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Puss in Boots (2022) | Review

By Susanna Lehtonen

Rating: 4/5

Courtesy of IMDb

When I heard that a sequel of Puss in Boots was coming out, my reaction was similar to a lot of other people’s: ‘Oh’. While I loved the Shrek spinoff of Puss in Boots when I watched it back in 2011, it didn’t exactly leave me itching for a sequel. So, when I sat down to watch the sequel, I went in with zero expectations, just mildly intrigued to hear Antonio Banderas as Puss, sipping some leche from a shot glass and swinging his rapier around. Having watched the movie, I’m glad that I did—it blew me away in more ways than one and went right to the top of the list of my favourite movies of 2022.

The story of Puss in Boots: The Last Wish (2022) is entertaining and has a surprisingly deep meaning. We see Puss having the time of his life taking down monsters and charming the ladies without a care in the world. And why should he care? Puss has got nine lives. However, it turns out that his reckless adventures have left Puss with only his final life to go. Puss refuses to see the issue in his lifestyle, and instead he embarks on an adventure to find the Wishing Star which he wants to use to restore his nine lives. However, Puss is not alone: he is joined by his old partner-in-crime Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek) and heart-wrenchingly adorable Perrito (Harvey Guillén), a scruffy chihuahua aspiring to become a therapy dog. Though the movie has your average villains chasing the gang around to get to the Star first, a much darker presence overshadows Puss’s adventure: literal death, in the form of the Big Bad Wolf, follows Puss around as he refuses to face what all of us inevitably have to come across.

Right off the bat, The Last Wish begins with a beautifully crafted action scene of Puss versus a giant over a vibrant landscape, with Puss’s carefree attitude bringing a humorous spin to it all. The sequence seems reminiscent of action scenes frequently seen in anime, which I saw as a nice tribute to a medium that has become especially influential in the last few years. The action scenes were enhanced with rich textures particularly apparent in the opening fight. In an interview, director Joel Crawford describes the style as looking like ‘a fairytale painting’. There is no more accurate way to put it—the vibrant colours and exhilarating action leave a huge impression in the first ten minutes.

Exciting action and humour aside, what stood out to me was the story with a surprisingly heavy theme of mortality. In his final—amazingly animated—confrontation with the frankly terrifying Big Bad Wolf, Puss finally admits his arrogance and faces death with a newfound appreciation of his life. The Last Wish conveys the message of valuing one's life in a very digestible way for audiences of adults and kids alike. The Big Bad Wolf suddenly doesn’t feel so frightening: it’s merely an entity we must all confront at our designated times. Not too early due to a reckless lifestyle, like Puss was doing at the beginning of the film, but we shouldn’t run away from it either. Between scenes of playful bickering between characters, vibrant action and genuinely good jokes with a side of existentialism, The Last Wish was a delightfully entertaining watch overall.


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