"Dumb question, but I have to ask : Did you know you were being filmed?"
Veronica Mars is a character driven action thriller with a solid fan base due to the short lived TV series success. I never watched the critically acclaimed series which aired for three seasons from 2004 to 2007, but the film is easy to follow and engaging nonetheless. Kristen Bell is given a well written character and delivers a strong performance in the lead role. She has some witty lines and I'm sure I missed out on a lot of clever gags aimed towards fans of the series, but I still was entertained by this film. I'm sure fans of the series will have a much better time with it, but I still give it a mild recommendation to audiences like me who came into it without knowing anything about the series. One of the interesting things about this film is that it was produced by the actual fans of the series who raised over 5 million dollars in the Kickstarter campaign, so it has a solid and faithful fan base. Of course the film feels like a TV movie at times because it is based on the series, but it still is very well written and directed by Rob Thomas.
The crime mystery might not be completely original, and the love triangle may not work for some, but the film's success relies on Kristen Bell's engaging performance. Her character is strong willed and independent, something we don't see in many action films where the females usually play the victims who are in need of a savior. Veronica Mars switched the genre roles and this time it's the female who comes to the rescue of a man. The film may not be ground breaking, but fans of the series get their moneys worth after pulling off an unprecedented fundraiser to get the movie produced. That is where the success of Veronica Mars lies, it is geared towards the fans who have stuck with them during the three years the series aired and the six years after it left the air. The rest of us only get a small glimpse in this movie of who Veronica Mars is, and not much more than that.
In the end Veronica Mars is kind of a High School reunion where you get to meet friends from your past and discover what they have been up to. If High School was a big deal for you so will the reunion, but if it wasn't something you really cared much about then you might find the experience sort of pointless. Fans of the series will have a blast revisiting these characters and discovering how they changed, newcomers will enjoy the mystery but will probably not be too blown away by it. As a newcomer I still had a decent time despite not understanding all the references and enjoyed the film. The love triangle didn't work too well for me because I honestly didn't find the appeal Logan (played by Jason Dohring) had on Veronica, but that is probably something that was built on the show. It doesn't work well in the film however. Chris Lowell seemed like a much better candidate for Kristen Bells' Veronica. There were also some funny cameos included in this film which helped lighten up the mood at times.