I don’t do that anymore.”
Something about this movie caught my eye before I even saw it. I’m not really sure what. It might have been that this was the first feature-length film to be released by a major studio that was funded entirely by fans via Kickstarter. Or it might have been the fact that I like a good mystery, which is what the trailers hinted at. Or it might have been because of Kristen Bell.
Despite all those factors, I was hesitant to see this because of the fact that I hadn’t watch the television series in which this follows. Thankfully, this is similar to another film that follows its television show, Serenity. I had never watched an episode of Firefly in my life, and I really enjoyed the movie. Same goes for this film. Veronica Mars is a slick and witty mystery thriller that can be funny and quite intense at times.
Kristen Bell, who plays the titular character, Veronica Mars, is pretty funny here. She has a lot of smart one-liners, most of which were geared to the fans of the show, but still a handful that are just flat-out funny that anyone could laugh at. She was also pretty badass at times, which is something that most films tend to mishandle. Either they are badass or fun; neither both.
Sadly, the rest of the acting isn’t as impressive. Jason Dohring, who plays a man convicted of murder (and also happens to be Veronica’s past lover), is quite stale in his role. At times he seems to be in control, but other times I really wished that he wasn’t the focus of the movie. Apparently, he was a big part of the show, but his wooden acting didn’t do much for me.
Some of the other supporting characters, ranging from Veronica’s dad, her friends, and her high-school enemies, are fun to watch, but the film tries to show far too many characters, obviously for the fans. This leads to many characters being under-developed, even some of the more prominent characters. The fans in my theater were getting a kick out of all the cameos, but it felt like a lot for a film barley over an hour and a half long. I did, however, find James Franco’s cameo to be humorous, even if his role is ultimately pointless.
Okay, now I’m done trashing this film. I actually liked it a lot. The mystery was pretty intriguing and keep me interested for the whole runtime. Also, despite the fact that I haven’t seen the show, I really wish that I had before watching this because I liked a lot of the characters in this, and I wish I got to see more of them. Dick, in particular, got the most laughter out of me, despite his limited screentime.
Not only that, but the film is a lot more serious than I had expected. The previews painted this as a light-hearted mystery, but it gets pretty dark at times. Again, if I’d seen the television series beforehand, I probably would have known what to expect. But, for those of you Veronica Mars fans out there, no one is safe. There a handful of deaths here that were unexpected (some, however, I did see coming). But overall, the tone of the film was something I really liked.
Overall, Veronica Mars might be more for the fans of the television show, but it’s still a solid thriller. It’s witty, it’s smart, and it features a badass and extremely likable lead. It might be a little crowded and the acting was dull from a few key characters, but I’d highly recommend checking this one out. It might surprise you.
“Way to keep it PG-13.”
4 out of 5