Turning a TV series into a movie is harder and more tricky than it may sound, no matter how popular and well liked the series is/was. A movie is something totally different from a TV series episode, in which things are structured and layered differently and you have to take into account that you also need to appeal to a whole new- and much broader audience, who aren't all familiar with the TV series which the particular movie is based on. So how does this movie manage? It does a pretty good job, though in the long run this movie really isn't more than just another detective movie in my opinion.
That's often a problem with movies that are based on TV series. With a TV series you often can take years and years to set up your characters and their 'universe'. When it works out, it's often something great and original to watch but once it gets turned into a movie, things need to be set up and reestablished differently again and you can't just rely on everything that already had been build up and established within the TV series. One of the risks is that it just becomes another movie, of which there are so many out there already. And I feel that this definitely is somewhat being the case with the "Veronica Mars" movie as well. It really is just another basic and mostly straightforward detective movie but having said that, it's a pretty good and entertaining one nevertheless.
One of the questions many people will ask is if it's necessarily for you to first watch the "Veronica Mars" series or at least should familiarize yourself with what's it all about and who all of its characters are. Well, no this isn't really necessarily and I can know, since prior to this movie I knew absolutely nothing about any of the characters or what the series was all about in the first place, since I have never seen a single episode of it. The movie does bring you up to speed about things at the start of it, which is pleasant and helps the audiences who aren't familiar with the series story and characters to familiarize themselves with the characters and with the most important and relevant plot-points of the series.
But having said that; it of course help though if you're familiar with the series already. After all, it's pretty obvious that the movie is filled with tons of inside jokes and references to occurrences in past "Veronica Mars" episodes. Luckily it's never anything that's important for its main story though but I still have to say that it's somewhat annoying and the movie is doing it a bit too much. I'm sure that the fans of the series won't complain much about it though and it's obviously all there to please those very same fans.
Still a truly bad thing about this movie is that it often tries to throw in some additional plot lines, to provide some of the supporting characters with some story arcs as well. This all may be fine within a TV series episode but within a movie such as this one, none of the additional plot lines add anything to the movie. It's distracting and at times needlessly slows the movie down.
The main story itself also really isn't anything too solid or special. I mean, you might just as well watch a Columbo movie or a "Murder, She Wrote" episode. It offers the same sort of mystery and surprises as well as some of the same sort of developments and characters. But luckily the movie has one main thing going for it and that is that's an entertaining and perfectly fun one to watch. In some ways, it's more of a comedy, without ever overdoing things. In other words, the movie never is anything too crazy or unconvincing but it is something perfectly light and therefore something fine and pleasant to watch.
The characters are also all some good ones and part of the reason why the movie feels like a perfectly light and pleasant one. The characters are all easy to like, even if you don't know all that much about them. It's obvious that all of the actors are some good friends and have known each other for years and enjoyed the little reunion. Who knows, maybe this movie opened up the door for some future Veronica Mars movies. I wouldn't mind this by the way, despite my complaints and problems with this movie.
Simply a fine and entertaining detective movie, even if you aren't familiar with the "Veronica Mars" series and/or character.