Time: 102 Minutes
Age Rating: Violence, coarse language, some scenes may scare very young children
Antonio Banderas as Puss in Boots
Salma Hayek Pinault as Kitty Softpaws
Harvey Guillén as Perrito
Florence Pugh as Goldilocks
Olivia Colman as Mama Bear
Ray Winstone as Papa Bear
Samson Kayo as Baby Bear
John Mulaney as “Big” Jack Horner
Wagner Moura as the Wolf
Da’Vine Joy Randolph as Mama Luna
Anthony Mendez as the doctor
Director: Joel Crawford
Puss in Boots discovers that his passion for adventure has taken its toll when he learns that he has burnt through eight of his nine lives. Puss sets out on an epic journey to find the mythical Last Wish and restore his nine lives.
I was surprised that Puss in Boots of all things was getting a sequel, especially over a decade after the first movie. I enjoyed the Shrek movies and the initial Puss in Boots spin off, but I wasn’t really thinking that I was going to rush out to watch the sequel. So I was curious that it quickly became one of the most popular movies of 2022. I decided to check it out, and I can at least say that it is way better than it had any right to be.
So I had been hearing about how special and different Puss in Boots 2 was, it’s really not that different from what you’d typically expect. It’s a very straightforward and linear story with familiar story beats. However, it handles this familiar structure very well. Unlike the first Puss in Boots which was serviceable, but clearly banking on the success from the Shrek brand, The Last Wish feels like there’s actual passion behind it, and the story is heartfelt and genuine enough. I wouldn’t call the movie dark at all, but it does have some somewhat heavier aspects that you wouldn’t expect in a Puss in Boots movie, with themes involving mortality and inevitability of death. However, it’s done in such a way that the film is appropriate enough for children, while having enough things here for adults to enjoy. Some jokes don’t work, but most of them do, and there are particularly some really funny running gags.
Overall, the voice acting is strong and the cast does well at portraying the memorable characters. Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek reprise their roles of Puss in Boots and Kitty Softpaws, with Banderas having the best outing of his character yet. Many of the other actors including Florence Pugh, Ray Winstone, and Olivia Colman voice their roles very well. I thought all the characters were pretty good and worked in their roles, though a comic relief character in the form of a dog I was less amused by. The film also benefits from some memorable villains. One of these villains is Jack Horner voiced by John Mulaney, who is a blatantly and cartoonishly evil character and all the more fun for that. However, the standout is a wolf named Death, voiced by Wagner Moura, who is hunting Puss in Boots over the course of the movie. Any time the character showed up he had such a strong presence, and he was definitely a highlight.
The animation is really the strongest aspect of the movie, so fresh and unexpected. It doesn’t go for a shiny photorealistic look like most animated movies nowadays. A very fair comparison has been made between this and the animation in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse; there are a lot of similarities between them, but The Last Wish does enough to make it not just a copy or riff on Spider-Verse. The colours are vibrant, exaggerated and gorgeous, the camera movements are fast and dynamic, the movements of the characters are swift and particularly shine in the snappy and exhilarating action scenes. It’s really helped by a good score from Heitor Pereira.
Puss in Boots: The Last Wish is surprisingly good. The story may be familiar, but its handled very well, it is entertaining, funny, creative, and benefits strongly from its stunning animation and great action. It’s also potentially the best movie in the whole Shrek franchise, at the very least it is in competition with Shrek 2. Well worth checking out.