‘Puss in Boots: The Last Wish’ is a shocking delight

Film left me shaking in my boots

Fair use from Universal Pictures

Fair use from Universal Pictures

Maren Wilsey

I never expected to enjoy the newest installment in the Shrek/Puss in Boots cinematic universe as much as I did. “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” is a charming and heartwarming movie that kept me engaged and entertained throughout the whole film. 

After a life of adventuring, our favorite, fearless hero finds himself down to the last of his nine lives. He’s forced to confront his own mortality on his quest for a magical star that can grant any wish. Along the way he meets several other fairytale friends and foes who help him learn to trust and to not take his life for granted — a message that can be appreciated by viewers of any age. 

There’s nothing more heartwarming than a found family and “The Last Wish” had not just one, but two versions at once. Of course, we had our titular character Puss in Boots, voiced by Antonio Banderas, along with his rival/former fiancee, Kitty Softpaws, voiced by Salma Hayak, and their sweet and silly dog Perrito, voiced by Harvey Guillén. Additionally, we were introduced to a crime family version of the infamous Three Bears, who have adopted a now grown-up Goldilocks, voiced by Florence Pugh. Both groups are racing to get to the wishing star first, along with a third party, led by the cruel, sociopathic Jack Horner, voiced by John Mulaney. 

Puss is faced with many demons throughout the film, however, none more so than Death himself, portrayed as a giant wolf. He’s a genuinely creepy villain — surprisingly so for a children’s movie. His signature whistling song haunts not just Puss throughout his journey, but the audience as well. It sent a shiver down my spine each time it played, as we wondered if this would be the moment he came to claim his victim’s ninth life. 

At one point, Puss is frightened by one of his deathly encounters so much, he collapses in the woods while hyperventilating. Real issues like this panic attack are rarely highlighted in movies meant for younger audiences, so the addition of this scene really emphasizes the emotion of Puss’s struggles and makes it more relatable to the viewers. The scene also gives the opportunity to solidify the relationship between Perrito and Puss, allowing Perrito to help Puss and fulfill his dream of becoming a therapy dog. 

The animation style was another standout aspect of the film. Much more stylized than typical Disney-esque animation of today, it seemed closer to that of “Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse.” It was whimsical and full of movement and color and was generally captivating to watch. I found it made everything much more interesting than more traditional animation. 

Though part of a larger franchise, the movie is definitely able to be viewed as a standalone film. There were references to previous films, but I hadn’t seen the first “Puss in Boots” in over 10 years and was still able to understand the plot and characters without any difficulty. It left the conclusion open-ended, suggesting a future return to the land of Far Far Away and the world of Shrek is definitely a possibility.

“Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” just goes to show you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. One of the best movies of the year can be a children’s animated comedy about a Spanish cat with fancy boots. Everyone needs a bit of lighthearted fun from time to time, and this is the perfect movie for that. 


“Puss in Boots: The Last Wish:” ★★★★★