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Review: There's no place on Earth like Neptune for "Veronica Mars"

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Veronica Mars

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One year removed from its record-breaking Kickstarter campaign, and nearly seven years after the cancellation of the series it’s based upon, “Veronica Mars” is available worldwide.

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Veronica (Kristen Bell) is on the verge of becoming New York’s newest lawyer when tragedy drags her home to Neptune, CA. Her perennial bad boy ex, Logan Echolls (Jason Dohring), is the prime suspect in a murder investigation, and it’s not long before Veronica’s back to sleuthing around her old stomping ground to discover the truth hidden under Neptune’s latest mystery.

In true “Veronica Mars” fashion, what follows is full of the series’ trademark combination of wit, drama, romance, pop-culture references, and neo-noir tendencies. Fans on either side of the Team Logan vs. Team Piz battle are sure to pick right back up where they left off, as Veronica continually finds herself compelled to see her latest case through despite her budding law career and her future with Piz (Chris Lowell) calling her back to New York.

Characters major and minor return for their time in the spotlight. From Veronica’s friends Wallace (Percy Daggs III) and Mac (Tina Majorino) to frenemy Dick Casablancas (Ryan Hansen) and nemesis Madison Sinclair (Amanda Noret), there are plenty of people around Neptune for Veronica, and the fans, to catch up with.

The cast haven’t missed a beat in their seven years away from each other, as the chemistry between everyone is spot-on. Veronica’s interactions with her dad Keith (Enrico Colantoni) are once again a highlight, as the actors transfer between witty banter and more serious moments with ease.

The film is full of callbacks to events major and minor in “Veronica Mars” history, so much so that even a DVD bonus feature gets a nod in the dialogue. As with each episode, “Veronica Mars” in movie form requires multiple viewings to have even a shot at catching every reference and throwback writer/director Rob Thomas crammed into the film.

Newcomers to “Veronica Mars” may not understand all of the subtext hidden under each interaction, but this is a film that requires no prior knowledge or affection to be enjoyed. It is, however, also a film that takes a beloved series and turns it into something even more. The freedom from network TV restrictions allows “Veronica Mars” to gain an edge that suits the matured, or in some cases merely aged, characters well.

The film may at times feel more like an extended television episode than a traditional film, but it was never intended to be traditional. “Veronica Mars” is a movie made primarily for the fans, and in a lot of ways because of the fans. Marshmallows everywhere can rejoice in the fact that the result of that Kickstarter campaign is not only a worthy followup to the series they adore, but hopefully also a sign of more “Mars” on the horizon- and after a lot less than seven years.

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