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‘Puss in Boots: The Last Wish’ review

It’s hard to believe it’s been over 11 years since we last saw Puss in Boots grace the big screen. It’s been even longer since we were first introduced to the character, way back in 2004’s brilliant ‘Shrek 2’. Almost 20 years later, screen icon Antonio Banderas returns to one of his greatest roles ever as the voice of the enigmatic Puss in Boots and brings us this hugely delightful and heartfelt family adventure that’s both unmissable and immensely entertaining.

‘Puss in Boots: The Last Wish’ finds our feline hero forced to take stock of his life – his adventurous escapades have meant that he has now burnt through eight of his nine lives. So forced into retirement after a scary encounter with Wolf (‘Narcos’ star Wagner Moura), Puss reluctantly hangs up his boots and settles into a mundane life as a lap-cat in a nursery. But when he learns of The Last Wish – something magical that could replenish his nine lives – he begins a quest to find his mojo once again. Along for the ride is Kitty Softpaws (the delectable Salma Hayek) and a small dog pretending to be a cat named Perrito (‘What We Do In The Shadows’ star Harvey Guillén).

The success and enduring appeal of this character has always been the passion and charisma of its star. The rhythm and flow of Antonio Banderas’ performance is simply stunning in ‘Puss in Boots: The Last Wish’. Full of energy and verve, Banderas completely captivates onscreen and is the main reason why this character has so fondly endured for almost two decades. The film has a great deal of emotional weight, with Puss having to evaluate his past lives and face up to his own mortality. The resonating themes of the film are handled so well that it’s no surprise to find this movie has been nominated for both a BAFTA and an Oscar.

Bringing together an accomplished vocal ensemble has always been a high point of this franchise, and the ‘Shrek’ universe as a whole. It’s wonderful to have Salma Hayek back as Kitty Softpaws. Her enduring real-life friendship with Antonio Banderas is wonderfully mined for the film here, with their chemistry easily handling the Puss in Boots and Kitty dynamic. They bounce off one another and deliver brilliant energy that positively sparkles onscreen.

Florence Pugh voices Goldilocks in a fantastic take on adoption and finding a family, with Olivia Colman, Ray Winstone and Samson Kayo playing Mama, Papa and Baby Bear, respectively. This part of the movie hits its marks particularly well, with a huge emotional bang at the end. Quite some feat given that they are villains for the most part. Harvey Guillén gives a funny vocal performance as Perrito, echoing ‘Frozen’s Olaf to some degree.

Da’Vine Joy Randolph is also entertaining as Mama Luna, the owner of the cat nursery who clearly has taken in way too many felines. But perhaps the two most striking supporting roles come from John Mulaney as Jack Horner, a nursery rhyme character that is delightfully over the top and who references lots of other familiar fairytales thanks to his magical bag of tricks. And Wagner Moura, who is perfectly cast as Wolf, Puss in Boots scary new adversary who is hunting him down throughout the film. Utilizing an old western vibe, this mysterious and quite frightening antagonist is animated so well and brings a genuine sense of danger to the narrative.

‘Puss in Boots: The Last Wish’ shows that great animation is truly back with a bang in cinemas. It all looks incredible on the big screen too. The animation is sumptuous and so beautifully rendered, with differing styles adopted in key scenes too. The fight sequences are breathtakingly done, with ‘Spider-Verse’ style fights that fully captivate your attention. But the film is more than just a gorgeous looking project. It delivers a beautiful lesson on the actual value of life, and how you approach what’s ahead of you. ‘Puss in Boots: The Last Wish’ is a fantastic family movie that hits all of its marks and delivers a heartfelt and sincere story that will resonate with all who watch it. And I challenge anyone to not watch the brilliant big opening musical number and not hum it throughout the rest of your day.

Cast: Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Harvey Guillén, Wagner Moura, John Mulaney, Florence Pugh, Olivia Colman, Ray Winstone, Samson Kayo, Da’Vine Joy Randolph Director: Joel Crawford, Januel Mercado Writer: Paul Fisher, Tommy Swerdlow, Tom Wheeler Certificate: PG Duration: 102 mins Released by: Universal Release date: 3rd February 2023

Jason Palmer
Jason Palmer
Jason is a film contributor for Entertainment Focus (EF) bringing you the latest news and reviews from the movie world.

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It’s hard to believe it’s been over 11 years since we last saw Puss in Boots grace the big screen. It’s been even longer since we were first introduced to the character, way back in 2004’s brilliant ‘Shrek 2’. Almost 20 years later, screen...‘Puss in Boots: The Last Wish’ review