Puss In Boots: The Last Wish Reviews Are Here, See What Critics Are Saying About The Animated Sequel

Puss in Boots: The Last Wish.
(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

It’s been a full 11 years since we last heard Antonio Banderas as the voice of the titular feline in Puss in Boots, and his highly anticipated return in the upcoming sequel proves there’s no bad time for a new adventure in the Shrek universe. Puss in Boots: The Last Wish is set to hit theaters on December 21, fresh for those seeking some holiday respite at the theater, and reviews are here to tell us if the new tale of the hilarious, sword-wielding cat was worth the decade-long wait for its arrival.

Puss in Boots: The Last Wish is the sixth movie in the Shrek franchise and the second in the spinoffs that star Antonio Banderas. Salma Hayek is also back as Kitty Softpaws, and they’re joined by actors including Harvey Guillén, Florence Pugh, Olivia Colman, John Mulaney and Wagner Moura, as Puss seeks the Last Wish that will restore the eight lives he has lost. Director Joel Crawford has warned that this sequel will have some darker tones, as the main character struggles with mortality and a fear of death, so let’s take a look at what the critics are saying.

Zaki Hasan of the San Francisco Chronicle says there are enough swerves in the plot to make this an adventure worth going on, and that’s not to mention the dynamic animation. This critic sees more to come for this character after the whimsical, sassy journey, and says hopefully we don’t have have to wait another 11 years: 

Dreamworks Animations’ Puss in Boots: The Last Wish surpasses its predecessor in both scope of execution and depth of emotion. With Antonio Banderas back voicing the role, an engrossing story coupled with a vivid new animation style makes this a delight in every way — an enchanting excursion that will captivate the kids and rope in the grownups alongside them.

Leigh Monson of the AV Club says DreamWorks has delivered the best of the six Shrek films, calling The Last Wish “visually striking and narratively engaging.” This critic and the previous one each compared the animation style to that of Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse. Monson grades the movie a B+, calling it one of cinema’s biggest surprises of the year: 

The combination of 2D and 3D animation meshes well with the painterly storybook aesthetic that The Last Wish is aiming for, allowing one to soak in beautiful vistas in the quiet moments and seamlessly ramping up into frenetic action that draws influence from shonen anime, of all places. Especially for being the product of a franchise known for its reflexive cynicism, The Last Wish is an especially vibrant and kinetic spectacle that’s having unironic fun with its grab bag of fairy tale pastiches, without limiting itself to a retread of familiar characters and themes.

Katie Walsh of the Los Angeles Times says Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek’s characters have great chemistry, and the new additions to the voice cast are impressive as well, noting: 

Banderas’ purring Puss has long been a favorite Shrek character, and he has great chemistry with Hayek’s Kitty, but the rest of the cast brings charismatic vocal performances as well, including Pugh, with her distinctive low tone, and Moura (known for his role on Narcos), who makes his Wolf singularly scary. Puss in Boots: The Last Wish is one gorgeous and dynamic fractured fairy tale.

Peter Debruge of Variety posits that similarly to the How to Train Your Dragon trilogy, DreamWorks seems to have learned that cartoon characters get a lot more interesting if they’re not immortal. The review reads:

Now, director Joel Crawford (The Croods: A New Age) goes dark, bringing the fearless cat face to face with his own mortality. By forcing Puss to contemplate his priorities, the sequel more than justifies its own existence, while paving the way for how his path meets the big green guy’s.

Emma Stefansky of IndieWire also praises the movie for not being afraid to test its young audience members with themes of mortality and appreciating the life you have. The critic grades this movie an A, saying:  

Perhaps what makes The Last Wish a cut above the rest is the deftness with which it eases the audience into the Lesson of the Day format of most animated children’s movies. Ultimately, Puss’s desire to be free from death keeps him from enjoying his life — a somewhat darker concept than one usually finds in children’s media, especially geared towards an audience as young as this film’s. It never, however, plasters whatever it has to say all over the screen, allowing story beats to unfold naturally and in surprising ways.

There is some question as to how the family friendly offering will compete against Avatar: The Way of Water at the box office, and based on these positive reviews, it sounds like moviegoers will have a couple of good options. If you want to check out Puss in Boots: The Last Wish on the big screen, you can do so beginning Wednesday, December 21. Also be sure to take a peek at our 2023 Movie Release Schedule to see what’s coming to theaters in the new year.

Heidi Venable
Content Producer

Heidi Venable is a Content Producer for CinemaBlend, a mom of two and a hard-core '90s kid. She started freelancing for CinemaBlend in 2020 and officially came on board in 2021. Her job entails writing news stories and TV reactions from some of her favorite prime-time shows like Grey's Anatomy and The Bachelor. She graduated from Louisiana Tech University with a degree in Journalism and worked in the newspaper industry for almost two decades in multiple roles including Sports Editor, Page Designer and Online Editor. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.