For fans: 3.5 stars

For newcomers: 2.5 stars

 

Directed by: Rob Thomas

Starring: Kristen Bell, Jason Dohring, Enrico Colantoni

Rated: PG-13

Whether you're a fan of the cult television show "Veronica Mars" (as you should be) or not (Why not? It's great.), the significance of the "Veronica Mars" movie should not be lost on you.

The film was funded by 91,585 donors through Kickstarter, meaning, in effect, that fans literally put their money where their mouths are.

This Friday, about a year later, the film will hit theaters and video on demand.

And this is most certainly a film for the fans. For newcomers checking out the "Mars" universe cold, without seeing the show's three seasons -- it ran from 2004 to '07 -- it's kind of like watching the series finale of a long-running program. It's hard to recommend watching it without seeing the show, though if you do, you will see a solid noir mystery solved by a spunky blonde.

It's easier to recommend that you binge-watch the 64 episodes.

But for fans -- and I certainly count myself as one -- the "Veronica Mars" film is a gift.

Set nine years after the end of the show, Veronica (Kristen Bell) is now living in New York City with boyfriend Piz (Chris Lowell, now starring in "Enlisted" on Fox). She's ditched her career as a private investigator for the law, and is being courted by a high-profile legal firm.

All is going well until Veronica's old beau Logan Echolls (Jason Dohring) gets caught up in yet another catastrophe -- his girlfriend, pop star Bonnie DeVille, has been killed, and he's the main suspect.

One phone call from Logan later and Veronica's on the next plane back to scenic Neptune, Calif., resurrecting her career as a P.I., much to the chagrin of her dad, Keith (Enrico Colantoni), who wants only for his daughter to not follow in his footsteps.

But as Veronica confesses, she's an addict. Her vice? Solving mysteries.

While on the prowl for Bonnie's killer, you'll take a reunion tour of old friends, and a few enemies, from Neptune.

Fans will gasp when favorite characters show up, laughing at in-jokes and enjoying an old-school "Veronica Mars" whodunit. Newbies: Just watch the show first, all right?