?