The Return of Veronica Mars Talk (movie edition!)

Veronica_Mars_Film_PosterSo, things are different now and we don't do the TV gabfest around here so much, but I feel the need to create a spoilery haven for discussion of the movie (which we just watched on Amazon streaming, and I will probably watch again later!), if people want to.

Ye olde Veronica Mars Talk returns.

Let me know what you thought in the comments, if you're so inclined.

30 Responses to “The Return of Veronica Mars Talk (movie edition!)”

  1. Gwenda Bond

    So, I LOVED it, as I’ve said elsewhere. It just made me long for the show, and more time to explore all the subplots in play here. Not to mention I would watch Papa Mars and Veronica banter for at least another half hour, and also Mac and Wallace doing anything.
    I especially liked that we returned to the class politics of the first season, at least in the set-up of the town and the dynamics. That alone gives me hope that perhaps we could see more of these, if we can’t have the show back on TV. I’m sure I will come up with more to say…
    I thought it was very interesting, the concerted effort to both have Logan be the one in trouble but to also make him a suitable love interest for adult Veronica. Did they go too far in smoothing the edges or did we just not get enough of the fight scene? I don’t know, and it doesn’t matter because the chemistry between those two actors in those roles is too amazing for it to.
    Like Christopher, I was dismayed and yet completely believed Weevil’s return to the gang at the end. Do we think it’s temporary?
    So. Many. Great. Lines.
    Happiness. More TK. Et tu?

  2. Gwenda Bond

    But I also like kinder, more settled, caretaker Logan. It’s sort of the arc he was on, right?

  3. Andrhia

    I had the great fortune of seeing it at the NYC premiere on Monday night, and every time a new character appeared on screen, a mighty cheer arose from the crowd. Except for Celeste Kane. It was an amazing experience.
    When I backed the movie, I said it almost didn’t matter whether the film was good or not, because we just wanted a chance to be with the characters again. I had low expectations, actually. But the movie exceeded them by leaps and bounds. Such banter! All of the snarks! And the best, best, best fan service. Gahhhh I’ve been going crazy all week not being able to talk about it. ^_^

  4. Christopher

    Yeah, Weevil’s “fall” was heartbreaking, especially since we have no guarantee that we’ll get to see it explored in future VM texts.
    I know, I know, I know, everybody thinks Logan should be all dark and interesting, but I just think he’s dark and boring. Veronica’s falling back into his arms shows a weakness (if, yeah, an interesting one) in her character, not a strength. Her father recognizes that.
    Would have liked more screen time for Wallace and Mac. Thought the deputy’s death was effective. Wonder why Sheriff Lamb’s brother was there instead of Sheriff Lamb himself and wondering if I’m not remembering something from the tv show that would disallow that.
    And another minority view. I would have loved a sidelight scene of Duncan and his daughter living a fulfilled life in Mexico.

  5. Gwenda Bond

    I bet! And I envy seeing in a theater. Though I must admit there was something MAGICAL about watching it in the living room, where we fell in love with the show in the first place, with the requisite pausing for snacks and wine refreshing. (That said, I’d have loved to see it in a crowd.)
    It so exceeded my expectations. I wanted it to be good, but it absolutely hit the sweet spot and made me long for more of everyone. Ideal, right? And Veronica’s arc–I didn’t mention that before, but it was just perfect. The acceptance of who she is; it still felt like a YA show, like YA. In fact, I was so impressed at how they used the reunion and callbacks to mirror the show’s formula, rather than trying to completely reinvent (the way the FBI version might have).
    SO HAPPY.

  6. Gwenda Bond

    Dude, you have to set your bad-boy prejudice aside. First, he’s a soldier who doesn’t shrug off duty to hang with his reunited love of his life at the end. Second, HE SAVED HER DAD’S life.
    I’m curious whether anyone else felt he was too smoothed out–maybe it’s a taste thing. Poor Piz. He never had a chance. I was still happy with this reunion, especially if this is the last we see of these characters.
    Blergh on Duncan!
    (p.s. I like that you would prefer a wholehearted ‘good guy’. But storywise, Veronica needs a little bit of a challenge… If we do get future movies, I hope that is explored between them. But this had to make this feel right as an ending, in case.)

  7. Gwenda Bond

    Also, this is my favorite kind of ending — the kind that opens a story up to more stories. Shivers.

  8. Andrhia

    You know they’ve committed to writing a book series, right? And opened it up to Kindle Worlds, too. So even if we don’t get more movies, there’s definitely gonna be a lot more Veronica.

  9. Gwenda Bond

    Is it wrong that I mostly want the lazy-for-me on-screen kind? But all of these are very good things. I hope the swell of attention and more other stuff means more Official movie or TV special-shaped things. (I am very interested to see what happens with the Kindle Worlds!)
    (True story, once upon a time I was approached to write a novelization of the TV show that would then be translated into Japanese. I didn’t have time to do it. :-)

  10. Gwenda Bond

    Just remembered: James Franco.

  11. Niall

    Not to worry, I’m also not fond of Logan, I do like Piz, and I even have a soft spot for Duncan (I’d love to see Duncan crop up again at some point in the future — the kid must be what, 11 or 12 by now…?). But, I do think they managed to make this iteration of Veronica/Logan dramatically interesting, precisely for the reason you state — we’re allowed, even encouraged, to see the weakness in the decision as well as the passion.
    More Wallace and Mac make everything better. Best plot for the sequel would be Veronica and Mac taking down Kane Software. Second best: Veronica and Keith cleaning up the police department.

  12. Niall

    I did think Neptune still had a great sense-of-place about it, and it was as interesting checking in on the town as on the characters, almost.

  13. Niall

    I think they just about got away with the smoothing-out of Logan. First because I think Veronica — and therefore we — were never completely certain how smoothed he really was, there was a sense that he could lapse at any point (after all, Veronica and Weevil do…). And second because they so clearly stuck Logan in the damsel-in-distress box, what they did with his character just sort of fit that role.
    (Also, so glad Veronica got to lamp the bad guy herself this time!)

  14. Gwenda Bond

    I like this — I think you’re right. Part of what makes these characters work so well is the extremes they will visit, and the unpredictability of when it will happen. And so much agreed on V taking care of the bad guy! I also appreciated and thought it was very smart that we knew Papa Mars wasn’t showing up either.

  15. Gwenda Bond

    Yes! The thing I missed after the first season was that the class warfare elements faded into the background. Here they were back and I would be so in to watch that for a long time to come.
    There are so many threads you could pull on there, starting, as you say, with Kane Software. (Also, we’d get a lot more Mac in a story like that–which I would love.)

  16. Didic

    What I loved about the movie (well, I loved a lot of things about the movie, but what I’d specifically like to point out) was that it was a perfect blend of fan-service and tragedy. Veronica ends up where she does because Thomas felt fans wanted to see her as a PI. But it’s such a tragedy. We get a mention of where Thomas would have put her if he didn’t feel like he owed it to the fans to bring back all the old characters: the FBI, and I feel like the movie could have lead there. But this is a movie about patterns and addiction, and in the end, she ends up right back where she worked so hard to not be.
    Same for Piz. He lost because, well, fans hated him.

  17. Didic

    That’s me. I signed in after posting this to post the longer one.

  18. Gwenda Bond

    Interesting, very interesting. And it is fascinating, isn’t it, to think about the difference between this vision and that?
    I was very interested in the FBI storyline when it was presented initially, but in many ways it feels like that was actually an attempt at transformation I don’t know if I’d ultimately have been convinced by or not (though I heartily appreciate that Thomas did everything he could to try and save the show by reinventing it). In noir, the hero can never escape the shadows, and certainly not entirely, and there is the feeling that if they could, it wouldn’t suit them. And so this idea of investigating as an addiction returned the show to its roots for me. (FBI stories feel like a different kind of crime subgenre, mostly, than noir, to me, more about an innate code of justice triumphing, instead of justice triumphing momentarily over chaos, but never fully and always with some loss.) And Neptune has always been a great city for a modern noir. That sense of loss, I guess, here is Weevil’s return to the gang. And also, as you so rightly point out, Veronica’s return to Mars Investigations–both a triumph and a loss. (But one we cheer.)
    And it’s easier for us not to truly regret the 10 years she worked to get out because we didn’t see it… But you’re right, I think, to point to the poignancy there, the twist in it.
    I wish there’d been a little more time to process the murder that injured Papa Mars. All I can really think is make another one. Now please!
    (In his way, Piz working at This American Life makes him the ultimate nerd love interest. Hubba NPR hubba! But still not right for Veronica.)

  19. Gwenda Bond

    Oh, and p.s. Don’t know if you watch The Good Wife (fab show), but I did have a moment when she was in the lawyer interview where I had a beautiful vision of Veronica as an investigator ala Kalinda and the two of them working together. Someone please do a version of that show, thank yew.

  20. Mark

    Lamb was killed in the series.

  21. Didic

    I think you could do different things with an FBI story. Technically, Twin Peaks is an FBI story, in the sense that the protagonist is an FBI agent.
    Part of me was cheering Veronica’s return to Mars Investigations, but another part of me was yelling “noooooo!” because she’s overqualified. She is too smart for this job. Not that “corporate lawyer” was ever a good idea, but I could see her transitioning to doing all kinds of greater good stuff as a lawyer. Veronica Mars, EFF lawyer? That would work. She knows a LOT about invading privacy.

  22. Didic

    I know The Good Wife, but don’t watch it so much. But Kalinda and Veronica would definitely make a great tag team.

  23. claire

    I agree with most of what you said, Gwenda, but I hate that Piz was in it. Yeah, I hated his character, because he always represented healthy and boring. And I don’t believe that Veronica, after escaping Neptune and going out into the non-noir world, would have opted for Neptune’s brand of healthy and boring. I know they brought Piz back just to pizz on him for the sake of the fans, but the Piz element made the whole thing feel really claustrophobic and unrealistic. Veronica would have been with some nice but competitive guy she met in law school, and he would have been top of his class and would have offered something challenging, but within the lines. And he wouldn’t have understood the pull of Neptune’s corruption *at all*.
    And I *don’t* agree that there’s any tragedy in Veronica or Weevil getting pulled back in. This is about *power* and what kind of power you take or don’t take in the world. As a girl detective in Neptune, Veronica had a real power to affect people and the course of events. A power to enact justice and affect the pubic good. As a lawyer — as she argues with Keith in the movie — she has privilege, and partakes of a greater institutional power, but has no affect on *good*. Keith never makes any bones about arguing for prestige and privilege for her: it’s all about what will impress her boyfriend’s family, and how much money she’ll make, and “getting out” of a hometown he felt perfectly fine bringing her up in, and still lives in. Veronica hasn’t articulated the power thing to herself yet; being her mother’s daughter, she can’t help but think of herself as an addict. But addiction is a metaphor, not a reality. What’s she’s really after is power.
    And Weevil’s choice at the end is the same: power. He left the gang for essentially the same reason that Veronica left Neptune: power was corrupting them both. And he did healthy and boring, just as Veronica did. And while the two of them were being healthy and boring (don’t forget that, as a team, they were able to change a *lot* of stuff in Neptune) Neptune sank ever further into corruption. And then that corruption that they stopped stopping came around and bit them both in the ass, and they both finally had to take notice and return to their positions of power to stop it. I think it’s triumphal.

  24. Gwenda Bond

    Interesting — I will have to think more about this. I’m not sure I can agree; it’s a smart take, it’s just not the same as mine. Which is what makes this kind of discussion so fun. :-)
    I think Veronica Mars on the whole was darker than the movie *feels* (if that makes sense). I think about the election hanging over the final episode, the noir sense that justice is a fool’s game you have to play anyway if you want to make a difference, but which you’ll play continually because you can never fully win. I like the idea of Veronica making her peace with that, and with her own nature, but I don’t believe that this is her only path to power and that there aren’t many others available. And that includes being a lawyer–it’s not that she couldn’t make a difference there or be powerful, it’s that she couldn’t do it in the way she’s most suited to or sees as most important (her respect for her dad absolutely comes through there). To me, this is still a YA story, even with the time jump…it’s her accepting who she is and owning it. The power is her being who she is without feeling the need to change it.
    I would need more info to make the same call on Weevil, and in fact, I think his choice is noir as well. We get so little of him. I would want to know how his wife feels about it, or his child. He sure seems happy at the reunion, not faking happy. It’s bittersweet for me, even if I as a fan of the show might like seeing him return to being “old” Weevil.
    I agree it feels triumphal, but a noir version of triumphal for me.
    (And while I don’t think Piz is right for Veronica, I take a minority opinion and really like that character and always have. I enjoyed how he was deployed here, and felt bad for him without having to worry about him too much. I like Veronica being shown as dating vastly different people over the course of the show; it underscores that the romance isn’t her primary storyline. Though I know, I know, LoVe. But I really appreciated that the last shot is not her as part of a couple, but her in her new/old life.)

  25. Gwenda Bond

    Oh, sure, I can see it, but the only way I can think of it is this: without the Hellmouth, Buffy is an entirely different show (Angel–kidding! though he did end up in charge of a law firm!)*. It feels like the same with Neptune and VM, somehow.
    *I loved Piz’s Hellmouth joke.

  26. Bill Schlimme

    About that election: I could very much be wrong, but it was never made clear what the result of that election had been. While I assume that Vinnie won it, the ambiguity underscores how deep the corruption in Neptune goes. One man can’t be blamed for the venality of the current people in power, the other wasn’t able to stop that corruption.
    As to the movie itself: it was better than I really had any reason to expect. There were numerous points when I found myself exclaiming with joy at what I was watching on the screen. I even enjoyed seeing the return of Celeste Kane. And I still have a crush on Logan Echolls. I think that by completing Veronica’s arc — not just in terms of Logan, but her finally accepting who she was meant to be — that, if this turns out to be the last time Kristin Bell gets to play her, I’m ok with that. (If she does get to play her again, well I’m definitely ok with that too!) I’m also VERY ok that Veronica finally got a chance to take down a guilty party without becoming a damsel in distress to be saved by her dad or Logan. Turns out all she ever needed was a feline accomplice and a golf club.
    Just as a note, I’d like to say that I originally got into this series because of you, when you started discussing it after the dissolution of the Gilmore Gossip Circle (RIP). The first season is my go-to for whenever I’m feeling down: I still feel down afterward, but I’m always strangely ok with that. So thank you!

  27. Gwenda Bond

    Yes, yes to all of that, Bill — even Celeste Kane and on that perfect first season being the ultimate downer pick-me-up. :-) It makes me incredibly happy that you came to Veronica Mars via the old threads. I still miss Gilmore Girls too; my kingdom for Amy Sherman-Palladino to finally tell us what the last lines of GG were supposed to be.

  28. Gwenda Bond

    Some very interesting discussion — and comments from Rob Thomas too — in this Washington Post piece about the movie, justice and inequality, the intersection of stand-your-ground and stop-and-frisk, and Neptune:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/act-four/wp/2014/03/17/veronica-mars-takes-on-police-misconduct-income-inequality/

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