Wow! It has been eighteen years since the character (as known from the Shrek universe) was first introduced in Shrek 2, and it has been eleven years since the rascally swashbuckling feline had his own movie hit theaters. I suppose the question is why has it taken so long for a sequel? Well, regardless of this conundrum, Puss in Boots is finally back in theaters, and while it isn’t exactly the best animated movie of the year, it is nevertheless a welcome reunion with a beloved character voiced by the one and only Antonio Banderas.

Banderas deservedly reprises his role as the courageous, valiant, and vain sword-wielding cat who enjoys Robin Hood-like escapades. However, as his career has taken a toll on most of his nine lives, the bold thief finallly comes to the realization that his time in this world is now at its limit. After his latest adventure, our beloved protagonist has achieved so much infamy that a blood-thirsty wolf (Wagner Moura), who looks like death itself, is hot on his trail to collect a bounty. After crossing paths with Goldilocks (Florence Pugh) and her crime family of three bears (Ray Winstone, Olivia Colman, Samson Kayo), he discovers that he might have a chance to recover the lost lives he has squandered so recklessly.

Written by Tommy Swerdlow, Tom Wheeler, Paul Wheeler, and directed by Joel Crawford, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish proves to be a throroughly entertaining feature film for the whole family. I will say that the movie does retread a lot of familiar material when it comes to the reintroduction of Puss and his one time paramour Kitty Softpaws, but the movie never, ever, completely relies on the Shrek movies to help carry the load.

The greatest strength of the film is the comedic writing, and performances by the great voice cast. In addition, the filmmakers have chosen a rather exciting visual style with the animation to present the thrilling and fun action sequences. The character development mostly plays out as most adults might expect, but it will work well enough for the younger audiences. The movie has a moral to the story that will teach children some valuable lessons.

As far as the voice cast is concerned, it should come as little to no surprise that Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek are still great in their respective roles. This new installment also features lovable and entertaining voice work by Pugh, Colman, Winstone, Cayo, and Wagner Moura, who is particularly menacing as the Wolf Bounty Hunter. The one who shines the brightest, however, is Harvey Guillen who portrays Perrito, Puss’ new sidekick and heartily dedicated friend.

This is definitely a fun and exciting movie for both the young and older. If looking for something not too heavy, but not too light, to enjoy during the holiday season, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish is a great way to get the family back at the cinema.

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