I loved the character of Puss in Boots from his appearances in the Shrek film franchise. However, I did not love the solo film he had a few years back. I mean, it was fine, but for a character that I thought was such a standout on the Shrek films, I found the solo adventure to be somewhat lacking. Because of that, I doubted the need for another Puss in Boots film, but I had heard positives about it so I went in with a hopeful attitude. And Puss in Boots: The Last Wish delivered big time.
The film caught up with our awesome hero Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas) doing his signature heroic actions and singing about his conquests. However, after saving several villagers from a rampaging giant, Puss in Boots is killed by a falling bell.
No worries though because Puss in Boots has nine lives, as he arrogantly told the doctor. After a recount of deaths, Puss realized that he was on his final life. One more careless adventure and there would be no coming back for the cat.
Even worse, Puss is being stalked by a monstrous wolf (Wagner Moura) who struck fear into the feline’s heart for the first (or second) time. Puss ran from the wolf, finding shelter in a cat sanctuary. This did not last for long as Goldi (Florence Pugh) and the Three Bears (Ray Winstone, Samson Kayo, and Olivia Colman, respectively) were searching for Puss in order to have him steal a map to the Last Wish from Big Jack Horner (John Mulaney). When Puss discovered about the wish, he decided that this was his chance to regain his lost lives.
Puss in Boots is joined by both Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek) and a dog (Harvey Guillén) who had been impersonating a cat at the sanctuary. This set up a race to find the mythical Last Wish from all of the factions.
I was thoroughly entertained by Puss in Boots: The Last Wish. It was funny, engaging action film with characters that were cleverly adapted and beautifully rendered. The animation style reminded me at times of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse as it varied the style multiple times through the film, in particular when there were fight scenes. There were a bunch of times where I stopped and watched the animation in awe of the creativity and design of it.
There was also a great job from Antonio Banderas, as well as the other voice actors, in bringing their characters to life. Banderas was the captain of this film and his work is absolutely stellar. He had great chemistry with Selma Hayek, as they have been together in multiple films.
I loved all the villains involved here too as they all took the general stories of the fairy tales/nursery rhymes they were based upon and made them into fully functioning characters with understandable motives and real depth. None of them were just the typical fairy tale villain that was just out for evil. However, I do think the joke about Goldilocks and the “Just right” bit was used way too much and I found it annoying at the end instead of moving as it was intended. It would have helped the film to have toned back the number of times that comment was used.
Still, the film moved at a brisk pace and was rarely boring. It went to great effort to give us characters with understandable motives and reasons for their actions and Puss in Boots is truly an epic hero. The confrontations between Puss and the Wolf were very frightening as the design of that character certainly is meant to be fearful.
Puss in Boots capped off an excellent year for animation and is a film that everyone in the family should enjoy.