“Puss in Boots” Sequel Exceeds Expectations


Puss in Boots returns to the silver screen in “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” after his 12 year hiatus. (Courtesy of Twitter)

I can’t stress enough the seriousness of the following claim: In a year of great films, “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” is near the top of my list. The original “Puss in Boots” came out 12 years ago (I know), and the sequel faced multiple delays due to DreamWorks restructuring. I was more than ready to see the results. Based on the box office numbers, audiences everywhere agreed. I saw the movie in the same way I saw most movies 12 years ago — in a theater. After fighting the urge to purchase a Puss in Boots collectible cup, I took my seat in a room full of teenagers and adults. This was clearly a nostalgic moment for most viewers. I went to the theater for nostalgia as well, but a small part of me just thought the idea was funny. Over the next 100 minutes, I became unironically invested in the animated world of “Puss in Boots.”

“Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” is the story of Puss (Antonio Banderas) in his last life. As the saying goes, a cat has nine lives, and Puss has died eight times. Suddenly, the so-called “Fearless Hero” is not so fearless, and, when he learns about a magical Wishing Star, he embarks on a mission to wish for more lives. Puss is not alone, though. Others are equally desperate to reach the Wishing Star first, such as returning character Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek) and newcomers Goldilocks (Florence Pugh) and Jack “Big” Horner (John Mulaney). Fans of the Shrek Cinematic Universe will be happy to hear that multiple Shrek characters make appearances, as well. Motivated by both benevolent and nefarious wishes, each character must decide what truly matters in life. 

Plenty of children’s movies have dealt with mortality. Who hasn’t been slightly traumatized by “The Lion King,” “Bambi” or “Up?” However, few have the ability to make mortality a central theme and explore it in-depth. “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” handles death in a digestible way. With an emphasis on love, light and kindness, the movie wonderfully balances out its darker and more mature moments. I laughed, I teared up and, at times, I was on the edge of my seat. Most importantly, my captivation lasted through every minute of the movie. Perhaps I just have a short attention span, but I’m rarely interested in a film from beginning to end. I wish more directors would follow the format of children’s movies and shorten their runtimes. Making every moment of a three-hour-long film interesting is nearly impossible. Finally, the best sign of a good movie, in my opinion, is that it makes you want to call the people you love. Do not underestimate the ability of a talking, walking cat to inspire that feeling. At its core, “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” is an adorably heartwarming movie, and I highly recommend it to people of all ages. 

It’s unclear whether a third “Puss in Boots” movie will ever exist. It doesn’t seem likely based on the title and themes of the sequel. Not to worry, though, because “Shrek 5” is currently in development and slated for release in May. We won’t have to wait another 12 years for the return of Puss.