Puss In Boots: The Last Wish Is So Good That Shrek Should Be A Supporting Character In The Next Movie

Puss with a guitar
(Image credit: Dreamworks Animation)

When I arrived at the theater with my five-year-old daughter to see Puss In Boots: The Last Wish, the bar was on the floor for my expectations. Sure, I'd heard the original Puss In Boots was a solid adventure, but why would I, a man who grew up in the peak Shrek era, believe a side character like Puss was ever worthy of a standalone film, let alone a sequel? My daughter loves cats though, so we went, and boy, am I glad I did. 

Let me add my voice to the ones I've heard say this on the internet already: Puss In Boots: The Last Wish is amazing. The praise from critics is well-earned, and I'm absolutely down for a third movie featuring the title character. Furthermore, I'm of the opinion that if Shrek is coming back to the franchise, he should play second fiddle to Puss. It's a bold take, I know, but one that only someone who has seen the latest movie can explain. Obviously we'll be getting into spoilers here, so keep that in mind before continuing!

Puss in Boots

(Image credit: Dreamworks Animation)

Puss In Boots: The Last Wish Sets Up An Incredible Follow-Up Story For Puss

If you remember Puss In Boots from the Shrek movies, you might've found him annoying or cocky. That's precisely what Puss In Boots: The Last Wish is about, and how the character's world is turned upside down when he finds out he's on the last of his nine lives. Without ruining the entire plot for interested parties, Puss' quest for more lives ends up being a tale that transforms the character completely. 

Before seeing this movie, I would've argued that the character depth for Puss In Boots was about as deep as that of Shrek's Pinocchio or the Gingerbread Man. He was an entertaining, but rather one-note character voiced by the talented Antonio Banderas. Following Puss In Boots: The Last Wish, the character is headed in an entirely new direction, and it's safe to say his journey is not yet over. 

To brush that journey aside, just to see Shrek, Fiona, and Donkey center stage would be a waste of a great character arc. Shrek had four movies to develop, and frankly, he's grown a lot from his first adventure. I find it hard to believe anything we'd see with Shrek at this stage could be near as narratively interesting as what is on the horizon with Puss, so he should be the lead character based on that alone. 

Pero and Puss

(Image credit: Dreamworks Animation)

Puss In Boots Has Some Great Sidekicks

The Shrek franchise has always been loaded with memorable sidekicks and minor characters. I've already mentioned some of the green ogre's more supporting players, and there are still a few others who could be named on top of it. As I mentioned, many of these characters are funny for what limited roles they have, but not a ton of them have depth. None of them hold a candle to the characters introduced in Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, and I'll say that with my whole chest. 

Kitty Softpaws and Perrito are the instantly lovable sidekicks that they need to be, so it's good to see that they'll likely be around for the next installment. Kitty has her complicated past with Boots that gets hashed out in The Last Wish, and Perrito is the classic goofball of all animated kids films, but is also incredibly endearing. 

Much like Puss, Softpaws and Perrito also go on quite a journey in this movie. I promise if you watch, you'll be just as invested in them by the end as I was. Part of this is because so much of The Last Wish is about growth and change, and clearly it's a message that resonates with adults as much as it may with kids. 

Puss In Boots mad

(Image credit: Dreamworks Animation)

Puss' Story Is In A Better Place Than Shrek

There's no denying the Shrek franchise is still celebrated in pop culture thanks in part to the fact there are now a couple of generations who grew up watching the movies. If you were to ask who the more popular character is between Shrek and Puss in Boots, even after The Last Wish, the answer would still be Shrek. With that said, it's been a long time since we've seen a Shrek movie, and the latest installment was nothing to write home about. 

How Antonio Banderas' Heart Attack Impacted Puss In Boots: The Last Wish

While I don't always put a ton of stock into Rotten Tomatoes' aggregate scores, Shrek Forever After being certified Rotten by both critics and audiences is pretty damning. As someone who has seen the movie, I can say that it lacks a lot of what made the previous movies so great. Even so, I'm sure every film has its fans, and there are likely more than a few that could lean on their arguments for why the movie was good into why Shrek 5 should overtake Puss In Boots 3 in importance.

I would counter that with the words of Shrek Forever After screenwriter Josh Klausner, who told StoryLink in 2010 exactly why Shrek 5 never happened. Klausner explained that a year or so into the development of the fourth movie that animation legend and overseer of the franchise Jeffrey Katzenberg told him the fourth movie closed off Shrek's story in a satisfying way. Presumably, that's why a fifth movie never happened, and work was then poured into Puss in Boots.

Of course, we've learned since then that efforts were made to make Shrek 5, but nothing ever came of it. That's pretty wild considering Eddie Murphy was on board to come back as Donkey, and there was a finished Shrek 5 script at one point.

Even Puss In Boots had a long gap between its original movie and a sequel, but here we are in 2023, and The Last Wish is magnificent. Featuring Shrek as a supporting character in the 3rd installment of the Puss In Boots film series will be more than enough to get people back in a theater if they missed out on the previous two movies. It's imperative both for the continued success of Puss in Boots and whatever becomes of the Shrek franchise, those writers stay the course rather than trying to get the world excited about Shrek 5 without first reintroducing the character via Puss.

Those who have seen Puss in Boots: The Last Wish probably know I'm right, but others will need to see it in theaters or on demand to fully get on board. Check it out now and see why so many people are talking about this amazing movie.

Mick Joest
Content Producer

Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.