Film Review: “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish”


Screengrab from: "Puss in Boots: The Last Wish"

“Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” released Dec. 21, 2022 to massive box office success. The animated film stars an adorable yet charming swashbuckler who has found himself on the last of his nine lives.

Cassandra Bauer, Film Reviewer

Our favorite boot-wearing feline returns after eleven years in his brilliantly animated sequel “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish”. 

In this installment of his many adventures, we first find Puss (once again voiced by Antonio Banderas) at the top of his game feeling as confident as ever, but when he realizes he is on the last of his nine lives, he has to change his overtly carefree lifestyle. He buries his boots, cape, and hat to say goodbye to his days of swashbuckling, and reluctantly retires to Mama Luna’s crammed cat “sanctuary.” Here he is reduced to a simple house pet that waits in line for a shared litter box, eats flavorless dry food and now goes by the name Pickles.

A lovable and wistfully naïve Chihuahua referred to as Peritto (Harvey Guillén), who disguises himself as a cat to get free food from the crazy cat lady, soon enthusiastically befriends Puss, even though the friendship is not fully reciprocated by Puss. At this new low, any ounce of his former identity has been stripped away. But when his past flame, Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek), pulls him and his new “friend” Perrito back into a journey to find the Last Wish from the Wishing Star, Puss sees a chance to restore his former glory and wish for his nine lives back. 

This quest becomes a race to the Last Wish between a cockney family of Mama (Olivia Colman), Papa (Ray Winstone), and Baby bear (Samson Kayo) and their adopted daughter Goldilocks (Florence Pugh), a purely evil Big Jack Horner (John Mulaney), and “team friendship” Perritio’s innocent name for himself, Puss and Kitty, all while escaping the Big Bad Wolf who is prepared to take the last of Puss’ nine lives.  

This cast packed with mega stars lend their voices to this film, each providing a bold and often quite humorous performance. Returning to the franchise are Hayek and Banderas, but Mulaney, Pugh and Guillén each make great new additions.   

Critics and audiences alike have both been pleasantly surprised by the quality of this seemingly cheap sequel. “Shrek” (where the character Puss in Boots came from) was at one point a new and fresh take on fairy tales boldly being the antithesis to Disney but was eventually beaten to death with too many hollow sequels. Stretching a franchise further to give the comic relief side character their own film has never been that successful. The same is true for the first Puss in Boots movie as it was received fairly mildly, leading people to have low expectations for its sequel. But boy were they wrong. 

“Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” is a triumph in animation. The animators give DreamWorks characters a level of stylized realism that the studio hasn’t seen before. There are moments when you can see each individual hair stand up on Puss’ arm while in other instances there the frame looks hand painted, giving an artistic impression of the scene. The film is reminiscent of 2018’s “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” which was endlessly praised for its innovative animation. This inspired stylistic flair gives our sword-fighting adventure a bit of pizzazz in its bold comic-style fight scenes complete with bright flashes of color. This range of animation techniques blends so beautifully together and elevates the film as a whole.

Now nominated for Best Animated Feature at the Oscars, the film’s epic visuals make up for any moment the cliche story falls flat. 

Watch “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” in theaters now.