Review: ‘Puss in Boots, The Last Wish’ Defies Expectations


Poster courtesy of Universal Pictures.

Dreamworks proved everyone wrong with Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, creating a mature movie with real threats, and it is a must-see film. Not only is it the best animated movie of 2022, but it is also one of the best animated movies from Dreamworks ever.

The movie tackles heavy themes, including confronting death, facing consequences, and living in the moment. The animation is outstanding, and it’s a visual masterpiece in both action and stills. Speaking of, the fight scenes in the film are fantastic. The movie opens with Puss facing off against a giant rock monster, and the way the fight goes down starts off the film brilliantly. I liked the original Puss In Boots movie released in 2011, but this sequel is better in every way. While you don’t need to see the original film or any of the Shrek movies, this movie was a great comeback for the Shrek franchise.

Puss In Boots: The Last Wish is the tale of Puss In Boots (Antonio Banderas), who is on his last life as a cat. He goes on a journey to find the mythical last wish to restore his nine lives. However, there are other foes trying to get the wish: Goldilocks (Florence Pugh), The Three Bears (Olivia Colman, Ray Winstone, Samson Kayo), and Jack Horner (John Mulaney). All of them are characters based on fairytales, which is common in the Shrek universe.

Along his journey, Puss comes across new and old friends: Perrito and Kitty Softpaws. They team up in the movie, and it adds a nice dynamic to the film. Each character gets their own character development throughout the film, all except Jack Horner. He is just pure evil for the sake of being evil. The film uses this to its advantage, often cracking jokes about it.

The best part of the movie is, without a doubt, the Wolf (Wagner Moura). He is one of the best animated villains not only for Dreamworks but in all of cinema. He is the only character to truly make Puss feel fear, and could even scare younger kids watching the film. He is incredibly menacing, and when you hear him whistle in the background, you can feel the fear Puss feels because he is genuinely terrified of the Wolf. It is revealed that the Wolf represents death—not metaphorically, however, but the literal death coming for Puss—because he doesn’t appreciate the time he has left in his last life. While Puss mistakes him for a hitman at first, he is quickly proven that the Wolf is much stronger than he will ever be in quite possibly one of the tensest, darkest scenes in the film. The moment when all time is slowed, all you can hear is his whistle, and all you can feel is his impending doom, will send shivers down your spine.

The movie has a solid mix of humor and serious moments, which is refreshing to see. The jokes in the film land well, and in my theater, the audeince laughed quite often. The film uses its fairytale setting very well to create humor. For instance, Goldilocks and The Three Bears often use the “Too hot, too cold, just right” line from the original fairytale in creative ways, adding a nostalgic comedic effect. Going into the movie, I expected the dog Perrito to be the classic comic relief character we see in children’s films, but I was proven wrong. His character is very well-developed and has what might be the saddest backstory in the film. Goldilocks and the Three Bears also shine, with their overarching story being their now-perfect family. When it comes to Puss himself, his character travels both a physical and mental journey to the Wish, learning that he should live in the moment and not ignore death.

In the end, Puss In Boots: The Last Wish is fantastic. When this movie was announced back in 2014, everyone was expecting a generic bland kids’ film, but Dreamworks proved everyone wrong, creating a mature movie with real threats, and it is a must-see film even if you’re not invested in the Shrek franchise—and yes, Shrek is in it, and they do tease Shrek 5.