Puss in Boots: The Last Wish

Puss in Boots: The Last Wish ★★★★

Consider the fact that the first Puss in Boots film was made eleven years previous of this one... Consider the fact that it really bit the big one as far as being anything decent story-wise or anything decent to look at in terms of its animation... Consider the fact that this was stuck in development hell for years upon years with its developers floating in and out of the production...

So, there should be no way that this should be in any way good, much less great, right? Well, surprise!!! This might just be the best mainstream, big studio animated film of 2022. How did we get here?!

Where the first one faltered in its story of being a very tried and very true (and damned weird and horny) origin story for its character, this one seeks to give him a strong plot driven, melancholy spaghetti western of a movie with rich character development and deftly handled themes of mortality instead of just letting him be that frisky feline that sneaks out after one night cat stands for 90 minutes. As well, instead of looking like a two bit, straight to VHS sequel like the first one did, this one's look and feel is as strong as anything out today with Into the Spider-Verse-type vibes galore. And, with the mixture of traditional 2-D hand drawn sequences that gel incredibly well with the clean and voluminous colors on display from the CG technologies in the rest of the film, there's hardly a bad word I can find for this film. To say this was one of the best theatrical experiences I've had with my kids (in the myriad of animated films I feel obligated to take them to), is quite the understatement.

This was not the review I was expecting to write for this and what a welcome surprise that is! When you walk out of the theatre and find yourself having possibly had more fun than your kiddos (this might be a bit of an exaggeration for a seven and four year old that talked about this all through dinner and the ride home afterward), you know the film is special one, regardless of sequel or studio or the fact that in the end here we're talking about a Zorro-like animated cat that wears boots, has a hat with a feather in it and drinks milk like it's beer. But, really, who gives a damn. When a movie like this goes as hard at it does, it's a treat no matter which way you look at it.

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