Soap Report: “The Veronica Mars Movie”

So, here’s the thing: I was going to at least try to pretend I could be objective about this movie. But it turns out that when you’ve loved something going on ten years, and spent most of those years thinking you’d never see it again… seeing it again is really pretty amazeballs. Like, I’ve basically been floating through the past week and half on a cloud of emotions and unicorns hearts.

And objectivity is overrated, anyway. LET THE SUPER SQUEE DEBRIEF BEGIN.

Veronica and Logan convertible1

On a scale of one to SO SATISFIED, OMG how good was this movie for you? It is literally impossible for me to imagine being more satisfied. (Well, maybe if the movie was twice as long? And if they’d done an NC-17 version of the love scene? I guess I could imagine being slightly more satisfied then.)

Suffice to say: it was super good for me on a spiritual level, I consider ever cent I contributed to the Kickstarter to be money really well spent, and if you’re looking for any sort of technical critique… this is probably not the place to find it.

So you loved all the things? Pretty much. In no particular order:

1. “Hello, Veronica.”

Veronica Mars is still my best girl. And for all the love triangle crap in the promotional materials, I’m so glad the actual story centered around her figuring out who she wants to be as an adult.

hello Veronica

If she’d never gotten to leave Neptune and we’d found her nine year later, still living that same life, it wouldn’t have worked as well. But she got out. She spent nearly a decade experiencing that stable, normal, and drama-free life she always thought she wanted. And I love that the movie was about putting that fantasy Veronica to bed and coming to terms with the fact that the real Veronica is happiest in the middle of that gritty, messy, exciting life she left behind.

(And let’s be honest: a Veronica who spent her days protecting the wealth and power of Fortune 500 companies? Would have been a Veronica who’d essentially lost her soul. I’m so glad we got to see her realize that.)

2. “That’s a funny thought, isn’t it? Me as a stabilizing influence.”

The Logan we got in this movie was pretty much everything I’ve ever wanted for him. Mature! Balanced! But still snarky and good in a fight! The Logan we left in season three was a hot mess. After losing so much, Veronica was basically the only stable thing in his life; without her he was a complete wreck, but even being with her wasn’t enough to keep him from constantly imploding.

Veronica and Logan convertible2

The Logan we meet in the movie finally figured out he needed to break that pattern. And best of all — he didn’t do it for Veronica. He did it for himself. (Maybe I’m just old now, but self-awareness and personal growth? Such a turn on.)

I’ve seen a few people complaining that they just couldn’t see Logan surviving in the military. It didn’t strike me that way. Yes, Logan’s always had problems with authority. UNDERSTATEMENT. But a huge part of that was that he’d been betrayed so badly by the authority figures in his life. Growing up, Logan had either too little oversight or way too much. And then he became an emancipated minor with severe emotional trauma, abandonment issues up the wazoo, and zero structure.

What he desperately needed was to be a part of a family unit again, to have a purpose aside from self-destruction, and be given some consistent discipline and rules that didn’t some from a place of abuse. I can absolutely seeing the Navy satisfying all of that. (Not that I’ve given this way too much thought, or anything.)

Veronica and Logan morning after

So, yes. I love the idea of him making the choice to channel all of his issues with violence and authority into something positive. And as a bonus: also becoming the kind of person who can truly deserve Veronica when they meet again — I mean, his heart was basically on his sleeve from the moment he first saw her at the airport, but this was a Logan who didn’t try to push, who just wanted her to be happy even if it meant leaving again, and who would have walked away without a word if that’s what she needed.

(Also, I love that effity uniform.)

3. “Come back to me.” “Always.”

On a similar note: EVERYTHING TO DO WITH LOGAN AND VERONICA WAS SUPER GOOD FOR ME, YOU GUYS. Falling back into old patterns? The tenderness of him tucking her in? The way neither of them could be in a single scene together without smoldering? The wall sex?

Veronica and Logan kiss1

FAIR WARNING: NEVER GETTING OVER THIS

Even after nine years of radio silence, they still know each other so well — him knowing if he needed her, she’d be there, her never having a doubt about his innocence… and the look on his face when he saw her walk out of the house in her messier hair and casual clothes and old bag! (I mentioned this was all good for me on a spiritual level, right?)

I know a lot of people hated how unresolved the show finale was, but I’ve always thought it was perfect for Logan and Veronica. If the show had ended with them happily together, I’d have loved it, but I’d never have believed they’d last for the long haul. Not as damaged as they both were at the time. That last look, though… that was all I needed to know they’d never really be over each other. And my personal head canon was always that they’d go their separate ways, grow up a bit, and come back together when they were both mature enough to make it work.

So basically, my head canon was this movie. IT MADE ME SO HAPPY, YOU GUYS.

4. “You know what else says a lot about a guy? His choice of friends.” 

When the idea of Veronica Mars, FBI was still floating around as a legitimate possibility, pretty much the only thing I didn’t love about the idea was that it would probably stretch credulity to get Wallace and Mac involved on a regular basis.

Wallace and Mac

The ten year reunion device solved that issue for the movie, but it also set them up very nicely to stick around for any future stories, whether in the novels or (fingers crossed!) a movie sequel. Mac working at Kane software would have been fine on its own, honestly — but now she and her fabulous haircut are working full time with Veronica and I AM SO HAPPY.

I hope that we find out a little bit more about how Wallace ended up as a teacher — I think he’d be great at it, but I’m a little sad he apparently gave up on his mechanical engineering dreams. Completely worth it, though, just for that scene where she called him for a favor. (Also: Wallace! Still the best BFF ever — giving Veronica light-hearted shit about Logan, instantly jumping into action when her sex tape came on at the reunion, and generally being his awesome Wallace self. I LOVE YOU, WALLACE!)

5. “Goodbye, Veronica.”

Poor Piz. I’ve never disliked him. I’ve just never thought he and Veronica were right for each other. And when they announced he’d be in the movie, I was a little confused that he would be included in a high school reunion.

Veronica and Piz

But the way it played out, I’m so glad he was there — not just because he was a useful symbol of the life she gave up in New York, but because we got to see grown up, successful, confident Piz reconnecting with Mac and Wallace, and to play all that extra history with him, Veronica and Logan in all their scenes.

And I like that he got the dignity of being the one to break up with Veronica. Oh, Piz. You’ll find a girl who’s right for you some day, buddy. (Extra heartbreak kudos to Chris Lowell for nailing that little about-to-cry voice break when he told her goodbye.)

6. “Who’s your daddy?”

KEITH MARS! Still the best fictional dad on the planet! (Sorry Coach Taylor and Uncle Mac — you guys are close seconds, I swear.) Honestly, just seeing Keith and Veronica together again would have been worth the price of admission by itself. How they can still both read each other like a book, and the love between them? I HAVE SO MANY KEITH MARS FEELINGS, Y’ALL.

Keith sees Veronica

THE FACE MY HEART MAKES
WHENEVER I SEE KEITH MARS

Basically, the only complaint I have about Keith in this movie was there wasn’t enough of him. But what we got was so great — standing up to the Neptune cops beating on those kids, not letting the Sheriff insult Veronica in front of him, all his pride at Veronica’s accomplishments… and disappointment at her choosing to follow his footsteps instead. (And his pride, again, waking up in the ICU to the news that she’d solved the case and struck a blow against Lamb.)

Oh, Keith. Never change.

7. “Franco? Have you seen that candid camera video of him trying on skinny jeans?”

Ira Glass, Dax Shepard, half the cast of Freaks and Geeks… all of the cameos in this movie were fabulous. And I say this as someone with a scorching case of PFGHTSD (Post Franco General Hospital Traumatic Stress Syndrome). But Franco mocking Franco, I can stomach.

Dax Shepard VM cameo

Almost every review of the movie, good or bad, has mentioned the amount of fan service. Which was off the charts. And I think that’s as it should be? This was a movie by the fans, for the fans. The theater where I watched was full of people who got every reference, laughed at every wink/nudge joke, and screamed at every cameo.

The celebrities were nice and all, but what I really enjoyed was getting the old gang back together. Vinnie, Cliff, Principal Clemmons, Gia, Madison, Luke, Celeste Kane, slimy Sean Friedrich. (Even Corny!) It was like seeing old friends again. And they all made Neptune feel like Neptune. (Also, can we talk about how perfect and adorable the entire Leo scene was? LEO. WHY ARE YOU SO AWESOME?)

8. “Of everyone I ever knew / I’ve learned to count on you”

Great music was a signature of the show — the tv soundtrack is actually still one of my favorite albums. I don’t love every song on the movie soundtrack quite as much, but the ones that work, really, really work. (Yes, I’ve basically had “Prosthetic Love” on repeat for days. DON’T JUDGE. IT IS LYRICAL PERFECTION.)

Logan carries Veronica

I would never have thought to choose “Chicago” for the scene in Logan’s convertible on the bridge. But when I saw it, it just seemed right.

Also, “Stick Up” is damn catchy.

9. “When the class war comes, Neptune will be ground zero.” 

Returning to the show’s roots by with the police corruption/brutality side plot was a smart choice, and not just because Neptune’s class and race issues are as topical as ever. The show’s always done some of its strongest work when dealing with the systemic abuses and inequalities underneath Neptune’s glossy surface. And refocusing on that lent Veronica’s choice to come back and fight the good fight more weight.

Weevil and Veronica reunion

The end visual of Weevil getting pulled back into his old life by forces outside his control was bittersweet but also vintage Veronica Mars. Although I’m a little confused about the PCHers — they were a high school motorcycle gang in the original series. And now Weevil’s clearly rolling with adults. Is he the leader again, just like that? What about his family? What does it all mean?!

(Also, Weevil has a hot wife and an adorable daughter! Weevil attends tea parties! WEEVIL, I MISSED YOU!)

10. “I’m not even allowed to have curtains.”

Poor Gia Goodman. I mean, yes: spoiled, self-absorbed and kind of dumb. Complicit in a negligent homicide at the very least. But not an inherently evil person. And after growing up in that creepy house with a pedophile and control-freak mother, it makes me extra sad to think of her spending the next ten years under the thumb of a stalker/rapist/killer. She deserved better than that.

Gia Goodman

The mystery itself was fine — it did exactly what it was supposed to, which was provide a reason for all of the characters to bounce around each other. It’s a shame Leighton Meester’s schedule couldn’t allow her to reprise her role as Carrie Bishop. It was slightly jarring to see someone else whenever her name came up, and hard to picture her and Logan having a past when it was a stranger’s face. But I did like the use of her and Susan Knight’s friendship (and the call back to Susan’s baby).

Was there anything you didn’t love madly? I deeply regret the choice to put Logan in ill-fitting dress whites when they should clearly have gone with the far more aesthetically pleasing dress blues. Come on, people. This is not rocket science.

I could also have wished for a bit more time to deal with Logan’s reaction to yet another girlfriend’s murder, but there’s only so much you can squeeze into a two hour movie where you’re also playing catch up on nine years of story and pulling in dozens of characters and also leaving time for hot wall sex, you know?

(And hey, maybe that’s what the books will be for?) (Have I mentioned I’m REALLY EXCITED to read The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line? BECAUSE I AM. I look forward to spending the weekend curled up with my copy, which should be waiting for me when I get home.)

So, should I watch this? Um, probably? If you love joy? (But first, you should marathon the entire tv series, because it is awesome and also we’ve just established that you love joy, right?)

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8 thoughts on “Soap Report: “The Veronica Mars Movie”

  1. I enjoyed it immensely; but I had mixed feelings about Weevil at the end. I didn’t really buy that he would just go back to the gang, or that they would welcome him. I felt like that was a little too neat of a reset; especially since the placement of all the other characters at the end was note perfect.

    • I definitely feel like it needed more of an explanation — the first time I watched I wasn’t clear on whether he’d been lying to Veronica before when he said he’d left the gang or why/how he’d have been let back in if he’d been telling the truth. Maybe the books with have more detail.

  2. Love this! Probably because it echo’s many of my own feelings about the movie. Of course, I want more. There wasn’t nearly enough time in a two-hour movie to spend enough time with all the characters we love and love to hate. But overall, this Kickstarter backer is more than satisfied.

  3. Weevil had been suppressing that part of his character just like Veronica was suppressing he true self. He was always a good guy, but that doesn’t mean that he can’t ride a motorcycle and get the respect that he deserves from his peers.

    Trust me his HOT wife didn’t marry him because he was a NICE guy.

    • Well, I imagine Weevil’s wife married him because he was the charming, funny, clever, and basically good person we knew on the show, and also because he wasn’t being arrested every other month anymore. Contrary to popular belief, although “low level criminal and leader of a motorcycle gang” may be exciting as a one night stand, it’s not all that appealing as a life partner/father to your child.

      But I’m not questioning his skills; just the timeline. He left the PCHers a decade ago, film-time. And they were a high school gang then. We see him at the end riding with an adult gang — and possibly leading them? It’s not clear how quickly that occurred or if he was already in contact with those guys. I guess he could have met them when they came to his shop? But the point is: if he was telling V the truth about not having ridden in years, then he’s been out of the game for a long time.

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