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Film / Veronica Mars

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People call her a marshmallow.

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 same 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 Kickstarter project 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.

Though a sequel was never made, it was announced in August 2018 that Hulu had commissioned a fourth season of Veronica Mars to air the following year, which more or less picks up a few years later from where the movie left off.

Tropes in the film include:

  • Aborted Arc: The storylines that hung around the final episode are never discussed in the movie. Was Keith ever indicted for destroying evidence proving Veronica broke into the Kane house, among other things?
  • Action Girl: Veronica is every bit as badass as she was in the series.
  • Adam Westing: James Franco.
  • Alone with the Psycho: Veronica thinks she is this with Gia Goodman. Turns out, Cobb is the real psycho and Gia is under his thumb .
  • And the Adventure Continues: Veronica goes full time with Mars Investigations, with Mac on the payroll.
  • 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.
    • Not mentioned: Backup, Mars' dog (between Season 3 and The Movie).
  • 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.
  • Back in the Saddle:
    • 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.
    • And as part of the Bittersweet Ending, we see that Weevil is back to his old ways again.
  • 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. Veronica ends this nonsense by activating the fire sprinklers.
  • 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.
  • Betty and Veronica: The season 3 love triangle returns in full force.
  • Big Bad: Cobb.
  • Big Damn Movie
  • 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.
    • The mid-credits stinger shows James Franco still trying to find a rhyme for "orange".
  • Bus Crash: Carrie Bishop and Susan Knight. By the end of the movie, also Gia and Deputy Sacks. (Nothing to do with the actual bus crash from season 2.)
  • Call-Back: Lots, in just the first few minutes.
    • Piz brings up the time that Logan beat the crap out of him.
    • 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.
    • Eden Sher as his assistant, Penny.
    • Dax Shepard as a hilariously over-the-top drunken lech 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.
  • Canon Discontinuity: With the exception of Piz, nothing is mentioned of Season 3 (how Keith was facing charges for destroying evidence, or how Vinnie was to become sheriff). Probably for the best.
  • 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.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The stun gun, the pepper spray, and the prepaid cell phone, all from Veronica's box of "Accessories".
    • Also, Veronica's invokedsex 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.
  • Coolest Club Ever: The 09er.
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: Nobody actually did anything wrong in Susan Knight's overdose, but it's Played for Drama and lampshaded in that Stu manipulated them into disposing of the body so they would be implicated.
  • 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.
  • Dame with a Case: Like the TV series before it, the film begins with this trope gender-flipped: when Veronica's back in town for her high school reunion, her old flame Logan (a gender flip of the Femme Fatale) is arrested for the murder of his fiance, Carrie Bishop, and asks Veronica for her help in finding the real murderer.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Everyone. This is Veronica Mars, after all.
  • Diegetic Soundtrack Usage: 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.
  • Dirty Cop: In the interrim the position of sheriff 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 prosecute 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.
  • From Bad to Worse: Neptune has gotten much worse since Veronica left.
  • 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, as featured in a That Mitchell and Webb Look sketch 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 and Kristen Bell's affection for Ryan Hansen is affecting how the story should go.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: At the end of the film, Veronica delivers what would otherwise be a Cluster F-Bomb were it not for her repeated use of the word "effing" as a self-censor. Logan thanks her for keeping it PG-13. The movie was rated PG-13, and Veronica had already cashed in the film's only allowed Precision F-Strike midway through.
  • 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 Walt Goggins, 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.
  • Private Eye Monologue
  • Product Placement: The Skype logo can be seen during a video call, and much of the plot revolves around Samsung Galaxy Note tablets.
  • Redemption Equals Death:
    • Deputy Sacks is murdered in a deliberate car crash shortly after he confesses to Keith about the rampant corruption in the sheriff'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.
  • Replacement Sibling: Neptune County Sheriff Dan Lamb (played by Jerry O'Connell), big brother of the late Don Lamb. He's basically the latter done right: Rob Thomas always envisioned Don Lamb as an irredeemably venal stooge for the well-off, but several sympathetic moments (and no doubt his looks) throughout the show led to Don acquiring a surprisingly large fanbase. Dan Lamb plays the part much straighter in The Film of the Series.
  • 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.
    • And of course there's the aforementioned Canon Discontinuity mentioned above with regards to Season 3: Piz is the only character introduced in that season to appear or even be mentioned in the movie, despite the fact that the season added a new female lead (Parker Lee) and several new recurring characters whose story-lines were never fully resolved. There's also no mention of Keith's looming legal troubles at the end of the season, or his and Vinnie's competing bids for the role of sheriff at around the same time.
  • 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."
  • Sean Connery Is About To Take Your Photo: The movie poster.
  • Self-Defense Ruse: Well-to-do Celeste Kane is cornered and harassed by a group of bikers before Weevil (a former criminal who has turned his life around) arrives and chases them off. Celeste pulls a pistol and shoots Weevil (non-fatally) in her panic. This is then covered up for her by the corrupt Sheriff, who plants a weapon on him. Sadly, this event causes Weevil to go back to crime.
  • Sequel Hook: The whole "police corruption" subplot is left unresolved, with the implication that Veronica's mission going forward will be to try and clean up Neptune. Ultimately ignored as neither the books nor the eventual fourth season, which are set after the film, address it.
  • Ship Sinking: Piz & Veronica.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Piz notes that Neptune High really does sit on a Hellmouth.
    • The logo to the 09er club is the same logo of Silver Pictures, the company that executive producer Joel Silver heads.
    • To The Accused when Veronica and Logan are in the karaoke bar.
    • Veronica claims that her dad is the George Bailey of Neptune.
    • Mac shows up at Veronica's house and they rehash the "Candygram for Mongo" bit.
    • The celebrities listed with Bonnie DeVille (the name Carrie Bishop took for her singing career) in the sidebar for the TMZ transmission after Cobb is arrested and Sheriff Dan Lamb's corruption is revealed are Veronica Mars guest stars Armie Hammer, Jessica Chastain, Leighton Meester (about whom see also The Other Darrin in the Trivia tab), Aaron Paul, Melissa Leo, and Paris Hilton.
    • 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 Veronica first sees Logan at the airport in his uniform, she asks if he's going to carry her. He does so later after Keith is hurt. Also, the PG-13 dialogue referred to above (see Leaning on the Fourth Wall) is from Jack Nicholson's "You're gonna have to ask me nicely" speech from A Few Good Men.
    • Explaining his Heel Realization, Deputy Sacks references a classic Mitchell and Webb sketch about the Nazis (the same sketch, incidentally, that provides the Heel Realization page quote).
    • During the Bar Brawl sequence, Dick takes a swig of his flask, strolls into the brawl, and shouts, "Welcome to the BC, bitch!" before his fists start flying.
    • When he sees Veronica has no idea Wallace and Mac are taking her to the reunion, Keith imitates Charlie Chan.
    • Dan Lamb's password (according to Mac) is "JohnnyUtah69"
    • When he sees her, Vinnie calls Veronica Neptune's Angela Lansbury.
  • 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.
    • Stu was obsessed with Gia since high school too, selling drugs to her and her friends just to be around her. He forces her to have sex with him after he manipulates her to cover up Susan's death.
  • 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 jets for 180 days.
  • Talk to the Fist: Madison ends up getting laid out by Veronica at the Reunion.
  • Telepathic Sprinklers: Veronica breaks up a fight by holding a lighter to a single sprinkler head, which causes all the other sprinklers to go off except for the one directly over her.
  • 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.
  • Time Skip: The movie takes place at Veronica's ten-year high school reunion, nine years after the events at the end of the show's final season. Interestingly, this means that the film takes place 20 Minutes into the Future, since Veronica graduated in the class of '06, so the film released in 2014 is presumably set in 2016 (although they don't say it outright).
  • 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.
  • 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.

Hello, Veronica.