"A long time ago we used to be friends..."
It may indeed have been a long time (six years in the real world, and ten in TV land) but as V Mars returns for a movie follow-up to the cult US teen 'tec TV series, the spark is still there. And God it feels good to be back.
Not that things are exactly how we left them. Our slick, spunky crime-solving student has graduated to the real world. Veronica's changed – she's a marshmallow, now, don't you know. She's living with Piz, the sensible, stable guy. She's just been offered the dream job as a big shot NYC lawyer.
But then Logan – her angry, rage-filled former-flame – pops up his ugly (fine. Not ugly. He's certainly not deteriorated with age...) head and Veronica's heading back to where we started: Neptune, the "iniquitous hell-hole" where V grew up.
Logan has been accused of the murder of his pop star ex-girlfriend, Bonnie Deville, aka Carrie Bishop (who true fans will remember was originally played by Gossip Girl star Leighton Meister) and, like a moth to a flame, Veronica can't resist trying to solve the mystery herself. Before too long she's digging out her investigative bag of tricks and is back to stake outs and break ins.
To delight fans, a well timed ten-year reunion at Neptune High provides a tour of all the familiar faces – Wallace (Percy Daggs III), Mac (Tina Majorino), Gia (Krysten Ritter), Dick (Ryan Hansen), Weevil (Francis Capra) and Luke (Sam Huntington), to name a few. It's a much needed hit of nostalgia, before things get gritty.
Because this isn't just an obligatory rose-tinted return to a much-loved TV series. It doesn't dwell on the past or feel constrained because of it. This is V Mars at her very best, a gripping story, well made, balancing humour and the quick wit for which we love our Veronica with a captivating, heart-racing plot.
There is absolutely no doubt that the Veronica Mars film that will thrill Veronica Mars fans. But this sequel exceeds their (enormous) expectations. It stands on its own two feet as a brilliant film in it's own right. And after this cinema-screen debut, Veronica will likely have an even bigger band of Marshmallows behind her.
Me? I'm just sad it's all over again. After the original TV series was so unceremoniously taken off air back in 2007, fans have been pining, petitioning and praying for V Mars to make a return. And now she has. It was without doubt worth the wait. But I can't help asking: is this it?
"It's a one time deal. A farewell tour, if you will," said Veronica, slinging her PI bag over her leather-clad shoulder as she set off to help Logan once again.
"Then again, you ever hear the one about the junkie who was satisfied with just one more taste of the good stuff? Neither have I," she adds.
So come on guys. An army of crowd-sourcing Kickstarters were willing to pay for this jaunt, and with a film this good production companies will be kicking themselves that they didn't believe in the sequel from the start. So, Rob, Kristen? You'd be mad to call it quits again.
Go on, just one more taste of the good stuff...
Veronica Mars is in selected UK cinemas and available on demand from 14 March
Watch our exclusive interviews with Kristen Bell and director Rob Thomas: