Puss in Boots has grown into a beloved character in the Shrek franchise where he can come off as a loner type character who can be broody and mysterious but also come off as a funny feline depending on the situation. We got to know his backstory and see him out on his own with the first Puss in Boots film. It is over a decade later and we got a sequel that just brings new life into the Shrek series in Puss in Boots: The Last Wish. The film does take quips on pop culture that we’ve seen in other Shrek movies, but it is a mature and emotionally crafted story at its core with some family-friendly entertainment. What we get is perhaps one of the best entries that the Shrek franchise has to offer about the swash-buckling feline vigilante.
In the film, Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas) is regarded as a hero with no fear of his enemies and has defied death in more ways than he can count. After countless adventures saving villages and looting the rich, Puss in Boots finds out that he is on the last of his nine lives. Knowing that he can die at any moment, Puss In Boots believes he must retire his sword and live out the rest of his days in solitude. However, his saving grace is hunting down the mythical wishing star to grant his wish to gain all his nine lives back. This puts our feline in another crazy adventure where he isn’t the only one after the wishing star as other fairy tale characters are on his tail as well. On top of that, the Wolf of Death (Wagner Moura) is also after him in his last life. Puss will run into some new enemies as well as an old flame, Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek), as everyone goes after the famed treasure.
Puss In Boots: The Last Wish takes inspiration from those old spaghetti Westerns to show a veteran hero facing his mortality after going through many journeys filled with adventure and danger. Just the style and the dialogue just echo a lot of Western films, including those with Clint Eastwood. We see that in the action when Puss goes up against a giant or when he has a standoff against the Wolf of Death. It is also good to see some of that Spanish flavor in the film thanks to the widely diverse Hispanic cast we have here. It’s something that we don’t get to see a lot in animation and Puss In Boots: The Last Wish takes full advantage of it to deliver a wildly entertaining piece of work.
It’s also surprising just how mature and dark the film is, something that DreamWorks Animation doesn’t do a lot in their movies. Puss In Boots: The Last Wish tackles some hard-hitting topics like death and embracing life to the fullest. We also get some dark truths as well like ending up alone or that sometimes people you trust can betray you. Even the action is top-notch for a Puss In Boots film that reminisces a Western. We get some wide shots from a lot of the battle sequences that oftentimes feel like a big-budget spectacle. It has that old-school technique mixed in with amazing visuals that just pop out of the screen like a fairy tale book come to life. The film also pushes the stakes for our main hero as he is fighting off death, literally in the form of a dreaded wolf with two scythes. It can come off as a little scary, despite it being a kids’ movie in some places.
There are some jokes and gags in Puss In Boots: The Last Wish, but nothing similar to what you see in the Shrek films. We get some modern references here and there, with most of the jokes coming from Harvey Guillen as Perrito, who truly steals the film with his comedic timing and character. Antonio Banderas also shows off his funny side with Puss and creates some very hilarious moments during his serious dialogues. His chemistry with Salma’s Kitty Softpaws also is great, reminding us of their earlier films in the 90s. We are also introduced to some new characters like Florence Pugh’s Goldilocks and John Mulaney’s Jack Horner who also share some screen time with our hero with some funny results.
We also can’t forget the gorgeous and incredible animation style that Puss In Boots: The Last Wish implements. With a mix of 2D and 3D, it mixes into the animation seamlessly in the action scenes to give it that storybook look. It’s a style that Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse has done very well and the same can be said for Puss In Boots: The Last Wish. Rather than the realistic animation that the Shrek films have done, Puss In Boots does something different that puts the franchise in new and exciting directions moving forward regarding the style of animation.
Puss In Boots: The Last Wish is perhaps one of the best installments of the Shrek franchise to date. It puts a good spin on the Western genre about a hero going on one final journey. Despite being a family movie, it does take on some mature and dark themes that ultimately make for a great story that is enjoyable for kids and adults. Thanks to the stunning new animation style mixing 2D and 3D effects, it comes off as a unique and beautifully crafted film. It is a far better film than expected filled with layers of richness to the story and its characters.
Puss In Boots: The Last Wish is now playing in theaters.