Logan: I need your help, Veronica. Veronica: I don't really do that anymore.
Veronica Mars is a 2014 crime thriller and a film continuation of the television series of the name name. The film is co-written and directed by series creator Rob Thomas, and reprising their roles are Kristen Bell, Jason Dohring, Percy Daggs III, Ryan Hansen, Francis Capra, Tina Majorino, Chris Lowell, Enrico Colantoni and a number of the supporting cast.Nine years since the series finale, Veronica has given up crime-solving, graduated from Stanford with a psychology degree, and is on the verge of finishing law school in New York with a great job opportunity. But her past in Neptune rears its ugly head when she's contacted by ex-boyfiend Logan Echolls, who's been accused of murdering his popstar girlfriend and needs Veronica's help to clear his name. The case leads Veronica back to Neptune just in time for her high school reunion, and lands her in more trouble than ever.Plans for the Veronica Mars film were being kicked around since the series' cancellation, but they only came to fruition in March and April of 2013 when Rob Thomas and Kristen Bell launched a Kickstarterproject to help fund a feature film project. By the time the Kickstarter ended, it had raised $5.7 million and became the biggest film-related Kickstarter in the website's history. Warner Bros. signed on to distribute and market the film, and it received a simultaneous theatrical and on-demand release on March 14, 2014.
Tropes in the film include:
Action Girl: Veronica is every bit as badass as she was in the series.
Back for the Dead: Susan Knight (revealed in flashbacks to have died around the end of Season 3), Carrie Bishop, Deputy Sacks, and Gia Goodman.
Back for the Finale: Lots of appearances from minor characters on the show. More than a few characters appear in a single scene where they help Veronica in some way before disappearing for the duration.
Veronica has left her Private Eye ways far in the past, having changed schools and started a new life, and is on the verge of becoming a lawyer for a high-profile law firm when she finds out an old classmate has been murdered and her ex boyfriend Logan is the prime suspect. Somewhat Deconstructed in that her obsession with the case (and possibly, with Logan) proves destructive to her career and relationships.
Bar Brawl: One erupts after Veronica's sex tape is played at the high school reunion as a cruel prank. Logan goes into a blind rage, Piz jumps in to help him when he gets in over his head, Dick jumps in because it looks like great fun, Weevil reluctantly gets involved (initially it seems he's torn between wanting to help and not wanting to look bad in front of his wife), and Wallace joins in only after shutting off the video.
Belligerent Sexual Tension: Veronica's narration highlights this as an early factor in her relationship with Logan. The same narration also highlights how that relationship was ultimately doomed.
Biting-the-Hand Humor: A few minutes in, it takes a jab at Kickstarter. Contextually, this may also count as a case of good-natured Self-Deprecation as well, as Piz is making a snide remark about a project being funded by Kickstarter while on air.
Bittersweet Ending: Veronica catches the real murderer and Dan Lamb's incompetence has been exposed, but many innocent people are dead, Neptune is still a powderkeg of class tensions, and both Veronica and Weevil have surrendered to their self-destructive impulses.
Brick Joke: Logan's "Free Hugs" cap had a hidden camera that recorded their conversation with Dan Lamb.
Bus Crash: Carrie Bishop and Susan Knight. (Nothing to do with the actual bus crash from season 2.)
The In Memoriam slide-show hosted by Madison at the reunion includes mention of Felix Toombs, as well as Meg Manning and one or two other victims of the bus crash from Season 2. The three out of eight victims who would have graduated in the Class of '06 are mentioned, and there's also no call-back to Lilly (would have been class of '05) or Cassidy (would have been class of '07), presumably for the same reason. It's a nice bit of attention to detail, even for a movie that does such a good job of sticking to canon.
Several moments match up with moments from the series, such as: Dan Lamb being fooled by Veronica impersonating a sexy reporter, as was his brother; Veronica texting "I love you, dad" when Cobb is after her much like she tried to call him in "Not Pictured"; Veronica reveals the events of Carrie Bishop's death with the same words she used for Lilly Kane's; and of course, the return of the "Epic" speech.
The Cameo: Beyond the characters from the series who only turn up for a scene or two, there's...
James Franco as himself.
Dax Shepard as a hilariously over-the-top drunken letch at the 09er.
Justin Long as a wingman in the same scene.
Jamie Lee Curtis is the woman who interviews Veronica at the law firm she's applied to.
Central Theme: Addiction. At first, it seems Veronica's addiction is Logan, but as the film progresses, it's actually crime solving that is her addiction. And also Logan. Veronica's inability to let the mystery go and just get the hell out of Neptune ultimately costs her her job, her relationship with Piz, and finally her chance to escape Neptune for good.
The stun gun, the pepper spray, and the prepaid cell phone, all from Veronica's box of "Accessories".
Also, Veronica's sex tape, which gets edited into a video montage aired for the high school reunion.
Also, hidden surveillance devices. A variety get described in passing, just about every single one gets used by the end of the film.
Clear Their Name: Logan is accused of murder, and turns to Veronica to prove his innocence.
Continuity Nod: When Veronica opens her box of PI gear, she finds her ID stash from Season 1's "Clash of the Tritons", including Lily's driver's license and the fake "Licensed Massage Therapist" ID.
The Cuckoolander Was Right: To a degree. Ruby had the right reasoning but came to the wrong conclusions; the "Serendipity" tattoo wasn't about Carrie's father's firm but his boat, and her album was a confession to a secret in her past, but it was about Susan Knight's death as opposed to something that happened in Catholic School. When Veronica explains her Eureka Moment to Logan, he points out how much like Ruby she sounds.
Dirty Cop: In the interrim the position of Sherrif has been taken by Don Lamb's older brother Dan. Keith notes that he's as lazy and incompetent as his little brother, but far more openly corrupt. While Don would persecute even rich people if the evidence pointed to them, Dan hires himself out to the wealthy and affluent, doesn't even pretend to be interested in bringing justice and regularly plants evidence on suspects.
Distant Finale: From the very beginning the entire movie provides one for the series, being set around a decade after the show. In true Distant Finale tradition, particularly following on from a show set in a high school, several characters (Mac, Dick, Madison) have turned out more or less exactly as you'd expect, while others (Logan, Weevil) are revealed to have changed a good deal.
Evil Lawyer Joke: Veronica uses the existence of this trope as proof that Private Detectives are more respected than lawyers.
Veronica: Tell me one Private Detective Joke...
Expy: Carrie’s musical career seems to be a mishmash of Lana Del Rey’s DIY sound and aesthetic with Katy Perry’s early life background as a Christian girl from Southern California.
Good-Looking Privates: Logan became a pilot in the Navy, and even greets Veronica at the gate in his dress whites.
Veronica: You should only wear this. Like, ever.
Heel Realization: Deputy Sacks. By way of explaining his Heel-Face Turn, he retells an old joke about a pair of Obviously Evil Nazis who look at their skull insignia, the pile of dead bodies, and their boss, and realize they're the bad guys. He is abruptly killed soon after.
In Harm's Way: Veronica. She likens the detective lifestyle to an addiction, one she thought she'd kicked by leaving Neptune, and describes the future she'd been working towards as a high-powered New York lawyer as "boring". By the end, she's embraced her "addiction".
It's All About Me: Madison at the Reunion. After Veronica's sex tape is played on the big screen for everyone to see, a brawl breaks out and Veronica breaks it up by setting off the fire sprinklers. Madison proceeds to deliver a What the Hell, Hero? to Veronica about her having to ruin everyone else's fun. So Veronica slugs her.
Karma Houdini: Dick gets a free pass for being involved in the boat death. He really did pass out before everything happened, thus letting him totally avoid the questions about not checking on the girl who eventually died, avoid not being woken up to dispose of the body with the anchor, not get photographed throwing the girl overboard, and not get blackmailed for 10 years. Not to mention despite several others from the series getting the comeuppance they've long deserved, Dick still gets a free pass for drugging the drink that led to Veronica getting raped. By this point it really feels like Rob Thomas' affection for Ryan Hansen is affecting how the story should go.
Mood Whiplash: The film starts out relatively light for a murder mystery, but things get much darker after Keith ends up in the hospital.
Mythology Gag: Leo D'Amato finds Veronica waiting for him at his desk at the San Diego Police Department, and mistakenly thinks she's asking for assistance on an FBI case. This is a reference to Rob Thomas' proposed retooling of the show after season three, which would've skipped ahead to Veronica as a junior FBI agent (a short pilot was produced, starring Kristen Bell and WaltGoggins, and appears on the third season DVDs). Lampshaded further by Veronica when Leo, genuinely puzzled that she's working a case as a PI, asks whether the rumour he heard about her joining the FBI was true:
Veronica: "In another life, maybe."
No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Weevil sees an SUV being harassed by a bunch of PCHers on his way to pick up diapers for his kid. He knocks on the door to ask if the driver needs help and promptly gets shot by said driver...Celeste Kane. In the end she enlists the police to help make it look like he was the gang leader, including planting a stolen gun on Weevil.
Offscreen Inertia: The movie can talk all it wants about how Veronica and Piz broke up shortly after season 3 and only recently got together again, but to a lot of fans, especially the ones who thought he was The Scrappy, it still feels exactly like they were together all those years.
Also joked about: Veronica asks Madison if she's been sitting in the same spot since the last time they talked 10 years previously.
Porn Stache: Deputy Sacks. Veronica makes a crack about how he kept it until it came back in style.
Precision F-Strike: Veronica is getting hit on at a bar. Her response is simply to snarl "fuck off" at the creep.
Product Placement: The Skype logo can be seen during a video call, and much of the plot revolves around Samsung Galaxy Note tablets.
Deputy Sacks is murdered in a deliberate car crash shortly after he confesses to Keith about the rampant corruption in the sherrif's department.
Veronica confronts Gia about her affair with Cobb and how she was involved in covering up Susan Knight's accidental death nine years before and Carrie Bishop's recent murder. Gia reveals that Cobb in fact blackmailed them all with Susan's death and that she has been his sex slave for years. When she notes that he's always looking at her through her window, she immediately gets shot to death with a sniper rifle.
Remember the New Guy: Cobb was created for the movie and never appeared on the show, whereas nearly all of the other Neptune High alumni had shown up in the series before.
Retcon: Despite the movie remaining very faithful to the canon established by the series, there are a couple of minor ones:
At Veronica's job interview, the interviewer mentions that Veronica was issued a PI licence on her 18th birthday. We see Veronica pass her test and get licensed in Season 3, sometime after her 19th birthday.
When Veronica and Piz's sex tape is shown at the reunion, the snippet that appears on-screen is a close-up shot, and makes it clear that the couple in the video are having full-on sex. In Season 3, the video is a wide-angle shot from a hidden, static camera at the opposite end of the room; furthermore, Veronica's initial disbelief about the tape's existence is based on the fact that they hadn't actually had sex yet when the video went viral, and it was clarified that the tape doesn't in fact show them having sex, just non-specified "fooling around".
While they're not exactly Retconned Out, Veronica's summary of the series makes no mention of Duncan or Cassidy, despite the fact that their roles in the series were of comparable importance to those played by Lilly and Logan, both of whom are mentioned at length, and even Aaron Echolls is mentioned a couple of times. Presumably this is down to Law of Conservation of Detail, since none of the events related to them have any direct impact on the film.
Reunion Revenge: Averted as far as the murder mystery goes. Veronica ends up attending her ten year high school reunion during the course of the plot, but the timing has no bearing on the main mystery. Minor, non-fatal versions of this trope occur, however:
Madison Sinclair gets hold of Veronica and Piz's sex tape and shows it on the screen as a mean-spirited prank. Even nine years since she last saw her, she still really has it in for Veronica.
Mac Lampshades this trope with her reason for attending the reunion despite not liking most of her former classmates: "As a high school nerd success story, I have to take my victory lap."
Among the celebrities listed in the sidebar for the TMZ transmission after Cobb is arrested and Sheriff Dan Lamb's corruption is revealed are Veronica Mars guest stars Jessica Chastain, Armie Hammer and Leighton Meester (see also The Other Darrin in the Trivia tab for the last-named).
Wallace says at the reunion "Alexis Link" promised to hook up with him if they were both single. Alexis Link is one of the fans who contributed to the Kickstarter campaign.
When he sees Veronica has no idea Wallace and Mac are taking her to the reunion, Keith imitates Charlie Chan.
Sibling Yin-Yang: A notable difference between the Lamb brothers is that Don, while a total ass-hat, is actually on the up-and-up, following what the evidence says even if it would either set people he dislikes free or imprison those he would normally suck up to. His brother is straight out corrupt.
Stalker with a Crush: Ruby Jetson, otherwise known as onetime Neptune High classmate Della Pugh. She's implied to have had a long-term obsession with Carrie Bishop since high school. Her crush on Logan seems to simply be a desire to have what Carrie had.
Status Quo Is God: By the end of the movie pretty much every single main character is back where they started at the end of Season 1. Veronica? Back in Neptune, back as a PI. Weevil? back in leather, on his bike and in charge of some sort of PCH-like group. Wallace and Mac? Back as Veronica's main source of school related info and Veronica's IT department respectively. Logan and Veronica? Back together and yet not because he's off to fly jet's for 180 days.
That Poor Cat: Subverted. It looks like the Big Bad is going to shoot the cat through a trash can, but the cat later appears unharmed.
Theme Tune Cameo: At the beginning of the film, Veronica and Piz pass a street busker playing "We Used To Be Friends", the series' Real Song Theme Tune. The original Dandy Warhols version plays over the end credits.
To Absent Friends: At the Reunion, Madison reads off a list of classmates who have passed away, before segueing to other topics.
True Companions: Veronica, Wallace, Weevil, Mac, Piz, and Logan. Dick also fits to a certain degree.
The War on Terror: Gets a passing mention, when one of the lawyers says they can use Logan's military career as leverage in the court of public opinion.
Wham Episode: Three. The first is Celeste Kane accidentally shoots Weevil, who was trying to help her. The second is when Keith and Sacks are t-boned by a massive hummer: Keith survives; Sacks does not. The third is Gia being shot in the chest as she's revealing to Veronica who the Big Bad is.