Puss in Boots: The Last Wish

Puss in Boots: The Last Wish ★★★★½

Quickie Review 
The legend with the boots is back and this time, he’s looking to extend his life in this energetically entertaining, hilarious, action-packed and highly emotional sequel to the 2012 Shrek spinoff and the first film in that franchise to be made under Universal Pictures. Antonio Banderas returns to the voiceover role of that daring feline swashbuckler Puss-In-Boots and after a lifetime of adventure and taking risks, he finds out from a jack-of-all-trades physician (voiced by “Jane The Virgin” narrator Anthony Mendez) something he never thought he’d hear: he’s on his 9th and final life following a very close encounter with a bell after one of his latest acts of heroic derring-do. Puss is told that he’ll have to retire from a life of adventure and he’s initially hesitant about that until an encounter with an ominous and deadly dual sickle-wielding wolf in a black hood (voiced by Wagner Moura) leads him to feelings of fear and that leads him to make the decision to retire and seek refuge at the home of elderly cat lady Mama Luna (voiced by Da’Vine Joy Randolph). Puss is defeated and feeling low until he overhears the existence of the mythical Wishing Star so he, his old flame Kitty Softpaws (voiced by Salma Hayek Pinault) and his excitable new friend Perrito (voiced by Harvey Guillén), an optimistic dog disguised as a cat, go on a journey to get to the Wishing Star in order for Puss to restore his eight other lost lives but along the way, he’ll have to deal with greedy pie-loving “good boy” “Big” Jack Horner (voiced by John Mulaney), Goldilocks (voiced by Florence Pugh) and her adopted family, The Three Bears (voiced by Olivia Colman, Ray Winstone & Samson Kayo), all of whom want to grant a wish from the Wishing Star, and the shadowy Wolf, who wants Puss to challenge him for his last life. Honestly, the first Puss in Boots movie (which served as a prequel to Shrek) was…fine but nothing to write home about, in my opinion, so I was expecting something that would be too little, too late with the sequel. Turns out that I would be preparing to eat crow once the first trailer would arrive and after seeing the very positive reviews come in and upon first viewing, I was eating that crow. This was a fun and exciting sequel that brings more irreverent and sometimes adult humor, something reminiscent of the flagship Shrek movies, fantastical action, funny and exceptional voice acting performances, a frenetic and eye-catching animation style similar to Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and DreamWorks’ own The Bad Guys, and a deep, philosophical storyline regarding morality and the fragility of life. Apparently, the idea of Puss exploring his life was inspired by Banderas’ real-life bout with fate 5 years ago when he suffered a heart attack so it was a case of art imitating life. In the end, the takeaway for adult viewers is that we only have the one life and we need to not take it for granted because not all of us have 9 lives like Puss. Also, Perrito…he’s a very good boy. Puss in Boots: The Last Wish is an absolute delight, a sequel that’s truly heads, shoulders and tails above its predecessor and if the 2022 FilmFreek Hall of Fame was still active, it’d be a shoo-in for the list but it’ll just settle for being declared one of the best animated movies of 2022!

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